Officials in India stated Monday that they are probing the death of a prominent Punjabi rapper who fused hip-hop, rap, and folk music a day after he was fatally shot.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known by his stage as Sidhu Moose Wala, was killed while driving his car in Mansa, a district in northern India’s Punjab state, on Sunday evening. Moose Wala, 28, was brought to the hospital and pronounced dead.
According to Punjab state’s top police official, VK Bhawra, the homicide was the result of an inter-gang feud. The Punjab government had withdrawn security cover for around 400 people, including Moose Wala, a day before the attack, according to local media sources.
Moose Wala began as a songwriter before launching his singing career with a popular song in 2017, making him well recognized among the Indian and Punjabi diaspora in nations such as the United Kingdom and Canada.
Even though the songs were mostly sung in Punjabi, the majority of his tracks have English titles. His rap lyrics were used prominently in his flashy music videos, which frequently focused on macho culture. His debut album, released in 2018, charted on Canada’s Billboard Albums.
Moose Wala was a divisive personality, in part because of his lyrical style. Police charged him with violating India’s Arms Act in 2020 for allegedly encouraging gun culture in one of his songs.
“The Last Ride,” his most recent single, was released earlier this month. Last year, the rapper joined India’s Congress Party and ran unsuccessfully in the state assembly elections.
Punjab’s chief minister, Bhagwant Mann, said the incident surprised and pained him and that “no perpetrator will be spared.” Rahul Gandhi, a top Congress politician, expressed his sympathies for the assassination on Twitter.
“I am deeply surprised and grieved by the assassination of a promising Congress leader and creative artist,” he added.