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24 Jan 2018

This 17-year-old girl raps to tell stories of Kashmiri conflict

Meet Menime, Kashmir's first female rapper

At 17, Kashmir's Mehak Ashraf is the valley's first known female rapper.

On stage, she calls herself Menime - reverse of Eminem, the celebrity rapper who has inspired her to pursue an unconventional career in the largely conservative conflict-torn state.

Read on to know more about this teen sensation, her love for rapping and using it as the voice of dissent.

In context

Meet Menime, Kashmir's first female rapper


A political rapper in the making

A Class 12 student in Srinagar, Mehak identifies herself as a lyricist, composer and a political rapper.

She has been listening to Eminem and putting to paper all that she sees around her since she was 12.

Though her parents were initially apprehensive about her work, she has lately won their support. However, winning the hearts of other Kashmiris still remains a difficult challenge.

Form of expression

Rapping a way to voice angst, comment on Kashmir's situation

From vocabulary to accent, rapping style, rhymes and rhythms, Mehak borrows heavily from the American star-rapper.

She sources her material from the news and her response to it. Rap is her preferred way to express her angst at the sustained unrest in Kashmir since independence.

She says she raps for her people, to give voice to stories of oppression that are seldom told.

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Mehak raps for AHM Dexterity, a Kashmiri record label


Mehak raps for AHM Dexterity, a Kashmiri record label

Mehak was first noticed in 2016 by a local radio channel that wanted her to rap Eminem on air, not her politically-charged songs.

AHM Dexterity, a Kashmiri record label created by two local youths heard Mehak and offered her to join them. Since then there has been no looking back for her.

Together they narrate stories of Kashmiri oppression and violence through their songs.

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