Art & Entertainment

Bihar's Merio Rapper Sings Stories Of Poverty While Serving Piping Hot Chai

Patna-based Sonu, nicknamed Merio Rapper, entertains his customers by performing raps on themes like poverty, unemployment and inflation

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Talent Unlimited: Sonu Chaiwala at his tea stall in Patna’s Musallahpur neighbourhood Photo: Chinki Sinha
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A humble tea-stall in Patna’s Musallahpur neighbour­hood is famous not just for its fragrant chai but also the accompanying rap performances of Merio Rapper aka Sonu. Videos of Sonu performing his raps to his clients as he served them piping hot tea first went viral a couple of years ago.

Sonu, who comes from an underprivileged family, was unable to complete his engineering diploma course in order to make ends meet. He first worked at a photocopy shop and then as an office-boy in a coaching centre in Delhi. After a series of odd-jobs in Delhi, the young man had to return to Bihar during the lockdown, having lost all employment opportunities.

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When he finally decided to open his own tea-stall in Patna, Sonu was told that this was a lowly profession and he should look for a job again. However, the self-taught rapper decided to pursue his passion for poetry along with serving chai to a predominantly young crowd, which is drawn by his raps­—mainly focusing on themes such as poverty, unemployment, inflation and the struggle of students who appear for competitive exams.

Sonu represents a generation of young Indians from rural India who are using the social media and mobiles to take their voice out to the people.

Dressed in jeans, a cap in reverse and dark glasses, Sonu deftly drops bars in front of cameras—of YouTubers and media outlets—as tea simmers on a gas stove-nearby. He represents a generation of young Indians from rural and moffusil towns who are using the social media and mobile internet to take their voice out to the people, unhindered by a lack of university degrees or “white-collar” jobs.

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Sonu’s YouTube page “Rapper Chai Wala” features a range of music videos and interviews, with one of his most popular raps being titled “Top Floor se Chai”

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(This appeared in the print as 'Piping Hot Chai And Cool Rap Songs')

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