LOS ANGELES, Calif. — An artist is blazing her own trail through patriarchy in the world of music. She’s billed as the first female rapper from her home country of Pakistan.
Los Angeles-based music producer Gingger Shankar came across the mysterious rap artist online and was immediately intrigued.
“I was like, ‘Who is this person? She's amazing.’ [I] asked a bunch of people to find her and nobody could find her,” said Shankar.
Making it more of a challenge, the artist known as ‘Eva B’ lived half a world away in Karachi, Pakistan, and conceals her identity.
“Just [for] her safety, you know, you hear all these things that are going on and so many women speaking up in so many places. So, it's important to protect that for her,” said Shankar.
Eva B is a 20-something rapper taking the Pakistani music scene by storm.
“I chose Eva B because I took Eva from Eve, the first woman, and B stands for Baloch, a Pakistani province,” she said from her home in Karachi.
Due to cultural norms, her family asked her to rap with her identity concealed. Wearing a veil and headscarf has now become part of the mystique of her persona, a sort of secret identity.
“I actually really like it,” said Eva B. “I’ve gotten used to it – and this is how people recognize me now, and pretty much everyone in my extended family knows I’m Eva B.”
Eva B and Shankar have never met, but have been working together on music for the last two years.
Their first single together “Rozi” is an anthem for women’s empowerment.
“Her lyrics are explosive. Anything you listen to, she's talking about what it is to be a woman, what it is to be outside— the power of women’s empowerment,” said Shankar.
“There are very few Pakistani hip-hop artists or rappers who tackle women’s issues. I want to use my voice to not only address the struggles of women, but everyone who faces obstacles in society,” said Eva B.
The track recently made its U.S. debut on the first episode of Marvel Studios' groundbreaking new series “Ms. Marvel.”
The show features the world’s first Muslim American and Pakistani superhero.
“To have the first Pakistani woman rapper on the first Pakistani superhero, I mean, you can't find a more perfect place for the song to land,” Eva B said.
For Shankar, who is originally from India, and Eva B, contributing work to the pioneering show has been a milestone.
“There's no words to describe the cultural shift there. How many girls at this particular time, when you're seeing Islamophobia all over the world, to have a champion who's saying those things out loud. You can't even describe the feeling,” said Shankar.
Eva B is now finding major commercial success, something that’s earned her the respect of those who may have doubted her.
“That’s definitely been the reaction in my family,” said Eva B. “My mother is really happy, she was in tears. She told me, ‘You proved everyone wrong. I’m so proud of you.’”
Next up for the pair, they’ll be meeting in person in the U.S. for the first time later this summer, and they intend to produce even more music.