I sat down for a brief chat with Tribune newspaper while Coke Studio.
KARACHI: Rap music is not something alien to Pakistani listeners; they were formally introduced to it by Fakhre Alam in his very memorable “Bhangra” in the early 90s and even now contemporary artists like Islamabad-based Adil Omar are making contributions to this genre. However, the most groundbreaking advancement in the rap scene so far is the recent collaboration of globally recognised rapper Bohemia and widely-viewed music programme “Coke Studio”.
“Paisay Da Nasha” is the outcome of this equation and has so far crossed more than 300,000 hits on YouTube, making it one of the fastest spreading and the second most popular track of “Coke Studio” season five episode one.
The artist, who channels out his internal conflict and rebellion against society by writing soul touching songs, was overwhelmed by the “Coke Studio” experience and shared his views after his recording sessions.“I am in awe of the effort the whole team puts in over here,” says Bohemia. “Their honesty is reflected in the final product that all these masterminds come up with.”
Bohemia jauntily terms Pakistan as a “dangerous place” but adds that a country with geniuses like Rohail Hyatt and Asad Ahmed is expected to take the global music scene by a storm and that’s a threat to other artists. “I have grown up listening to people like Sir Rohail and Sir Asad and it’s an honour for me to work with them,” says a very humble Bohemia. “They are legends in their own kind and if they call me again I will definitely show up.”
Being a Pakistani at heart who has grown up listening to Pakistani pop bands and solo artists like Sajjad Ali, Bohemia was deeply influenced by Urdu poetry and a conversation with the rapper shows one the kind of command he has on Urdu language and literature.
Putting his inspiration to good use, the rapper wrote a collection of poems when he was in 10th grade. Even his early poems have a sadness to them and most of his verses, like his lyrics, reflect his tumultuous life story. When asked about his inspirations, the Punjabi rapper says that he has very clear choices in poetry. “Mirza Ghalib is my favourite Urdu poet. There is no second favourite, he was and is the one and only,” says Bohemia.
While reading out a few lines of Ghalib; “Har aik baat pae kehte ho tum kay tu kiya hi, tumhi kaho kay yeh andaz e guftugu kia hai,” he elaborates on his fascination with Ghalib’s poetry. “Look at his thought-process and expression. I’m not comparing myself to anyone here but people connect to his poetry even today and I am trying to do the same as a rapper”.
Only the coming episodes of “Coke Studio” will unravel whether Bohemia has what made Ghalib an unforgettable and invincible force in the world of poetry and literature.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.