Hip-hop Media training

M.I.A. Isn’t The Only Female MC From South Asia To Reach The States

Hip-Hop Media Training

After years of critical acclaim, Sri Lankan-bred rapper M.I.A. scored a hit when her song "Paper Planes" was featured in the trailer for the Seth Rogen film Pineapple Express. It didn't matter that the song had been released more than a year earlier on her album Kala.The new found hype even earned her a Grammy nomination for record of the Year.

Well, there is a new female MC from South Asia on the horizon, and she too raps politics.

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari is the18-year-old daughter of assassinated Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto, the first woman to head a Muslim state, served as prime minster from 1988-1990 and 1993-1996. Her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, became president in September.

Bakhtawar wrote and produced a rap "I Would Take Away The Pain" about her mother, who was fatally shot in December 2007. Bakhtawar's tribute was uploaded to YouTube last week and gives a chilling account of her mother's slaying and also praises her for her courage as an activist.

When I saw the Reuters news story about Bakhtawar's song I took interest and looked it up. Bakhtawar wasn't described as a rapper so I wasn't expecting much. But I was surprised by not only her candid lyrics, but her pitch and conversational rhyme flow.

Her details about her mother's attack describes where she was shot and even the expression on her face after the hit. Bakhtawar rapped, "You were never afraid, you didn't even duck down, grinning when you laid."

The music track is an appropriate soft ballad and the chorus "I would take the pain away" appears to be a looped sample.

"I Would Take The Pain Away" doesn't feel like a mainstream rap hit, but it definitely shows that Bakhtawar has strong potential as a rap artist.

Bakhtawar apparently does not have plans on pursuing music as a career, Information Minister Sherry Rehman told Reuters. Rehman, a longtime aide for Bhutto, described the song as "a tribute of a grieving daughter to her iconic and loving mother."

Bakhtawar is a first year student at Britain's Edinburgh University where she is reportedly studying English Literature. She is already showing interest in politics and has been elected as a first year representative. 

Even if Bakhtawar doesn't ever release a full album, I would like to hear more of her music, and a collab with M.I.A. would be insane. Maybe someone will lay her vocals over "Paper Planes."

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