A few highlights from Bhangra and Bollywood’s brief encounter with Hip Hop in the early Noughties:
>> Missy Elliot – ‘Get Ur Freak On’
You have to hand it to Missy and Timbs for being first out the blocks, with this absolute monster of a track. A track that actually INTERPRETS Asian sounds into an urban template rather than just SAMPLING them in- Next Generation producers take careful note of that distinction!!
>> Panjabi MC feat. Jay-Z – Beware (Mundian To Bach Ke)
So let’s get our history right… First There was the Night Rider theme tune. Then Busta Rhymes used the sample on ‘Turn It Up/Fire It Up‘. Then Punjabi MC put the sample under Labh Janjua’s ‘Mundian To Bach Ke‘ and single handedly put urban Asian music on the world map. And last (by several years) but not least J-Hova himself (not to be confused with the actual Jehova) jumped on the galloping bandwagon and crowned the whole enterprise.
How do you top that?!
>> Erick Sermon Feat. Redman – ‘React’
Erick Sermon and Redman drop a load of gangsta bollocks about ‘Scooping up an Arabic chick’ over a Hindi sample that they clearly do not understand. ‘Whatever she said then I’m that’… only what she said was actually some really poignant stuff about contemplating suicide. Not that anyone involved with this track gave a shit!
>> Truth Hurts – ‘Addictive’
A genre classic, this has all the elements: Dusty old Hindi sample, black girls in bindis, gangsta lyrics from The Soul Brother himself Rakim… It’s a lovely tune, but by this point in late 2002 the buzz around the Asian Hip Hop crossover was starting to die down…