03 AM in Jauhar

JJ47’s reputation is of a rapper’s rapper. His songs rely heavily on his lyrical prowess – his words are often direct social commentaries. JJ references his lack of emphasis on “good looks” and “good hooks”. The result is music that sounds simple and unadorned, but the words are hard to let go. His voice and delivery, despite the lack of variation and perhaps because of it, so particularly his own that they have become an undisputed signature.

It heartens me to see that a song like this, with no video and no elaborate production, touches so many. A glance at reaction videos to this song illustrates how deeply embedded this hip hop scene is in urban Pakistan, and especially in Karachi. The influence of this scene extends into India, where Mumbai’s gully rap scene share many of the same motifs. Arguably the shared circumstances in both cities and the reflexive influence of hip hop artists across the border adding to the collectively shared ethos.