If you look at the world of Indian music across several genres, Badshah has established himself as one of the most prominent rap artists with a massive fan following and hits that constantly top the charts. Despite his indelible mark in the music industry, he has been called out many times for many of his songs that have sexist and misogynistic lyrics.
However, contrary to this opinion, Badshah recently spoke about how he doesn’t approve of music that objectifies women in an interview.
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Hindustan Times quoted him saying, “I don’t approve of music that glorifies objectification of women. I have female family members at home and my music comes from a place of responsibility and respect.”
When the interviewer asked him about some of his songs that have lyrics that objectify women, he said, “I am a lot like you, like a journalist. I just tell people what I see, through my music. I do take certain lyrical liberties for entertainment, as eventually, art is about freedom.”
Badshah is saying something here but his lyrics hint at something entirely different. In songs like ‘Mercy’, ‘Genda Phool’, ‘DJ Wale Babu’ and ‘Tareefan’, he uses language that can be seen as objectifying women, promoting stereotypes and reducing them to mere objects of desire.
“Body teri hotter than chinchilla fur
teri maa ne tujhe bada kiya kya khila kar
ruk jaaye dil when you get down low
karlo rehem thoda meri maano”
– This is a set of lyrics from his song ‘Mercy’.
“Bum tera gotey khaye
kamar pe teri butterfly
body teri makkhan jaise
khane mein bas tu butter khaye”
– This is from his very famous ‘Genda Phool’.
“Jeans hai daali, daali tune jo
woh teri booty pe tight baby jaise mera flow”
– This one is from ‘Tareefan’.
A lot of people have called for artists like Badshah to be more responsible when it comes to their music because their words impact society. There is no denying that. And while Badshah has defended his music multiple times and has said that he does not intend to promote sexism via his music, his songs continue to perpetuate those same harmful sexist stereotypes.
“I am proud of the progression and inclusivity that is being witnessed within the hip-hop industry. We need to get rid of the ‘boys’ club’ tag. Men and women should get the same kind of respect. I’m happy to see women advocating for themselves today. I think this generation is more courageous and they know exactly what they want and how they can get it,” he further went on to say in the interview.
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There is an argument which is often used by many people who say that artists should have creative freedom. But we cannot deny the fact that the art produced by the likes of Badshah tends to have a greater societal impact, influencing the portrayal of gender in popular culture. Artists must reflect on the ideas and messages that they convey through their music.
Do you agree?