Monday Jun 27 2022

Rap is ‘totally free’, your background doesn’t matter: Ms Marvel rapper Eva B

KARACHI: The last six months have been extraordinary for rapper Eva B after coming into the limelight with her Coke Studio debut "Kana Yaari", but the musician believes that hip hop — commonly known as rap — is a form of art which is “totally free”, so a singer's background does not make a difference at all.

In an interview with Geo.tv, Eva was asked to share her thoughts on the Twitter debate that was triggered after academic Nida Kirmani stated that rap was an "art form for the marginalised and not for the elite."

Kirmani had mentioned how Eva, whose roots are from Karachi’s impoverished Lyari area, was part of a wider tradition of hip hop being a genre for the “marginalised”. 

The academic had just shared her thoughts, however, it had left netizens divided, while musician Meesha Shafi had also come out in defence of her brother Faris Shafi who was cited by the sociologist as a rapper belonging to the "elite class."

But the Lyari-based rapper disagrees with the idea that people from privileged backgrounds be held back and not allowed to rap just because of their socioeconomic status.

“Only the poor don't need to do it,” said the artist, adding that in rap, everyone has the right to speak up no matter what their background is.

“It's not like everyone will be poor and say 'I am poor, I do not eat anything, drink anything, I do not have money, so I will rap'," explained Eva.

Interestingly, Kirmani in her tweet had also said Shafi — whose background is different from that of Eva’s — had “adopted and transformed” the music genre because of coming from an economically-sound family.

“Now, there are some people with money who want to prove themselves…Faris has also written and sang songs that are about society, that is based on reality. If anyone says that the rich shouldn’t do it and only the poor should do it, they do not know anything about rap’s history,” said Eva.

The "Kana Yaari" singer shared that she will “obviously” talk about the problems or things she observes in her day-to-day life, such as damaged roads and a lack of electricity and gas in her area, but says that not everyone will speak about the same things.

“Now obviously, one will rap about what happens in their daily lives. Everyone has their own choice in rap. Rap is free music; totally free!” said Eva.

‘Happy, excited’ after going international

Recently, the Marvel franchise released the show Ms Marvel which has garnered a lot of following in Pakistan as the series has brought South Asian representation into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The show features many Pakistani artists but it’s not just the actors; it also features Eva’s song "Rozi" in the first episode. So far, Eva is the only Pakistani artist to be featured in the show and as of now, it's not clear whether there will be more songs in future.

But for Eva, it was a “crazy feeling” when her producer Ginger Shankar told her that the Marvel franchise was interested in featuring her song.

“Ginger Shankar called me, saying Ms Marvel was asking for our song. It was a crazy feeling. I was going international, and I was happy and excited,” recalled Eva.

On the song "Rozi", Eva said that the track was for a documentary based on a woman, adding that she was working with Shankar to remake the song when the request from the Marvel franchise came.

“When Ms Marvel requested the song, we made it again and gave it to them. This is [the story behind our] little journey,” said Eva.

'I want to perform with Eminem one day'

Eva may have reached Hollywood with her song being featured in Ms Marvel, but she still has one dream that she wishes to come true.

The Lyari-based rapper may not have thought about her favourite place to perform but she does wish to make music with American rapper Eminem.

“I would like to sing one song with Eminem and perform it with him. This is just my wish!” shared the singer who has chosen to hide her identity from the general public for now.