In the 90’s and the early 00’s, the majority of rap was coming out of New York, California, and the South. You had Wu Tang, Nas and Jay Z representing the East, Dr. Dre and co. in the West, and Houston based rappers like Scarface and Atlanta’s Outkast and Goodie Mob down South. Now you’re looking at a rap scene that covers the whole globe. Dizzee Rascal out of England, South Africa’s Die Antwoord and now Ramika out of Afghanistan.
If you know anything about Afghanistan, you know that democracy is a work in progress over there. Yes, polls are open to the public, but the Taliban have made direct, violent threats to any Afghan people who want to show up on voting day.
Many young people in Afghanistan are putting themselves at risk to voice protest against the Taliban, urging others to hit the polls and vote for change. Ramika is one of the brightest of these young voices, rapping about politics, life in Afghanistan for a young woman, and the importance of making yourself heard.
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You might not understand the lyrics, but you can check out this great interview with the BBC. Ramika is still young, but speaks and raps with a confidence and a clarity of purpose that many older rappers still struggle with. Confrontational, intelligent and bold, make no mistake that Ramika is actually putting her safety on the line as an artist. In a country where women are still stoned to death, Ramika faces worse than having her single pulled from the radio if the wrong people take notice of her.
Ramika hopes to change the world’s perception of Afghanistan through her music, helping to prove that Afghanistan culture is more than Taliban and terrorism, that they have a rich history of music and art. Ramika challenges the status quo of Afghanistan and the world.