Indian American rapper-singer-songwriter-dancer Raja Kumari aka Svetha Rao unveiled an exclusive music video in collaboration with Absolut vodka. Releasing across streaming platforms today, the music video, titled Rani Cypher, celebrates the potent voices of a new generation of women who dare to dismantle deeply ingrained stereotypes and forge a path for themselves.
Delivering unfaltering social missives through a collaborative effort, the track fortifies its woman-power credentials with appearances by breakthrough female MCs Dee MC, SIRI and Meba Ofilia. Rocking and flexing on the mic and raising each other up, this exceptional bunch demonstrates that it is time for a change in social perceptions of women in hip hop. Trailblazing and unapologetic, they weave a progressive narrative around breaking free from shackles and running the world. With lyrics that provoke dialogue on equality, the video visually juxtaposes the four rappers as queens in this contemporary world.
Through a powerful spoken intro verse “as women in this industry, we have to work harder, we have to be better, we have to do so much more,” Raja Kumari acknowledges gender stereotypes and stirs conversation around the creation of a world with equal opportunities for all. The anchor verse is a celebration of the self, and a mantra rolled into one, “rani, rani, don’t forget that you’re a queen, rani, rani duniya ki shehzaadi, there’s nothing that can stop you now, lift it up and wear that crown.” This is by far one of Kumari’s most enduring statements and will hopefully reverberate a wave of forward-thinking awareness across the genre, open avenues for upcoming MCs and be cemented in hip-hop’s history.
Over the years, Absolut has built a strong pedigree for itself within the performing and creative arts turf through the showcase of culturally relevant themes in their contemporary homegrown led initiatives. Absolut has a legacy of fusing pop culture and purpose together, keeping inclusivity at its core and encouraging people to express themselves freely. Through the Rani Cypher collaboration, Absolut honours the very same advocacy and drives awareness amongst the urban audience, showcasing how the medium of music can be entertaining yet educative at the same time!
Expressing his views on the association, Mr. Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India, said “Absolut has always been a pioneer in leading with purpose and challenging societal norms. Through Rani Cypher and the association with Raja Kumari, we continue to instigate progressive conversations and encourage genuine voices that question the status quo to create a gender equal world”.
Known for imparting a message of positivity, of female power and social consciousness through her music Raja Kumari states, “When I entered the Indian Rap scene in 2016, it was rare to see a woman on stage and even more rare to hear a woman on the mic. I decided early on to use my Influence to create a platform for female artists and creatives in order to claim a space that could be safe for all of us. Partnering with Absolut on Rani Cypher has been such a rewarding experience. It’s so exciting to feature Meba Ofilia, Dee MC and Siri on this all-female rap cypher out of India. From beginning to end, working on Rani Cypher has been a hands on experience and I’m thankful to have worked with such a talented female led team.”
SIRI says, “So hyped for this one! A much-needed collaboration for the scene. The shoot was super fun – all of us in our element, exchanging positive energy. Props to Raja for getting us together. It’s just the beginning and there’s so much more to come. Female rap is here to stay and conquer.”
Dee MC says, “Super stoked to have worked with these amazing and talented ladies on Rani Cypher. This was definitely in the works for a while and I’m so glad it’s finally happened. Safe to say it sets a benchmark for all upcoming female collaborations.”
Meba Ofilia says, “I’m nervous, yet very excited! Honoured that I got to be a part of this unique project. Definitely a first for me, sitting down in a studio with artists from different parts of India (and the world!) to record a song. Want to thank the entire team for all the love and hospitality! This is definitely one of the highlights of my career”
The Absolut release is more cypher than song with each emcee showcasing her lyrical prowess and commanding composure. It stands up perfectly fine on its own—a rare moment in hip-hop that serves as a perfect reminder to power past societal constructs, with Kumari proclaiming that “king’s crown on the queen, everything I did, yeah, I did it for the scene.”
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