The following sentence may be an understatement but there’s no other simple way to put it: ‘The Sibbi Song’ was a game-changer and changed the lives of everyone involved with its production. Patari’s numbers soared after the song’s release; SomeWhatSuper became even more super; but if there’s one person whose life has turned upside down, it’s the new kid on the block, Abid Brohi.
Not much is know about the rapper who hails from Sibbi, Balochistan, other than his ability to melodiously sing and rap at the same time. Brohi shot to instant stardom when the song released and has established himself as a force to be reckoned with, but it goes without saying that this journey to success has not been an easy one.
“People used to laugh at me,” states Brohi very simply when we finally converse over the phone. Even though he was getting nowhere in terms of his love for music, Brohi was stubborn. He refused to give up, despite the humiliation he faced on a daily basis from friends and even family members. “Everyone would just tell me to give up; ‘this will not take you anywhere in life’ they said to me.”
His daily earnings did not allow him to travel far and wide in hopes of finding like-minded musicians who would appreciate his talent. His days were going by doing odd jobs. “I was working in a cloth store for Rs.100 a day. I then shifted to Quetta and got a better paying job that gave me Rs.6000 per month.”
Despite this, Brohi made an attempt to come to Lahore at the invitation of an established Pakistani musician, who promised to work with the rapper. But when he finally reached Lahore, the musician was unavailable on his cell phone. Brohi was eventually informed that the musician wasn’t even in the country to receive Brohi. “I was so heartbroken that day. I came all the way to Lahore facing so many difficulties. I had really high hopes.”
However, luck was still on Brohi’s side when a documentary filmmaker discovered him at Sibbi’s annual mela. “Raza (Shah) met Brohi and heard him sing. He then recorded his vocals and sent them over to us, and we started working on the song,” shared Dar over a telephonic conversation.
“I kept pestering SomeWhatSuper for a whole year then,” quipped Brohi. Finally after a year, he got a phone call that told him to come to Karachi. “I was prepared this time. I asked for the contact details of at least five, six other people. Someone or the other had to answer my call!”
Thus the Sibbi Song was born. “One day my brother came running to tell me I’m on TV. And there I saw myself. I couldn’t believe it. I started shivering and crying out of happiness. My dream had finally come true.” Brohi shared that he couldn’t calm down for the next one week. “I couldn’t even eat for a whole week because I was so happy!”
Now, the same Brohi is well respected in his family and community. “Those same people who used to laugh behind my back started calling and congratulating me. The Nawab of Sibbi even called me to say I had made them proud. I have so much respect now, it’s more than I could have ever hoped for.”
But Brohi’s success has also brought financial stability to his home. “I can now afford to get medical treatments for my mother. All my problems have been solved now.”
Brohi isn’t the only one who’s seeing things change though. Dar and Faisal, while already successful, are seeing a major shift in musical trends in Pakistan now. “We are seeing electronic music entering the mainstream now. Earlier it had a very niche market. Now everyone wants to work with us and wants a similar sound,” shared Faisal.
“That is a good thing and a bad thing though. Now everyone wants us to make another Sibbi song. That can’t happen though, because such virality and success cannot be achieved over and over again. But if you listen to our music, you’ll see that our songs never sound the same. We’re still experimenting and learning what works for us,” said Dar.
All three musicians are now being hounded by corporates and various entities to work with them. SomeWhatSuper are now working on a film’s soundtrack while Brohi has a huge corporate project in the pipeline. “My friends now call me ‘kadday’ jokingly from the song’s line ‘Kadday milda se’ meaning when will we meet again?” says Brohi, and we do wonder the same thing from him.
This article was first published in Instep, 6th March 2017.