Looking at the conditions of the Pakistani fashion and film industry’s current state, all I could gather was the fact that my singers would not have to go to other countries in order to be appreciated in their own nation. It grieved me, the way they were rejected by their own homeland at the expense of not being famous and once their video got international views, the same stars were declared as talented. Indeed, I have always been against this system of judging talent by fame, which unfortunately exists in my country. I could only hope for some betterment when I saw Pakistani cinema producing one blockbuster after another, with catchy songs. To me, it was the right time to believe that talent will finally get its deserved recognition in the country – until I spoke to Fahad Younusof Rebellious Antagonists.

To most of the readers, the name of the band and the singer himself would appear new and unknown. Sigh! This is what reveals the condition of the music industry within country. I, myself, had no knowledge of the man or his band, until I found out on the internet that he is the first Pakistani ever to make it to “TeamBackPack”, the biggest U.S cypher platform with names like Kendrick, Lemar and Hopsin. I was appalled by the lack of publicity awarded to Fahad Younus, which compelled me to contact him. Unfortunately,everything I could find was heart wrenching.

When asked about the reason behind the lack of his popularity in his own nation, Fahad said, “Me and my team members have been doing rap music since years. We had fan following from India and UK and got various opportunities to perform on both platforms. Unfortunately, due to a limited budget, our videos are only shared on social media and not on any television medium. I decided to return back to my country and pursue my career over there since its music industry was growing. Though I knew that movies endorsing rap music have still not been accepted by the Pakistani audience, the massive success of “SaentouSaen” urged me to wrap things up and move to my hometown”. I could see his facial expressions changing with every sentence. He further added, “I thought if a song like SaentouSaen can become a massive hit, I definitely can make my presence felt, since I have way better things to offer.” I was curious to find out why he was constantly comparing his work with the famous rap song, “I thought so because I had much better than crap to add into my rap. I had social messages in it which would educate the society, which point out the cunning realities and urge us not to give up over social and moral wills. In other words, I planned to both win the hearts of people along with teaching them something good.” I knew what he would say next, so I said it myself: “And you failed?” To this he replied, “Yes! Because here in our country, the culture of crap is dominating over rap. I am considered a fail at rapping if I avoid using slang language, do not promote drug usage and sexuality and refrain from talking about all the offensive stuff that can only cause harm to the generation”.

For a moment, I was shocked. He had pointed out the bitter reality of my society, of which I was a part. We all used to love rap music, with its unusual lyrics, which in some way or the other were related to offensive language, sexuality and drugs. The moment when I realized the people of my nation had started preferring crap over decency was the rudest awakening I have had to experience.

Having made up my mind to help him, I advised him to start staging concerts. Oh, but there was more to come from his side:“Do you know what we are told when we ask them to permit us to do concerts? They say, you will have to pay to get into the concerts. We are ready to perform without a penny but paying ourselves to perform in front of the audience is too much injustice, man. I have lived in UK for the past many years, remained in an underground band too for a long time, but was never given this type of a response. Even some of the radio channels have flatly refused to air my music. They say, there is no fun in it. What is the definition of “fun”? Insulting someone, saying crappy things? Unfortunately that is not my standard of music. I have better to offer and for the sake of achieving fame, I will not lower my standards!”

It was not just one struggling singer who had just spoken his heart out to me. Instead, it was an entire talented generation that had been deprived of their legitimate right to perform and succeed on the basis of their talent in the country. I knew that these things happened but I could never imagine that their impact was this disastrous. A band that had already acclaimed international success had been pushed down to the status of an underground band within its own country. Talking to Fahad revealed to me why all those boys go who performed so well when I was in my school and college never made it big. They, too,either must have quit their passion or would have chosen to remain underground rather than compromising on the quality of their music.

I can hope from the COAS to clean up corruption and terrorism from the country. But whom do I hope would clean up the mess that has been created within our film and music industry that is sucking it back into backwardness?

I am afraid if all of this talent that hopes the industry will welcome them on anon-discriminatory basis returned this time, there will be no hope for improvement in our music industry. We would have to rely on the Indian producers to come up with quality music for the Pakistani nation as only they are the ones who value our rejected talent. It’s high time that the authorities should take this scenario into notice and decide as to what amendments in the current practices should be made so that they favor the growth of Pakistani music, rather than contributing towards its further decline.

The fate that “Rebellious Antagonists” have faced in Pakistan is the story of many underground bands. I wish the experts of this industry understand how important it is for them to shift their focus on improving the quality of their work rather than making headlines by employing only the famous. If this happens, rap in Pakistan will no more be crap!