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Slain Rapper Sidhu Moosewala’s Song SYL Holds A Mirror To His Life And Craft

SYL

Slain Rapper Sidhu Moosewala’s Song SYL Holds A Mirror To His Life And Craft

In music videos, he violently subjugated imaginary enemies and doppelgangers of his contemporary artistes. The thrill of violence, the chase, and a global beat of hip-hop masked his hyperlocal poetry devoid of aesthetic quality

A still from Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry’s play Black Box

The posthumous release of a song titled SYL continues to keep slain Punjabi rapper Sidhu Moosewala in the news. SYL brings with it unprecedented online attraction towards his persona, a premeditated theorisation of his work and continued iconisation—all amid a wave of intense mourning as the political atmosphere remains charged with frustrations and expectations.

When SYL dropped—referencing the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal project between Punjab and Haryana—the stage was already set for glorification of its content, projecting the singer as the voice of unresolved issues of Punjab. A montage of words emerged from the lyrics—SYL, sovereignty, Bandi Singh (Sikh prisoners), Punjab-Haryana-Himachal (the Post-Independence undivided province of Punjab), Balwinder Jattana, paani (water), topi (cap), pagg (turban) and attwadi (terrorist). This ‘sensation’ of words is fertile for political interpretations, veiled references. Not much is left camouflaged if you look closely. The visuals—especially old footages—reveal meanings beyond the obvious statements. One example that hits you in the face is the cry to release Sikh prisoners, citing principles of fairness, also glorifying the brutal acts of those convicts.

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