Hyderabad, Nov 19 : Hip hop and Urdu don’t go together so also hip hop and Sufism but an Urdu hip-hop band has come out with an album with strange fusion of rap music with the Sufi message and in mostly Urdu lyrics.
As Hyderabad’s Thug Unit is all set to release its album ‘Resurrection 040’, the duo behind it shared with IANS their experiences and the motivation behind the unique experiment.
Comprising 12 tracks and representing a variety of elements, the album is set to be released on Friday on Apple Music. Mostly in Urdu, the tracks also have English and West Indian flavor with Jamaican lingo.
Mudassir Ahmed and Syed Irshad, who go with stage names ‘Mo Boucher’ and ‘Irish Boi’ respectively, told IANS that for the first time message of sufism has been conveyed to people through the medium of hip hop.
People so far used to listen to qawwalis to known something about the message of Sufism but the Hyderabadi rappers with this album are adding a totally different medium.
“This is not philosophical Sufism like reading of books but it is actual practical journey. This has come out of our own experience,” said Mudassir, who stopped writing poetry and composing music in 2012 for his spiritual journey and is making a comeback to the world of hip hop with his old friend.
“In 2014, I started to have spiritual yearning. I stopped writing and making music asking questions what is purpose of life. I started reflecting what I want to do with my life,” said Mudassir, who read books include Bhagavad Gita and Vedas.
“I realised Sufism suits me on a personal level. I connected with the Sufi message. I spent 5-6 years with a Sufi master and learnt the Sufi traditions.”
They said the main purpose of the album is to give good content to hip hop listeners. “What they mostly get is rubbish stuff like, sex, drugs and partying. Hip hop is not just that. It is reflection of ourselves,” he said
Mudassir and Irrshad are confident that they will be able to change to hip hop scene in the country. “Hip hop is about poetry on any subject chosen and what we are seeing. We have put our own personal experience in the form of poetry,” said Irrshad.
The musicians say that their fourth album, the first commercial one, has given them satisfaction. “Hip hop is a representation of yourself. You have to use it with responsibility because young people are listening to it. What they listen at this age is going to stay with them. We have a huge responsibility as to what content we are giving,” said Mudassir, who started writing poetry when was 14.
He pointed out that one of the tracks in the album is on the current political atmosphere in India and the political shift that has happened in last 5-6 years, especially the last two years.
“As Indians while we were growing up it was different but now you have a completely different situation. There is more hate now and that is what motivated us to write a song about it,” he said.
The album features pertinently named tracks Rubaroo (face to face), Raahe Rast (straight path), Suroor e Ishq, (exhilaration of love), Pardafash (unmasked), Azmaish (test), Atishbazi (fireworks), Bossman, Bus’em (Bust Them), Hate Monger, Intro, Kun (Be) featuring Rebel of Khan Artists and Original Rajah (Original Ruler).
The musical ensemble portrays Sufism-inspired self-reflection, community evils and voice against power establishments. Music for the album is produced by seasoned Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum producers including Buck Wild, making the duo the first from Telangana and perhaps from India to work with US-based Grammy nominated producers.
Thugs Unit inked a deal with Apple Music earlier this month. “We are happy that Bobin James Editor and Artists Relations Lead at Apple Music personally listened to our music tracks and liked them enough to honour us by featuring on a platform so robust like Apple Music”, they said.