Famous Punjabi-language rapper Sidhu Moose Wala shot dead in India

Punjabi-language rapper and music producer Sidhu Moose Wala has been shot dead in India, according to officials. He was 28.

Moose Wala was born in Moosa, a village in the Mansa district of Punjab, India, in 1993. He moved to Brampton, Ont., after receiving an electrical engineering degree in India, in 2016.

He was famous worldwide, especially in the Punjabi diaspora, for his charged rap performances and slick music videos.

Police say Moose Wala had left his home at about 4:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, driving in a jeep vehicle along with two other people.

At about 5:30 p.m., police say the occupants of three vehicles — one behind Moose Wala’s vehicle and two alongside — fired into the vehicle when they were in the Jawaharke village, within Mansa district.

Moose Wala suffered injuries and was declared dead after he was brought to hospital, police say, adding it was likely the slaying was the result of an “inter-gang rivalry.” Police say an associate of Lawrence Bishnoi, a Canadian resident, claimed responsibility.

The rapper, who also had an acting career, had joined the Indian National Congress party last year.

He had contested the Punjab state elections in 2022, losing to Dr. Vijay Singla of the Aam Aadmi Party, which is the ruling party in the state of Punjab and in Delhi.

Punjab State Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted his condolences to Moose Wala, with a statement from the Congress party saying that his death “has come as a terrible shock to the Congress party & the entire nation.”

Iconic in Punjabi diaspora

Moose Wala found much success in the Punjabi-language rap scene after moving to Canada. He has performed to sold-out crowds in Winnipeg and Toronto, and was also an iconic figure in Surrey, B.C. — home to Canada’s second-largest South Asian population.

He was set to play Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on July 23 as part of his Back 2 Business Tour, an eight-city tour across Canada.

Moose Wala’s music touched on themes of violence, bravado, and machismo, particularly with respect to Punjabi men, and the state of affairs in his home state. He was an outspoken supporter of the widespread farmers’ protests in India.

The rapper released a few singles in 2017 shortly after moving to Canada. His first album PBX 1 was released in 2018, and subsequent albums went on to chart in Canada and abroad.

His music videos frequently garnered millions of views in a short span of time, and featured slick production and camera work. His 2018 song, Its All About You, was the most-watched YouTube video on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

He subsequently went on to have his own eponymous record label, and starred in the 2021 Punjabi-language movie Moosa Jatt. He branched into politics before the Punjab election in December 2021.

Moose Wala had a performance cancelled in Surrey in 2019 due to security concerns on the part of RCMP and the city, after a previous stabbing at one of his Surrey concerts.

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