The latest hip hop songs with lyrics having no subtle poetic tone or a modicum of aesthetic sense are in rage today. These songs are different from the groovy, floor tapping dance musicals of even the early 2000s which retained the beauty and artistic originality of the composition; moved strings of our hearts and had the potency to change our mood. People hummed those songs and memorized their lyrics. Such was the poetic touch and the romantic ethos. Those are songs for different moods, expressing existential angst, ambitions, the injustice in the world, first love, youthful restlessness, the heartbreak and using inebriation and wine as a metaphor for being head-over-heels in love.
The kaleidoscope of human emotions was vividly and melodiously captured through music.
From old mawkish classics of 1950s to Dev Anand movie songs in 1960s to hit 1970s/80s songs of Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan movies to the romantics of 1990s and the Indipop of early 2000s, we have now come to songs like “Baby Marwaake Manegi” which are an Indian adaptation of American Rap & Bronx music.
There is neither lyrical value in these songs nor good music. What we see is a tawdry hip-hop makeover, fast luxury cars and scores of girls with a leading female entertainer gyrating over the beats in the background. This is the common paraphernalia of most Desi rap style songs which become instant hits. Comparing them to good old music seems as it that was from a parallel universe altogether.
The title of the song ‘Baby Marwaake Manegi by Raftaar’, which literally translates to Baby will get me killed, seems like a philosophical or romantical musing of a forlorn or jilted heart. An expression of defiance against unrequited love. But that’s not the case. All we have is highly repetitive lyrical wordplay laced with gratuitous doses of objectification of women and using gross generalizations.
We are not moral puritans or prudes and certainly everyone has a distinct taste in music, but class and elegance is definitely missing from these songs and they do cater to and normalize über machismo, hyper-consumerism, sexism, and stereotypes about independent, urban women being either objects of gratification or solely interested in shining, fast sedans or jewellery.