Sing for the Moment

A 16-year-old raps about the Mumbai he’s grown up in, its beauty and flaws

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published: April 14, 2017 12:10 am
Noor Hasan, Noor Hasan youtube, Kal ka superstar, Kal ka superstar youtube, youtuber india, youtube star india, Divine, Kal ka superstar Noor Hasan, latest news, latest india news, indian express Noor Hasan at his home in Mumbai (Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar)

Last month at Mumbai’s antiSOCIAL, a 16-year-old got on stage in front of a wild audience that hooted and cheered for him for the entire time he was up there, rapping next to popular rapper Divine. Once he got off the stage, for a few minutes, the audience tried figuring out who he was, and when they can hear him again. Noor Hasan’s first performance in a club, although short, was a resounding success.

The Sion-Dharavi-based Hasan is the latest kid on the rappers’ block. Last year, his song Kal ka superstar clocked in 1,389,231 views on YouTube. Since then, the Class XI student has become a name to reckon with, and regularly performs at several gigs. This month, he releases his next single, titled Meri awaaz.

“About a year-and-a-half ago, I heard Aafat by Naezy and didn’t understand anything. But the more I heard it, the more I liked it and by the end of the day, I had memorised the full song. That’s when I realised I could do this too. This was my introduction to rap music,” says Hasan.

It was in a fit of anger over being constantly told not to get into rapping that he wrote Kal ka superstar. “Jo amir hai iss desh mein, woh paise ko udaate hai/ chhoti-badi khushiyaan sab khareed ke who late hai/ kya jaane hum jo hassiyaan dil se kamaate hai/ jaane kaunse hai yeh bhesh mein, insaaniyat sikhate hai,” raps Hasan, as he takes us through the bylanes of Bombay 17. When Divine heard the track, he advised him to release it with a video.

“I had to sell my mobile phone to be able to pay the videographer,” says Hasan, whose parents run a small tiffin service from home. Every day, Hasan works on his flow and rhyme, and apart from Divine and Naezy, a regular dose of Eminem and Kendrick Lamar keeps him going. “I don’t understand their language but I do learn a lot about the flow from their music,” he says.

Hasan’s next track Meri awaaz, he says, is a befitting response to those who discouraged him, and asked him not to rap. His aim this year is to release 4-5 singles, experiment with hair colour, get some modelling assignments, and work on his poetry. “All these songs about daaru and ladki — that’s not rap. Rap is poetry, it’s about real life. That’s the music I want to make,” says Hasan.

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