Duana D’silva

Rapper Big Deal (Samir Mohanty) has gained attention over the years for his rapping style and lyrical creations. Rap is often said to be a form of lyrical poetry, and Big Deal is a poet who rhymes tales from his own life and the many prejudices he has faced for being of Indian-Japanese descent. From, Are you Indian? to Call me Corona, Big Deal seeks to highlight racial injustice with his new single – I’m a Chinkey. Featuring Mizoram rapper G’nie (Zonunmawia Fanai), the track digs into the derogatory slang by turning the offensive into a term that Asians should wear as a badge of honour. Combined with a music video featuring Northeasterners facing prejudices in everyday situations, the hook ‘I’m a chinkey’ repeats as a form of pledge by the rapper, stating how the term is no longer an anger-inducing reaction but rather, an armour to fight injustice by realising how we are all humans with the same flesh and bone.

Seeking to create a cultural zeitgeist for Northeasterners and Asians around the world, the song expands itself with lyrics and rhymes that present ownership of their identity and a call to colour the word with a positive connotation. With production handled by Big Deal, the track is a classic desi beat with elements of the sitar and tablacreating a nuanced intro that reverberates at the start with the verse – Mujhe kabhi bole chinky, aur kabhi bole momo...

The lyrics go on to convey the fact that one should not be judged, and a deeper meaning using simple words such as “There is generational racism in their DNA/People want their freedom, they are screaming ‘Hume Jeene De’/” to G’nie’s quick rap announcing to rise above the term and not let it be a term to demean with lines like “….Blend in or stand out, I’m resilient/Indian but a global citizen/A woke millennial/A poet speaking to the souls of listeners  like a psychic medium.”

Rapper Big Deal and G’nie come across as strong, resilient voices. The power of songs has been seen time and time again in our world. From John Lennon’s Imagineto Michael Jackson’s Thriller, songs have had the power to create a movement and effect social change. Highlighting the plight faced by Northeastern communities across India and Asians around the world as well, the song represents not only what the rapper has faced, but the many stories that find a kinship in his lyrics.

A true poet in his own right, the song comes after the success of the previous track, Shahrukh Khan Flow that was dedicated to the Bollywood actor who he looked up to while growing up. The rapper is gearing up to release his full-length album soon.