Indian police are investigating the murder of a popular Punjabi rapper, who mixed hip-hop, rap and folk music, a day after he was fatally shot, officials said on Monday.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, also known worldwide by his stage name Sidhu Moose Wala, was killed on Sunday evening while driving his car in Mansa, a district of Punjab state in northern India . Moose Wala, 28, was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Senior Punjab state police officer VK Bhawra said the initial investigation revealed the murder was a gang rivalry.
The day before the attack, the Punjab government had stripped security blankets from more than 400 people, including Moose Wala, in a bid to crack down on VIP culture, local media reported.
Moose Wala started out as a songwriter before a hit song in 2017 propelled his singing career, making him well known among the Indian and Punjabi diaspora in countries like the UK and Canada.
Most of his singles have an English title even though the songs were mostly sung in Punjabi. His glossy music videos were best known for their rap lyrics and often focused on macho culture. His 2018 debut album landed on Canada’s Billboard Albums chart.
Moose Wala was a controversial figure, in part because of his lyrical style. In 2020, police charged him under India’s Weapons Act for allegedly promoting gun culture in one of his songs.
His latest track, “The Last Ride”, was released earlier this month.
The rapper joined the Indian Congress Party last year and ran unsuccessfully in the state assembly elections.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said “no culprit will be spared” and was deeply shocked and saddened by the murder.
Rahul Gandhi, a senior congressman, took to Twitter to express his condolences over the murder.
“Deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of a promising congressional leader and talented entertainer,” he said.
-The Associated Press