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#HaqSeHindustan Lineup: MC Manmeet Kaur

The Chandigarh rapper has always been a bold voice of reason and courage, calling out misogyny, inequality and taking on topics no one has before

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Riddhi Chakraborty Nov 11, 2019

Manmeet Kaur. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Goa-based rapper Manmeet Kaur has always been a bold voice of reason and courage, calling out misogyny, inequality and taking on topics no one has before. Her 2015  debut album, Hip Hop Bahu, outlined her life as a married woman in the desi hip-hop scene.

The Punjabi MC started rapping as a teenager in the early 2000s, inspired by a collection of beats her brother had brought for her to hear. Much to her parents’ chagrin, Kaur took to writing songs and spitting verse, using her songs to critique society’s judgmental views and vent her frustration at it all. Kaur spent several of her formative years in Chandigarh, often the only woman among her (largely unwelcoming) peers in the local rap scene.

After moving to Mumbai in 2011 and gaining access to a larger more diverse hip-hop space, Kaur started making a name for herself in the scene via more live gig opportunities. It was also when she met rapper Bigg Nikk who she would go on to marry. The couple divorced soon after the release of Hip Hop Bahu, but the relationship contributed to the unique narrative of the album; Kaur’s explanation of the perceptions society created of her identity through the stages of her marriage was a groundbreaking commentary on womanhood via desi hip-hop.

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Her sophomore record Neophilia (2018) was her identity as she chose to present it; a nomadic, independent soul. “My second album Neophilia is my attempt to document a phase in my life, last year, when travelling through Europe for the first time, I was exposed to new ideas and emotions, perspectives and truths, friendships and collaborations,” Kaur explained a statement at the time of its release. “This is my attempt to create a medium to connect art and society, to open up a dialogue, become a cleaner mirror to life around.”

Her latest single “Locality” is an ode to her current home, Oxel village in Goa and its people and culture. “There is also acceptance here, under Portuguese influence, of people not like them,” she writes in the video description. “Yet as I enjoy the smell of cafreal chicken with a sip of Kingfisher beer at Café Amancia by the river, I overhear a local leader speak proudly of the lynching of a farmer after the death of a cow.”

MC Manmeet Kaur will be performing live at Haq Se Hindustan, a concert presented by digital media firm Qyuki and Rolling Stone India on November 14th at Famous Studios in Mumbai. Get tickets here.

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