Raja Kumari’s New Track ‘The Rani Cypher’ Focuses on Gender Equality
Indian American rapper-singer-songwriter-dancer Raja Kumari at the 2019 American Music Awards arrivals at Microsoft Theater. (P. Lehman / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
R.M. VIJAYAKAR/Special to India-West
MUMBAI — Multi-platinum Indian American rapper-singer-songwriter-dancer Raja Kumari, aka Svetha Rao, released her latest track, “The Rani Cypher,” June 21 to mark World Music Day.
Releasing via Mass Appeal India across all major streaming platforms, the inclusivity-infused woman-power anthem has Raja Kumari delivering social missives.
The track fortifies its woman-power credentials with appearances by breakthrough female MCs, Dee MC, SIRI and Meba Ofilia. Rocking and flexing on the mike 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 a dialogue on equality, the music video visually juxtaposes the four rappers as queens in this contemporary world.
Defined as a feel-good ode to the power of women, the Grammy-nominated rapper’s latest offering serves as a perfect reminder to go past societal constructs and redeem all forms of limiting beliefs, giving women the permission to own the room.
The song is part celebration. Gender stereotypes are dismantled in the spoken intro verse, “As a woman in this industry, we have to work harder. We have to be better. We have to do so much more.” The show-stealing anchor verse is a rallying cry 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.”
Regarded as one of the pioneering tastemakers of the hip-hop community, a catalyst for change and the poster-girl of the counterculture generation, Raja Kumari shines a big light on the spirit of a crown in this new gen feminist rap classic. Powering up the rich storytelling with her slick rhymes, she is seen weaving a layered narrative in the music video of how enterprise and decorum balance one another, oscillating between contrasts—a bold spitfire and a poised temperate introvert.
Known for imparting a message of social consciousness through her music, Raja Kumari, who is seen dishing out some words of encouragement for the ladies in her high-energy, definitive all-female posse cut, stated, “When I entered the Indian rap scene in 2016, it was rare to see a woman on stage and even rarer to hear a woman on the mike. I decided early on to use my influence to create a platform for female artistes and creatives in order to claim a space that could be safe for all of us…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 this has been a hands-on experience and I’m thankful to have worked with such a talented female-led team.”
SIRI said: “So hyped for this one! A much-needed collaboration for the scene. The shoot was super fun—all of us in our elements, exchanging positive energy. Props to Raja for getting us together.”
Dee MC added, “Super stoked to have worked with these amazing and talented ladies. 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 said, “I’m nervous, yet very excited! Honored that I got to be a part of this unique project. Definitely a first for me, sitting down in a studio with artistes 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.”