Pasha Bhai - Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF)


Pasha Bhai is the nom de guerre of 24-year-old multilingual rapper, poet, lyricist and singer, Mohammed Affan Pasha of Bangalore’s Neelasandra. A self-taught performer, honing his skills since the young age of 16, he has, till date, released over 25 singles in Dakhni, Hindi, Urdu and English. He has also featured on several tracks by
prominent Indian Hip Hop artists – most notably alongside Sumukh Mysore a.k.a. Smokey The Ghost’s Balder than the Baldest from their sophomore album The Human Nation.

In the nascent yet burgeoning Indian hip-hop scene that values both underground credibility and commercial appeal, Pasha Bhai’s debut single ‘Eid ka Chand’, produced by Manas Sharma with a music video directed by Vyshnav Vinod, broke through the noise without succumbing to the pressure of formulaic tropes. Released on YouTube in August 2020, ‘Eid Ka Chand’ has since then garnered over 55 thousand views and has been appreciated for introducing Dakhni to mainstream hip-hop by both leading news outlets and music magazines alike.

As co-founder of Bangalore’s homegrown hip-hop community, Wanandaf, commander-in-chief of Neelasandra’s very own hip-hop collective, Clan Bokka Phod, and between managing multiple business ventures, Pasha Bhai moves with an air of chaos and urgency. While the Covid-19 pandemic dampened many spirits, music making was amped up, leading to the release of India’s first protest rap compilation album, Yeh Hai Baghawat, in October 2020 alongside Akx and Agaahi Raahi. His latest releases, ‘Pasha Bhai’ and ‘Khuda Gawah’, are testament to his versatility, fusing his signature hard-hitting lyricism with a melodic turn to sufism.

By opening sets at concerts headlined by Indian hip-hop’s leading artists like Raftaar, Divine, and MC Stan, curating his own line up for a two-hour showcase of Dakhni hip-hop artists under the live IP Ghalata-e-Dakhnistan for Bangalore International Centre, and performing at Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh, all in the same
year – Pasha demonstrated the ability to command a crowd’s attention with unmatched rhythmic flow and a grand cadence – cementing himself as an undeniable force amongst up-and-coming independent artists in the subcontinent. Focused on creating ever-evolving, genre-bending, boundary-pushing music, Pasha Bhai released his debut album, Bangalore ka Potta, in November 2022.