For four years we have been wondering if the only rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize in Music would return
For four years we have been wondering if the only rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize in Music would return. But as Kendrick Lamar dropped a new song with cousin Baby Keem (‘Family Ties’), Kanye West dropped his 10th studio album Yonda (named after his late mother) and Drake skyrocketed to the top of the charts with his new album, Certified Lover Boy, multiple rappers have begun a similar reality at home. Instep looks at just four of the many dynamic names….
If there’s one rap duo (featuring Talha Anjum and Talha Yunus) that’s making a mark on commercial scale on modern mainstream music, it is Young Stunners. Long gone are days of obscurity. Having starred in the PSL 6 anthem along with the likes of Naseebo Lal and Aima Baig, their corporate journey is far from over. Just recently the duo emerged with ‘Why Not Meri Jaan’, a music video backed by Pepsi and directed by Zeeshan Parwez. It’s a far cry from their debut single, ‘Burger-e-Karachi’. What’s most interesting about Young Stunners is that they work on solo collaborations as well as together with harmony. With a slew of tracks to their name, Young Stunners are planning to stay for good in music it seems and we couldn’t be happier.
Sunny Khan Durrani
If we had to pick a quiet but effective artist from rap, we need to look no further than Sunny Khan Durrani. After releasing two albums last year, Sunny is still dropping singles and music videos with the latest release called Talaash accompanied by the following words: “Ever lost yourself? Were You Found? Did you even start the search or you forgot you were lost?” It may seem like a simple question but it is in fact the opposite. Sunny raps about many such perplexing questions. He never claims to have the answers. And the demographic he is catering to is huge, given that he can rap in English, Urdu, Pushto and Punjabi. From dropping three records to being noticed by Patari Aslis Volume I and the song, ‘Log Kya Kahenga’, Sunny Khan Durrani continues to observe societal and political cataclysmic events and sings for the average person, who is either probably thinking about the same things or not since division in society is a reality.
OCL (formerly known as Osama Com Laude)
Formerly known as the Osama Com Laude, OCL has left his one-off days behind. In fact, he’s gone grittier with each release. Not making average and clichéd rap songs, OCL has really come into his own as a rapper releasing three EPs as part of a trilogy. After releasing PaKING and its follow-up Barbaadi, OCL confessed that he’s gone all-out for the concluding EP titled Munkashif. He also spearheaded the song ‘Pindi Aye’ that featured several rappers from Rawalpindi before releasing Munkashif, with all of his tracks available on multiple music streaming platforms. With his third release, OCL dropped make-up and chose to go with a raw look he has never shown before. Vulnerable and brutal, this stream of music from OCL bodes well for the future of rap and hip-hop and the artist now known as OCL.
There is no one quite as direct and wordsmith with killer ciphers in rap music than bilingual Faris Shafi. Since emerging many moons ago, Faris Shafi may not have dropped as his other counterparts in rap but when he does release a song, it leaves you with visceral, provoking thoughts. He has the beats, he has the videos but what is worth treasuring is his songwriting as a rapper. From the old days of ‘Awaam’ to the newest track ‘Lafz’ to collaborations like ‘Waasta’ (with Ali Sethi) and showcasing a deeper vulnerability with an unexpected song like ‘Nazar’, you never know what Faris Shafi will do next. But what is clear about Faris is that he is unafraid of sharing a larger truth, both dark and devastating irrespective of the fact that we are inching towards Kafka’s Pakistan.