Rumble in London: Dhadi meets Hip Hop

I found this new video that Mandeep Sethi released last month beautiful and inspiring. Shot in London, the young San Francisco-based hip hop artist links up with a dhadi jatha for a freestyle session unlike any other.

I’ve always loved the power, poignancy, and rhythm funkyness of dhadi jathas. Sikh and Punjabi public education through music, in a sense. These same characteristics are at the heart of hip hop and draw many of us to it, including talented artists like Mandeep. AsPublic Enemy’s Chuck Dstated years ago, “Rap is CNN for black people.”

A few years ago, a friend of mine gave a compelling presentation about the parallels between hip hop and dhadi at SikhRI’s Sidak program in San Antonio, TX. Mandeep Sethi was not in the room, but clearly he had the same thought. Hope you enjoy it.

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12 Responses to “Rumble in London: Dhadi meets Hip Hop”

  1. Naujawani Sardar says:

    The Mandeep Sethi-Pohir Dhadi Jatha freestyle was part of Mandeep's performance at an event called 'Collaborations' which was jointly organised this year by Nishaan – a collective of London university Sikh societies (http://thelangarhall.com/uk/nishaan-the-sikh-society-network).

    You can watch the entire collaborative performance of just under 7 minutes at:

    The excellent video Brooklynwala has highlighted above was made by a young film-maker in the UK called Mad Tatter Films (http://madtatterwork.tumblr.com)

  2. Anon says:

    Is the guy at 6:36 with a trace of facial hair and what appears to be some sort of turban or cap part of a particular Indian faith group? Thanks for any insight.

  3. Satveer says:

    I attended the night – this was a fantastic event with smiles all around – MANDEEP SETHI was brilliant, as was his performance with Dhadi Jatha as shown – the other acts were fantastic also including Dubtician, Amrit, and also a magician and the Artist – Amandeep Singh. ALL the acts, regardless how you portray them 'anon' were full of character. I do believe the video should be spoken of in relation to what it is and what the topic is – COLLABORATIONS. Not, who portrays SIKHISM the best. Or – how much of sikhi each represented on the night. You would be suprised how lovely all these guys were – regardless of how some may wish to envision them. Using the word 'MOCKERY' towards any HUMAN is wrong let alone someone in the community. This 25 year old 'kid' or 'boy' I know is doing all he can to reach to the community – but seeing the earlier comment, post which 'anon' has created sparks an issue which should not be commented on under such a fantastic historic performance. So much for the 'PEACE' and 'LOVE' – I don't see it. Nonetheless, your views will be your own, as will mine – I go about never disrespecting anyone and strongly believe in positivity – I certainly do not think we should degrade someone in our community. Thank you for an amazing night to the performers and hosts of Collaborations. Satveer Singh.

  4. seti x says:

    langar hall got more haters than jay z and thats word to brooklynwala. thanks for the post bhaaji

  5. anon says:

    Satveer Singh
    Thanks for your positive and measured feedback. I believe yours is an excellent post and agree with much of what you said. I’m sure it was a great performance and much credit may go to that kid or man if that’s in fact what he is. Overall it’s a great video to see. However, his appearance makes it a video that would be confusing for Sikh children—–if it was not the case that most identifying as Sikhs are confusing to Sikh children. As for disrespecting an individual, this is clearly not about him or any individual. He’s part of a vast majority. This is about a minority challenging the status quo thinking of ALL of us who call ourselves Sikhs. It’s challenging the thinking that this mockery of the gift of the guru’s is acceptable because of our ‘to each their own’ view. What exactly is the “community” that you refer to? Surely it’s not one of caste? And it’s not one of race? A Sikh community is one of identity, faith, and a way of life. Are we letting our brothers and sisters down when we think “the practice is so prevalent that we can only become very unpopular questioning it” or we think “well they are the same race or ethnicity as us” or we think “we need to maintain numbers”. Why not say to them, “don’t be so confused, you have the innate qualities to be a proper Sikh, so make your claim or if it’s not for you, then don’t make it a tribal costume”. I am not suggesting someone portray Sikhi best. I am suggesting that no one mock Sikhi. The gift of identity has evolved into a costume party of self-hatred. If tolerance and peace and love is where we should be, then I suggest that we’re actually very intolerant and hateful when we decide in this day and age that the Sikh “community” is based on race/caste/ethnic origin rather than a common path of love, faith, and identity lived and gifted by our guruji’s. Sure there are people on varied parts of that path. But being on a path by definition is not being static. And a subculture of permanently manicured facial stubble with a barely-there turban disappearing into the head is not part of the path. I assure you that I am behind that individual and all others like him far more than the limits that would be set by my mere positivity.

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