Hip-hop has gained some serious traction in Pakistan. It has found its way into cinemas with films like Laal Kabootar and a new wave of artists is rising on the scene. These are young rappers who are both impressive and less about bickering and more about unity, guided by the likes of Osama Com Laude.
Osama Com Laude, also known as OCL along with Khawar Malik, spearheaded the direction that would go into the single, ‘Pindi Aye’. The result is an electrifying collaboration featuring OCL, Hashim Nawaz, Khawar Malik, Zeeru, Shuja Shah, Hamzee and Fadi. All of them have written and performed ‘Pindi Aye’ that was released on February 14. The single became a viral hit, gaining 250,000 hits in 5 days on YouTube; the collaboration picked up another 350,000 hits on Facebook.
Accompanied by a music video, ‘Pindi Aye’ opens softly with elements of glitch that’s very techno-savvy before a group emerges in a circle and we are introduced to each of them as their names emerge out of nowhere and the camera pans a full 360 degrees. It is here where the mellow elements get replaced by something far more edgier as the rap begins and we are in the streets of Pindi. The first verse by Hashim Nawaz is a straight-up ode to Pindi but it’s not only the rap that elevates the song. It’s also the hook, featuring Khawar Malik, whose playful hook brings a fantastic transition. Zeeru appears and the edge is back and is so is the rap which is razor-sharp as he spits, “Uncle Se Ziyada Bachon Ki Game/Malik Aur Raja Har Bachchay Ka Naam/Pindi Naam Chahay Chota/Par Choti Ni Fame.” The rap continues with Shuja Shah followed by Hamzee followed by Fadi and finally Osama Com Laude, who raps in Urdu, while Khawar Malik provides the necessary transitions that take the song to the next level. An ode to the city from young hip-hoppers who have enormous potential, this is the kind of stuff that has viral written all over it. The unity that seeps through the music video is something beautiful.
The song, according to OCL, is an effort to bring the hip-hop scene together. Speaking to Instep, he explained how the colossal collaboration happened. “I’ve always had the inclination to do this, like a super collaboration for the city. I want to start with the city and eventually have this hope that we do a collaboration on a national level.”
He further reiterated, “We bring all the big guns of Pakistani music together to do this kind of an all-star rap song. That’ll happen too, eventually.”
OCL noted that for now though he started from his city. “I had this idea back in November and brought my friend, Khawar Malik, on the song; he’s a singer, not a rapper. He’s the only singer on the track. He played a song for me from Shuja Shah. He’s a younger rapper. They’re younger rappers so I was like tell him not to release it now and let’s do it on a bigger scale with all of us and I’m very sure, it’s going to be huge.”
“We all met up, sat down, I congregated all of them and got everyone on the same page and then me and Khawar thought about the direction and decided on all the outfits, etc. We did everything in one day; we shot in the freezing cold in one day cause I knew this was gonna blow up. Did I know it would blow up this fast? No, I didn’t see that coming?”
The song is a purely ‘Pindi’ song. “The producer,” says OCL, “('Pindi Jaso' famed music producer Ghauri) is from Pindi. I have ties and links with Pindi. I graduated from Rawalpindi Medical College and all the other boys are straight out of Pindi; it’s like hardcore for the city and as genuine as you can be.”
The success of the song, says OCL, became clearer to him when he heard it in a rickshaw that was decked out with speakers, playing the song. “I knew it has taken off when I was at the gym the other day and there was a rickshaw that passed behind me playing the song. I heard it in a freaking rickshaw! When I heard that, I was like, ‘Yes, we did it. I wanted this to hit the common man and woman and it has.’