Turkey: Banned rapper did not back down

18 June 2008

In 2000, when Turkish rapper Sultana launched her debut album with the song ‘Kuşu Kalkmaz’ its music video was immediately banned from tv. She then moved to the US, and disappeared from the lime light. After an eight-year hiatus Sultana is now re-entering the music stage.

Television channels were instructed that they would be suspended for a day if they aired the music video for ‘Kuşu Kalkmaz’, a single from Sultana’s debut album ‘Çerkez Kızı’, reported Çetin Cem Yilmaz in Turkish Daily News.

The title means ‘Your Bird Can’t Fly’ which can be translated into English as ‘Can’t get it up’ – Turkish slang suggesting that those men who harass women have erection problems. The music video caused controversy, and a rare level of criticism, as well as a legal battle. Most people failed to understand the ironic criticism underlying Sultana’s controversial lyrics, focusing instead on their explicit content.

Shocked and frustrated
After years spent in the United States, Sultana told Çetin Cem Yilmaz that she was frustrated by the heated debate around her song:

“It shocked me. Creativity, as we call it, happens with freedom. When there are restrictions or pressure, you cannot produce decent music. What can you create when your soul is distressed?”

It was, after all, just a three-minute rap song, Sultana argued.

“We have this thought crimes issue [in Turkey],” Sultana said. “I just can’t get how a person can be guilty of thinking.”






Turkish Daily News – 18 June 2008:

‘Naughty Turk rapper aims not to back down’


Video clip on YouTube

Sultana: ‘Kuşu Kalkmaz’



Lyrics of the banned song

‘Kuşu Kalkmaz’

I am a-kick it for my girl while you ask how
Cause people in the world are living so foul
I manifest a tune about this, aye:
‘Kuşu kalkmaz’ means: ‘your bird can’t fly’!
While wife and kids are locked up at home
And you are at the strip club
headed for the zone
Brizzle and ice sucked up all your stones
And by the time you get back home
your baby done grown
Cause you were stuck at the spot
like a fool to rasclast
Trying to get at what the new girl got
Not conscious of the family
Not acting like a father
When you’ve seen her in the light
Man, that’s your daughter


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