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Indian rapper Sidhu Moose Wala was gunned down while driving his car in the Punjab district of Mana over the weekend, authorities announced on Monday (May 30). The death of Wala, born Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, is believed to be a result of a gang-related shooting and comes after a string of controversial incidents involving the 28-year-old rapper. Incorporating elements of Hip-Hop style and culture into his artistry, Wala initially gained traction as an artist after scoring his first hit in 2017, building a stronghold for his music in countries including the United Kingdom and Canada.
However, Wala garnered scrutiny for his lyrical content, as he was charged by officials under India’s Arms Act after being accused of promoting gun violence in one of his songs. He was also one of 400 people to have his security cover pulled due to Indian officials’ attempts to clamp down on VIP culture within the country. In spite of his tension with authorities, Wala inserted himself in political matters throughout his career, joining India’s Congress Party and even making a bid, albeit unsuccessful, in his state’s assembly elections.
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Punjab’s chief minister Bhagwant Mann promised that “no culprit will be spared” in the killing of Wala, while senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi paid his respects to his fellow party member in a post on social media. “Deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of promising Congress leader and talented artist,” Gandhi said of Wala, whose most recent song, eerily titled “The Last Ride,” was released just weeks prior to his death.