Yo Yo Honey Singh is a household name today in middle class, Bollywood-consuming India. Although his career has been tainted with controversies, he has unknowingly affected the geography and culture of Hip Hop in India. His innocent contribution towards the popularization and awareness of the common people of India, towards Hip Hop, has been a secret success story.
In 2009, a friend sent me a song on titled, “Choot” which Honey Singh allegedly made (no disrespect to Badshah). The virality “Choot” generated was astonishing, especially because it happened at a time when YouTube was not the primary medium for music listeners.
Honey Singh has been popular with the critics and courts for his notorious lyrics on one end and for pop hits like “Lungi Dance, Char Bottle Vodka, etc” that he has delivered to the Indian audience on the other. Reminds me of a young Eminem who putting out, “Kill You“, which caused similar controversies in USA. No matter what Honey Singh wrote, his controversies drove his popularity and questioned India’s pillars of freedom of speech. How can a country like ours see Honey Singh’s misogyny brimming lyrics, as different from that of Eminem’s (No disrespect to Badshah).
Honey Singh remains one of the few rappers that actually penetrated the Bollywood Industry. To form an unbiased opinion, it becomes very important for us to distinguish between Commercial (read: Bollywood) music and non-commercial music. Although affected by bipolar disorder, Honey Singh was able to deliver the concept of Hip Hop to everyone who saw Chennai Express. This means that most kids in all corners of this country HAVE heard Honey Singh.
This does not mean that Honey Singh is a great rapper. He has achieved with his juvenile lyrics, what many highly talented rappers/producers in India only dream of achieving. However Honey Singh has a great team (his B’s) that he built himself (no disrespect to Raftaar). And the team is more important than the star itself, as I have come to learn. I’ve also learnt that the bait is as important as the fish fry. Soon the same listeners will explore other artists, like Naezy, Divine and Prabh Deep and before you know it, you have a Hip Hop scene. Not even Honey Singh knows he did that.
I dream that one day, Indian Hip Hop will brings consciousness to the world that establishes unity and peace. Be it the brilliant people behind Honey Singh or the heart felt lyrics of my comrades, Hip Hop takes its own course.
“Without the B’s, how can you make the Honey Singh“. – Smokey the Ghost.