Sidhu Moose Wala was a Punjabi rapper, singer, songwriter and actor who was tragically murdered on May 29th. According to the BBC, Moose Wala was shot 24 times by unidentified individuals while travelling on the evening of his death. Six people have been detained in connection with the murder.
In a career spanning just four years, the 28-year-old rapper had become one of the most iconic faces of Punjab’s growing hip-hop scene. His songs, which he wrote and composed, racked up more than five billion views, made it to the Top 5 in the UK charts last year, and he was also featured among the best new artists of 2020 in The Guardian. He had millions of fans around the world, especially in Canada and the UK which have a sizable Punjabi population.
He drew heavy influence from gangsta rap and his songs offered uncensored commentary on the dark underbelly of the rural heartland, where drugs, crime and corruption were an everyday reality. He had released three albums and more than 60 singles. At one time, he was churning out a song a week and became a household name in Punjab and among Sikhs living abroad.
Beyond gun-referencing lyrics, Moose Wala used his mic to speak on Punjab’s socio political issues, and challenge the status quo. Moose Wala supported a mass movement for agricultural subsidies, and ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2022 for the Mansa district seat in the Punjab legislative assembly.
Since the star’s death, there has been plenty of tribute across the internet pouring in from other artists and celebrities. One of those being Drake, who shared a picture of Moose Wala and his mother writing “RIP Moose” alongside a dove emoji. Like the Canadian superstar, Moose Wala had a heavy affiliation with Canada. The Punjab native moved to Brampton, Ontario, Canada in 2016 and even released his first song, ‘G Wagon’, while living there.
Recently, Burna Boy paid an emotional tribute to the rapper during one of his live performances. The Nigerian star mentioned Moose Wala’s name on the mic and broke down, hiding his face in his arms. The singer also went on to do Moose Wala’s signature step, where he hit his thigh and pointed a finger upwards. He then wiped his tears and moved around the stage, while the audience cheered for him as he performed.
Other notable tributes came in from Stefflon Don and a myriad of India’s biggest stars including Ranveer Singh, Diljit Dosanjh, and Kapil Sharma.