Hip hop, journalist and rhyme are all different concepts. But for Mumbai-based rapper, A-List a.k.a Ashwini Mishra, this combination is a way of bringing news stories that need to be heard and seen.
Breaking away from the stereotypical rapper image, A-List is all about resistance and dissent on various social, political and cultural issues. His latest song, “Rhythm and News” was performed live at University of Hyderabad.
Issues from black money, land acquisition, FTII protest to various other issues were addressed through carefully penned lyrics.
“I am not a ‘voice for the voiceless’. I consider this as appropriation of spaces. I am just telling a story,” says the artist, who has been an alternative voice in Indian hip hop since 2004.
His love for poetry began back in school. It triggered when he went on a drive with his family while he was in Saudi Arabia.
In a petrol bunk, he noticed cover image of black guys in a music disc rather than familiar white faces. “That cover looked like me and I found the cool posture of those guys appealing”, recalls Ashwini. “Initially, my rapping wasn’t political. I focused on a lot on its technicalities. I went ahead and stuck to free style and I realised it is all about telling a story on the spot,” he shares, adding that he is not a protest artist.
“A-List stands for good progressive art. Indian rap scene is undergoing a transformation with regional raps in Marathi, Tamil, and Malayalam. I am doing a counter narrative with my art”, says Ashwini and he adds that he has a long way to go. “They ask me how long will I rhyme on the beat, I say till Irom Sharmila finally eats,” he quips.“Rhythm and News” will release online on September 25.