Meet Mehak Ashraf: Kashmir’s first female rapper, who is singing about the plight of her fellow compatriots

Mehak Ashraf is giving a voice to the downtrodden through her music. Hailing from Srinagar’s Hazratbal area, Ashraf is here to alert the world about everything that is going on in Kashmir.

The 19-year-old is the first female rapper from the area. Her songs are full of despair and grief, and she tells a story through them. Mehak has made her mark in an emerging hip-hop scene in Kashmir, where only male musicians have gained recognition.

Rising to the top in a male-dominated field has not been easy, but she still has taken it all in her stride and continued to sing on. Mehak is loved and appreciated by her young audience, which fires her up and motivates her to keep going.

The teenager is popularly known by her stage name Menime, which is her idol’s name backward (Eminem). She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Arts from Srinagar’s Women’s College.

She first began rapping in 2016, when there was a lot of political unrest due to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Ashraf said she was in grade IX at that time, and there were endless days of strike and curfew. Filled with sadness, she stumbled upon Eminem, who became a ray of inspiration and hope for her. The Grammy-award winner’s story touched her. Other than Eminem, she also admires Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, and Drake.

Mehak’s rise to the top began when her talent was recognized by RJ Sameen of Red FM radio channel. He was immediately impressed with her qualities and recommended her to a local band, AHM Dexterity.

However, she was heavily criticized by her family and those around her. Her parents thought it was ‘inappropriate for a girl to shout and sing like this’. But, Ashraf didn’t let all the negativity get in her way. Her parents have grown to accept her choices and eventually realized her love for the art form and are now her biggest support.

Listen to her heart-touching music here:

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