A Punjabi singing sensation with fans across the globe, Sidhu Moose Wala made his electoral debut earlier this year as a Congress candidate from Punjab's Mansa in the state Assembly elections. Although his campaigns drew huge crowds – very much like his music concerts – the 27-year-old rapper lost to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Dr Vijay Singla with a margin of 63,323 votes.
On Sunday, 29 May, Moose Wala was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Jawaharke village of Mansa district – a day after Punjab Police curtailed his security as part of the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government's crackdown on VIP culture.
A turban-wearing Sikh who had moved to Brampton, Canada after his graduation, Moose Wala returned to India late last year when he joined the Congress to make his political debut.
Although his music career spanned only three years, he was a popular face of Punjabi music with more than 70 lakh Instagram followers, 1.93 lakh followers on Twitter, and 1.07 crore subscribers on YouTube.
He was mired in controversies for allegedly promoting gun culture through his songs – as well as boasting about the court cases against him.
A Singer and Rapper
Born Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu to a Sikh family in a village called Moosa, in Mansa, Punjab, Moose Wala grew up to study Electrical Engineer at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana.
His father was in the army. His mother Charan Kaur won the sarpanch election in their village in December 2018. Moose Wala was believed to have actively campaigned for his mother.
Moose Wala leapt to fame in 2017 with his track ‘So High’. In 2018, his debut album at its peak ranked at 66 at the Billboard Canadian Albums Chart. In 2020, he was named by The Guardian as among the ’50 new artists for 2020’.
“South Asian music rarely crosses over into the UK charts, but Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala managed it in October with blockbuster track 47, flanked by British rappers Mist and Stefflon Don,” The Guardian wrote about Moose Wala.
"Even if he struggles in the bhangra-resistent quarters of the UK, it won’t be down to his voice, which is delicately mellifluous even with its power maxed out," the newspaper further noted.
Tracks from Moose Wala’s 2021 release Moosetape charted globally as well. Besides music, Moose Wala was associated with Punjabi cinema.
Fresh Controversy Over His Last Song
Moose Wala had at least four cases against him – two of which were related to flaunting guns in his songs. Two of Moose Wala’s viral videos showed him training to use an AK-47. In one, he was with five police officers while, in the other, he seemed to be using a private pistol.
Moose Wala was booked under two sections of the Arms Act. According to NDTV, Moose Wala was also accused of glorifying caste divides in his videos. In an interview to News18 Punjab, he had alleged that he was being targeted by news channels and some lawyers.
He was a bitter rival of singer Karan Aujla, with both taking pot shots at each other through their songs.
After the loss in Assembly election, he talked about his defeat in his latest song 'Scapegoat' on YouTube. As he called out the 'double standards' of the voters, the song created a fresh row.
His last song, released two weeks ago, was 'The Last Ride'.