These three artists are currently the three most popular names in the independent music scene in Pakistan. There’s the talented and incredibly prolific producer Talal Qureshi and the two rising stars, Maanu and Hasan Raheem. They’ve collaborated together on a groovy new track called 'Sweetu'.
'Sweetu' is an incredibly catchy number that you can’t help swaying to. Both Maanu and Hasan Raheem rap their lyrics, so it’s hard to sing along, but you can definitely sing along to the main chorus line:
“Kehti sab se zyada sweet hoon [She says I’m the sweetest].”
Talal Qureshi, Maanu and Hasan Raheem team up for a song celebrating themselves
In the music video, you can see all three artists walking and dancing on the Karakoram Highway, deep in the heart of Gilgit Baltistan, where Hasan Raheem is from. The swaying and the dance moves are catchy and go perfectly with the song. This is the morning ‘after’ and, for this trio, the party hasn’t stopped.
'Sweetu' is an acoustic-electronic dance track. The song moves on a repeated guitar riff with some electronic beats and treatment, though the real hook is what sounds like a simple, atonal string pluck or a shortened flute gasp. It’s a feel-good number about this trio enjoying their ‘moment’. It’s about them celebrating themselves really — their musical prowess, their ‘awesomeness’. They’re behaving and singing as if they are inebriated or perhaps tripping. There is a slight slur in their vocalisation of the lyrics as well, particularly by Raheem who almost mumbles the opening section of the song.
In one section of the song Hasan Raheem raps/sings: “Gaaeki meri apni jaga/ Raaye teri mainy mangi kahaan/ Killing all you salty m****** softly on this beat while you scream with those wows yahaan/ Saaqi saaray meray saathi jahaan/ Khulay mein bikay mohabbat wahaan/ Aur meri chhaati naapay tees with a phatti wi kameez/ Slaying you with all this heat now”
[My singing aside/ I never asked for your opinion/ Killing all you salty m****** softly on this beat while you scream with those wows here/ My friends are where/ They sell love out in the open/ Slaying you all with this heat now]
'Sweetu' is an acoustic-electronic dance track. The song moves on a repeated guitar riff with some electronic beats and treatment, though the real hook is what sounds like a simple, atonal string pluck or a shortened flute gasp.
Maanu follows that up with: “Main chaahay bina bhi yoon jeet jaoon/ Zameen se uth chukay meray paaoon/ Lagday ne sweet meray geet/ Even jab hoon badtameez/ Kaisay humble main ab reh paaoon”
[I win without even wanting to/ My feet have left the ground/ You think my songs are sweet/ Even when I’m rude/ How do I stay humble like this?]
This trio is riding a wave. They’re on a roll with back-to-back releases that are not only doing well with audiences but are doing better than songs released by more established mainstream acts or those supported by them. And they have done this entirely on their own — much like Abdullah Siddiqui and Shamoon Ismail right before them.
With multiples releases one after the other, they are moving fast. Here’s hoping they don’t lose steam.
Originally published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2021