Fortitude Pukhtoon Core
Fortitude Pukhtoon Core
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Fortitude Pukhtoon Core is a Pushto rap trio from Peshawar, Pakistan, founded in 2005. The group consists of Mustafa Kamal (Party Wrecker), Shahkar Alam Khan (Shax), and Shumail Alam Khan (Webster Beats). They have featured in various concerts, shows, gigs, and conducted a number of interviews with popular media channels like BBC Urdu and Dawn news.
Shahkar Alam Khan and Shumail Alam Khan are brothers. Mustafa Kamal and Shumail, Shahkar were classmates and friends long before they started a hip hop trio. All three of them were born and raised in Peshawar, Pakistan. It was during their school that they became fascinated by the hip hop genre. In an interview with BBC Urdu they mentioned how difficult it was to win support from their families in the beginning but eventually they came to terms with it and started supporting them.
Being exposed to Hip Hop at an early age, they thought to form their own rap group. Fortitude Pukhtoon Core was formed in 2005 (initially they named it just ‘Fortitude’). They decided to name their alter egos Shax, Webster and Party Wrecker. During the early years they kept releasing audio tracks on then main platforms like Soundclick, Myspace, Reverb Nation and Orkut.
In 2008 they realized they need to produce their own music to keep up with the musical trends and not rely on anyone else. Thus Shumail started producing music becoming one of the early hip hop music producers of Pakistan. From school to college years they remained active with their sporadic releases.
After college was over Mustafa Kamal moved to Islamabad to pursue university. He started Bachelor's in Business. Subsequently, he was followed by Shahkar Alam Khan, to study Architecture. While Shumail Alam Khan remained in Peshawar who studied Electrical Engineering alongside making music.
In 2010 Mustafa decided to start rapping in their native tongue Pashto becoming the first ever Pashto rapper. It was to “represent Pukhtoon culture to the world through music”. Till that point Fortitude Pukhtoon Core had released all their tracks in English entirely. Mustafa and Shahkar shot their first music video titled "Pukhtoon Core" in 2011. Its audio was recorded on the spot by the camera mic and was not studio recorded but that did not stop it from becoming one of the major viral sensations of that year in Pakistan. It garnered Fortitude a loyal following. It served as an introduction to the Pashto rap. After this they decided to add Pukhtoon Core into their group's name. Next they released "Time Pass" which also had an overall positive response. It was their first song to have a run on national music channels. Following that in February 2012 they released "So Fly".
In summer of 2012 they launched their single "No Borders" which featured Alag the Band. It quickly became one of the biggest hip hop releases of Pakistan. It also helped Fortitude Pukhtoon Core to become one of the most well-known names in the local hip hop scene, which was also reflected by the following on their Facebook page. It remained in top ten lists of many national music channels for an extended period. It was even named by Express Tribune in the "Best of ’12: Memorable music by Pakistan”.
It was around this time that YouTube was banned in Pakistan thus hurting the growth of many local independent artists including Fortitude Pukhtoon Core. Because of the uncertainty looming, their next track release took a year. "Before I Fall" was released in September 2013 on Vimeo instead. It was their last music video for some time.
Throughout these years Fortitude Pukhtoon Core kept their presence alive by performing in many shows alongside and sharing the stage with some of the big names of the industry such as Bohemia, Bilal Khan, Noori, Soch, Call (band), Uzair Jaswal, and many more. They also appeared in numerous shows on radio, TV and newspapers articles promoting Pakistani hip hop.
After "Before I Fall" they took a hiatus of sorts. They shifted focus on their careers and study. Mustafa Kamal released his first solo track during this period featuring Adil Omar titled "Aorae" in 2014. Shortly after he moved to Australia which made it difficult to regularly make more music. They released an audio track ‘I Don’t Care’ in 2015. In 2016 Shumail (Webster Beats) released his first solo EP "Beat Paralysis". It contained five tracks one of which was Fortitude Pukhtoon Core's track "Streets Of Peshawar". It was recorded a couple of years back. The song's lyrical content was mainly about Peshawar's rampant street racing culture.
In September 2017 they released their first music video after four years ‘Lewani’. The song was about their care-free approach to life in general. It was positively received as their comeback track but subsequently they went silent for another year.
In April 2019 Fortitude Pukhtoon Core made a return and collaborated with Rap Demon for the first episode of Highzone sessions. The song was titled "Outrageous". The opening Pashto rap lines by Mustafa Kamal went viral on TikTok amongst Pukhtoon youth. They released a couple of more music videos in the coming months, named "Tavegum" and "Era Of Pushto". "Tavegum" was featured on BBC Asian Network. The latter had an animated music video which was the first of its kind in local hip hop. It also made waves on TikTok.
In February 2020 Fortitude Pukhtoon Core collaborated with Peshawar Zalmi for their anthem of 2020 edition of Pakistan Super League, producing first rap anthem for any team in the PSL. Its music video featured well-known names such as Hania Amir, Mehwish Hayat and also franchise's team players such as Daren Sammy, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Imam Ul Haq and Kamran Akmal. The anthem was an instant success receiving an overwhelmingly positive response. Some even favoring it more than the anthem of PSL 5 itself.
In a fast shifting nature of social media trends Fortitude Pukhtoon Core has recently started to keep up again. Coming back to releasing music videos and tracks on a more regular basis thus keeping their following active.
Musical styles and influences
Mustafa Kamal, Shahkar and Shumail Alam started connecting over Eminem, Black Eyed Peas and G Unit songs in the early days when they started writing their own songs but they have always maintained that they are up with the times so their influences are never the same for long. In a Dawn news article they are best summed up “His (Mustafa Kamal) style has always been to come on strong and intense. And that intensity is intermittently tempered by Shahkar’s slower, melodic delivery. The production, even more so than before, is impeccable. It should be — the band now has more than a decade of consistently producing and releasing music under its belt.” 
Mustafa Kamal is the Pashto rap face of the group, aggressive nature of delivery is his style of rapping. Shahkar Alam alternates between English and Pashto and has a signature style of fast rhyming. He also frequently does the melodic hooks of their songs. Shumail Alam occasionally raps but mostly produces music for the group which can range from hip hop and more recently to trap and EDM.
- 2011: " Pukhtoon Core"
- 2011: " Time Pass"
- 2012: "So Fly"
- 2012: "No Borders" (feat. Alag the Band)
- 2012: "No Disrespect"
- 2013: "Before I Fall" (feat. Bali Shah)
- 2015: "I Don’t Care"
- 2016: "Streets Of Peshawar"
- 2017: "Lewani"
- 2019: "Outrageous" (with Rap Demon and Farasat Anees)
- 2019: "Tavegum"
- 2019: "Era Of Pushto"
- 2020: "Zalmi Anthem 2020"
In the media
- "شمائل عالم خان اور شاہکار عالم خان کا فورٹیٹیوڈ پختون کور: پشتو میں ریپ موسیقی متعارف کرانے والی جوڑی". BBC. 6 June 2019.
- "Fortitude: Exclusive interview". Dawn News. 21 June 2012.
- "Fortitude Live on Generation Desi -FM91". 15 August 2019.
- "Fortitude G". 30 Jan 2008.
- "Party Wrecker rocks Pashto Rap with Pukhtoon Core Fortitude!".
- "FORTITUDE – PUKHTOON CORE". Pak Media Revolution. 21 May 2011.
- "Pushto Rap — FORTITUDE".
- "Pushto Rap – FORTITUDE (lyrics & translation)". 4 June 2011.
- "Pushto Rap — FORTITUDE". 22 April 2011.
- "Drive Thru - Fortitude Live in the Studio".
- "Hip Hop 2011 and the Big Dogs". Kool Muzone. 3 February 2012.
- "FORTITUDE – SO FLY (PASHTO RAP)". Desi Hiphop. 12 Feb 2012.
- "FORTITUDE FT. ALAG – NO BORDERS". Desi Hiphop. 9 July 2012.
- ""No Borders" by Fortitude Ft Alag: Official Music Video". Pakistani Ultimate Media. 4 July 2012.
- "Decline of Pashto Music". Pakistani Ultimate Media. 24 August 2012.
- "Best of '12: Memorable music of Pakistan". The Express Tribune. 29 December 2012.
- "Fortitude feat Bali Shah – Before I Fall". Kool Muzone. 15 September 2013.
- "Fortitude feat. Bali Shah – Before I Fall". Pakistani Ultimate Media.
- "31ST AUGUST'13 – UZAIR JASWAL – SOCH – FORTITUDE LIVE IN BHS, MULTAN". Pak Media Revolution. 25 August 2013.
- "Music Society – Rockin' Aces – (on Tuesday 20 September)". 19 September 2011.
- "CityFM89 celebrates World Music Day across the country (Pictures)". Kool Muzone. 3 July 2012.
- "CityFM89 to celebrate World Music Day in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad on June 22, 2012". Fashion Central.
- "Fortitude on The Drive Thru". 23 July 2011.
- "Aorae: Stand up and listen". Dawn News. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "SOUNDCHECK: THE RETURN OF PASHTO RAP". Dawn News. 20 October 2019.
- "FORTITUDE – I DON'T CARE". 2 August 2015.
- "FORTITUDE (Pukhtoon Core) – I Don't Care". 2 August 2015.
- "WEBSTER BEATS – BEAT PARALYSIS". Pak Media Revolution. 21 May 2016.
- "Streets Of Peshawar by FORTITUDE (Pukhtoon Core) – Audio Song". Pakistani Ultimate Media. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- "FORTITUDE – STREETS OF PESHAWAR". 18 May 2016.
- "STREETS OF PESHAWAR BY FORTITUDE". The Music Beats. 19 May 2016.
- "FORTITUDE – STREETS OF PESHAWAR". Pak Media Revolution. 18 May 2016.
- "original sound". TikTok. April 2019.
- "Bobby Friction". BBC Asian Network. 10 July 2019.
- "Pashto rap". TikTok. September 2019.
- "Peshawar Zalmi 2020 Anthem". 16 February 2020.
- "Peshawar Zalmi Most Unique And Pashto Hip Hop Anthem For PSL Five Released". Urdu Point. 17 February 2020.
- "This Year's Anthem Of Peshawar Zalmi Is A Pashto Rap Song, And The Zalmi Fans Are Giving Mixed Reactions". Pashto Scoop.
- "List of Pakistan Super League anthems". Wikipedia.
- "Watch: Peshawar Zalmi release new song and music video". Samaa. 18 February 2020.
- "PSL 2020: Peshawar Zalmi release star-studded anthem". Geo Super. 17 February 2020.
- "Peshawar Zalmi release official song for Pakistan Super League's fifth season". Arab News Pakistan.
- "Peshawar Zalmi release their anthem for PSL 5". Daily Times.
- "Zalmi by Fortitude – Pukhtoon Core ft Hania Amir and Mehwish Hayat". All Sports Pages.
- "Peshawar Zalmi Develops New Tradition: Gifts players 'Kaptaan' Sandals and More". Global Village Space. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
- "Zalmis fire up for PSL 2020 with Pashto rap". Propergaanda. 18 February 2020.
- "Peshawar Zalmi Release Their Anthem for PSL 5". Ace News. 18 February 2020.
- "Peshawar Zalmi PSL 2020 Anthem; Fortitude-Pukhtoon Core takes it to next level". Oye Yea!. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
- "Peshawar Zalmi's new anthem knocks out PSL's 'Tayyar Hain'". The Express Tribune. 20 February 2020.
- "Ao Baat Karain". 18 January 2020.
- "New era of #pukhtoon music, performed at ao baat karo session".
- "Fortitude Pukhtoon Core first Pashto Hip-Hop/Rap band".
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core facebook page
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core instagram page
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core youtube channel
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core twitter page
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core on Spotify
- Pukhtoon Core by FORTITUDE by FORTITUDE on SoundCloud
- Era of Pushto Explicit by Fortitude Pukhtoon Core on Amazon
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core - Gaana
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core on Apple Music
- Fortitude Pukhtoon Core - Era of Pushto - KKBOX
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