The first song is by the popular underground rap outfit Young Stunners, Talha Yunus and Talha Anjum, called Karachi Chal. This somewhat dark, moody rap song had already racked up over 940,000 plays on YouTube by the time this article went into print.
It’s a simply produced rap number where both Talha Yunus and Talha Anjum spit their verses over a moody synthesised beat playing on loop. This puts the focus squarely on where the duo have always wanted: the words, poetry, the messaging and the delivery.
More than a tribute to the city, this is a song about marking one’s own musical territory. The Young Stunners want you know in Karachi Chal how the city shaped them into the artists they are today and who the real rap kings of the city are. While it’s a song that deals with the ‘same old same old’ that most rap songs deal with, the chorus is incredibly catchy.
One of the bilingual leads into the chorus goes: “Young, stunning/ duss saal and I’m still running/ Tumhein shak hai tau/ Karachi chal, Karachi chal /Aa ke dekh kis ka zor hai Karachi par/ Chhorr kal, tu aaj hi chal/ Meray aagay Karachi Karachi na kar”
The songs Karachi Chal and Karachi is Love have two completely different vibes, yet are both about a love for the city
[Young, stunning/ Ten years and I’m still running/ If you have doubts/ Go to Karachi/ See who runs the city/ Forget about tomorrow, go today/ Don’t go ‘Karachi Karachi’ in front of me]
In comparison to Karachi Chal, Talha Yunus’s other collaboration, Karachi is Love, with singer/songwriter producer Ali Hamza and released by a beverage company, is atmospherically, a world apart. You can see how Hamza’s approach gives the track a fuller, multi-instrumental, upbeat and groovier sound.
Ali Hamza joins in on the chorus and his songwriting influence here is unmistakeable. The main chorus goes:
“Rukkay na rokay/ Lehron bhara samandar/ Leher maujon se milay to/ Ho jaey mast qalandar/ Ishq samandar dil hai jaani/ Aa samaa jaa iss me/ Karachi hai love hai jaani/ Choomay yeh dil ke andar”
[Doesn’t stop, won’t stop/ This sea full of waves/ When wave meets wave/ It becomes lost in itself/ The heart is a sea of love/ Envelop yourself in it/ Karachi is love, my love / It touches the heart]
The best part about this song is the rich brass section. The rapping in Karachi Is Love is upbeat and, in a manner similar to Pindi Aye, it introduces the listener to the city’s vibe — it’s famous landmarks, places and cuisine. My only major gripe is that the version that’s currently been released is entirely too short. We need more.
Since word has it that the fourteenth ‘covid’ season of Coke Studio is about to come out any time, one thinks that the brand has been releasing these little music tracks — including Neeray Aah in Meesha Shafi’s voice previously — as a warm up to the upcoming show.
While these little musical ‘hints’ (all produced by different individuals) are quite entertaining, it remains to be seen whether the season itself will live up to this slowly increasing hype. We shall see.
Published in Dawn, ICON, November 8th, 2020