If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased. – Maya Angelou.
Some people leave a mark on the world that lives on forever. One such person who brought the Punjabi community into the limelight & made them feel proud about being a Punjabi, no matter where they live was Sidhu Moosewala. Sidhu Moosewala is a self-made legend who was brutally killed at an age of 28 on May 29, 2022, while driving near his native village of Moosa in India’s Punjab state in a car with two associates. “Ni Ehda Uthuga Jawani Ch Janaja Mithiya” which translates to the funeral will happen in youth, a line from his song - The Last Ride, that was released in May, just before his death. It gathered over 90 million views since then and it features the iconic crime scene where American rapper Tupac was murdered in his BMW in 1996. Shockingly, he met the same fate on May 20, 2022 which left millions across the world in shock and disbelief. In his last music video - The Last Ride, he stated that - "Many hated him, and many died wanting him... everything is revealed in the eyes of the young boy", which seems like a truth being spoken about himself.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, who is popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, hailed from a farmer’s family from Mansa district’s Moosa village in Punjab. He was an electrical engineer who graduated from Ludhiana’s Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College in 2016 and later moved to Toronto where he pursued higher studies and released his first song “G Wagon” in 2017. His father, Balkaur Singh, is a retired government employee and a farmer, while mother Charan Kaur is the sarpanch or head of the Moosa village.
He gained immense popularity with his track “So High” in 2018 which made him a global name. His debut album PBX1 ranked 66th on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart and his hit single 47’ was ranked on the UK singles chart. His track “Banbiha Bole” also entered the top 5 list on the global YouTube music chart. The Mossetape tracks released in 2021 also garnered global popularity. Moosewala also later officially launched his record label - 5911 records and most of his songs highlighted the Jatt Sikh Community. He made sense of the chaos faced through his songs which formed a deep connection between him & his fans. He made it big in every sense. Sidhu Moosewala was one of the first people who showed their unwavering support for the Farmer’s Protest which highlighted agitation against three farm laws on September 25, 2020. He even participated in the bandh in Mansa village. His unwavering support motivated other Punjabi singers to join the Farmer’s protest and support it.
With a career that lasted for just four years, Sidhu Mossewala has become one of the most influential and prominent faces of Punjab’s blooming hip-hop scene. From Delhi’s flamboyant parties to radios at tea stalls in rural India as well as every radio channel in Punjab to stereos on the streets of Canada, you can hear his songs blare & bring in a sense of belonging for Punjabis around the world. He has released three albums and more than 60 singles since 2017, with his latest track - SYL released after his death. He used to write, sing and compose at least one song a week. He had become a household name in Punjab and among Sikhs living across the world.
His music was heavily influenced by the genre of gangster rap that featured guns and fancy cars and showed that he was making sense of the life around him. With an unpolished commentary on the dark underbelly of rural Punjab that is influenced by drugs, crime and
corruption, his lyrics struck a chord with the general audience, making him one of their own. Rap music as a genre often has lyrical expressions of revenge which has been captured in his songs too. One such example is stated in his hit track - Jatt da Mukabla where he says "Don't flutter so high, you birds, for if I want, I can buy the sky." Sidhu Moosewala has not been a stranger to controversies. He has been criticized for promoting gun culture through his songs and his affinity for it can be seen in his Instagram posts too. He has never been afraid of stating things as they are and bringing the grim realities to the forefront.
Since his death, fans and celebrities alike have paid their tribute and expressed their grief through social media. Drake paid a tribute to him by playing his songs 295 and G-Shit during his debut as a radio host for his show Table for One. Diljit Dosanjh, a celebrity singer and actor, paid an emotional tribute to late singer Sidhu Moose Wala during his Vancouver show where he said - ' It is impossible to erase his name from heart'.Kapil Sharma, the famous comedian and actor also paid an emotional tribute to him during his show in Vancouver by singing his songs and having his visuals played in the background. Sidhu Moose Wala recently got a special tribute at New York's iconic Times Square. Huge billboards played clips of his song as fans stopped by to cheer for him.
For many fans across the world, this news came as a shock and it broke their hearts. “It feels more like a personal loss. He made us feel proud to be Punjabis and had carved a path for us in the world. His lyrics were hard-hitting and he brought a sense of belonging and oneness to the community” says Dania Kaur, a medical student in Florence, Alabama. Sahiba Kaur Sangha, a writer and TedX speaker emotionally quoted “I haven’t been able to eat, I haven’t been able to sleep. I kept trying my best to be normal but my mind keeps wandering toward Sidhu, will I ever be able to hear his songs with the same vibe again? I’ve never met him but he always felt like a family member. I never thought I’d never get a chance to meet him and I’ve never felt this love for any other actor or celebrity. He felt like a universal brother. His songs are my go-to to face any situation in life. His songs helped me battle depression and gave me confidence. No one can ever replace him.” Her sister was the only girl among 200 students who did his famous “Thappi” at her graduation ceremony. Thappi is something that is traditionally done by men but she did it as a tribute as Sidhu said “My parents never limited my ability as a girl, instead they empowered me with respect and confidence to use my strength in any form necessary equal to a man” in one of his songs.
Another fan, Simran Sandhu, an HR professional from Canada penned down her tribute for Sidhu Moosewala stating “To say that you had a great flair with words is an understatement. To say that you were a legend who inspired millions is an understatement. To say that you came out of nowhere and shook the world with “So High” is an understatement. But to say that “I’m okay” when your passing has truly affected me both mentally and emotionally is the biggest understatement. You’ve left a void that can never be filled.”
As they say, legends never die. Sidhu Moosewala will always be alive through his music and the impact he has created. The love from his fans and celebrities alike will keep his legacy going.