Lyari is the biggest city in Karachi, Pakistan with a population of 2.3 million people. The city is called 'mini Brazil' and During FIFA 2022, superfans of Lyari grabbed the attention of football fans around the world with their support for the Brazillian team. While cricket is the common sport all over Pakistan, In Lyari, football is king. There have also been many musicians and artists that hail from the city, but sadly it's infamous for its gang wars, violence and drugs.
Most of Lyari’s residents are ethnically Baloch and Sheedi and are a maginalised community in Pakistan. Baloch culture is defined in terms of its religious values and traditionally patriarchal society where women regularly face discrimination, assault, and murder in the name of honor. They have little space in the political, cultural, economic, or social fields. Despite these conditions, A young woman became the first Baloch artist to be featured on the digital billboard at Times Square in New York.
Hailing from Balochistan and raised in Lyari, Eva B is a veiled rapper who writers and performs in Balochi and Urdu.
Inspired by Eminem and Queen Latifah, the rapper started her career in 2014 by uploading freestyle raps on her YouTube channel. Even though her mother was supportive, her music was met with stern disapproval from her brother so she stopped. Until 2019 when she was approached by Patari, Pakistan’s largest Pakistani music streaming platform, to write and perform a song. Having no equipment, she recorded it on her phone. Her fans named her 'gully girl' after she released her track influenced by the Bollywood film, Gully Boy.
After the track gained popularity, the rapper's brother allowed her to perform under the condition that she keep her face veiled, which has now become a part of her persona as an artist. In 2020, she uploaded her tracks, Mukhtasir Batain, Quarantine Aunti, Qalam Bolega and Khusnawees on her channel and by 2021 she was performing with Pakistani singers like Muhammad Baloch, Anas Baloch and Ali Gul Pir.
She rose to international fame with her Coke Studio-hit track, Kana Yari and her song Rozi that was featured in Disney's Ms. Marvel last year. Eva B now has monthly listeners nearing 400,000 on Spotify, clocking more than 10 million streams on the audio streaming platform. She's titled as te first female rapper from Pakistan.
Eva B's hijab is a symbol of her will and her ability to transform the imposed restrictions and limitations of her culture into an artform that gives her strength to self-actualize and stand for women around the country. Her tracks tell the stories of violence and sexual assault against women in marginalised communities and how their resilience is tested in a society that has waged war against them.
The rapper is a common woman's hero and a testament to the power of dreams and creative ambition that are too powerful to be held down by the shackles of oppression and tradition.