Rapping for the vulnerable of Singapore

by | May 13, 2022 | World

Subhas Nair, a Singaporean of Indian origin, has made a career of ruffling feathers in Singapore, attracting thousands of fans with his bold raps on controversial and sensitive topics including racial issues.But his work, alongside sister Preeti, has also attracted the attention of the authorities in the closely controlled city.
“I am here to stand up for my community and as a rapper, my role is to speak truth to power – not just for my people, but for all of us who are living under capitalism and this authoritarian regime,” 29-year-old Subhas told Al Jazeera. “Mainstream media can say what they want – they are mouthpieces of the state anyway; a state whose mother tongue is money.”
Subhas’s rhymes are designed to amplify the voice of what he calls the disenfranchised “Brown folk” through subversive, witty humour.
Nearly 75 percent of Singapore’s population is ethnic Chinese, but the island is also home to ethnic Malay Muslims, Indians and other minorities.
Subhas’s debut album Not a Public Assembly (2018) addressed a range of local sociopolitical issues, from conflicting notions of masculinity to growing up as a low-income minority – all things that Subhas has experienced personally. The rapper is also involved in mutual aid work centred around justice for migran …

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