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Tripura rapper likes songs on issues such as discrimination and racism

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Guwahati: Borkung Hrangkhawl, son of a politician who comes from northeastern state Tripura dislikes alcohol, women and parties when it comes to rapping instead he likes songs that highlight issues like discrimination and racism that is commonly faced by people of the region.

“Singing about clubs, alcohol and ladies are part of rapping, but they are not my taste. Rapping is a gift from god that I want to use in making a difference,” Borkung said here on the sidelines of the second edition of Rongali, Assam’s destination, culture and harmony festival.

The son of Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, president of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura, finds the genre interesting as he believes “you can literally tell a story through a rap song”.

“Being from Tripura, I felt like I have lots of things to say. My father is a politician. I got inspired by him because he has been working for the welfare of tribal people in Tripura. So, I picked up rapping to tell the stories of my life, people in Tripura and others around it,” said Borkung.

“Tribal people’s rights in Tripura are being neglected for some reason, probably because of the population ratio… We are declining. Other people have come in and settled there. It’s not that I want to chase away others. We just want our rights as Tripuris. I don’t want to promote violence or anything against humanity. I want to promote equality and peace,” added the 29-year-old.

Talking about violence, the Delhi University alumnus, who began his musical voyage with the hip-hop band DropSquad over five years ago, once got stabbed while strolling in a park in the capital.

“I think it was 2006…I was poked in my chest with a small knife. They poked me three to four times, but it didn’t go in by god’s grace. I asked them why they tried to do it. They said it’s their job. I told them there is no use in doing all this. They thought I was from Nepal.

“Later, they apologised and got me a Bandaid. I could have died. I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. It was a bad experience,” he said.

Didn’t he feel like returning to his hometown after the incident or on reading about racist attacks on the northeast people in the capital?

“I felt like that at one point in time. But I thought why we should run away. We are Indians. I feel that there is a need to bridge the gap.

“Instead of always going to the usual vacation spots in India, they (people from other regions) can go to Guwahati, Tripura or Nagaland. The only thing is that they don’t understand our culture. That’s the only problem. Otherwise, they are also good human beings,” he said.

Borkung, who has delivered hits like “The roots (Chini Haa)”, “Never give up” and “The journey”, likes to rap in English as he thinks the language has a greater impact.

“I am more fluent in English. I thought it would be more impactful. Though I did sing ‘The journey’ in Hindi as well,” he said.

Is he open to Bollywood?

“If an opportunity comes, I will consider it… Not so commercial, though. I would like to work on films like ‘Barfi!’ as it’s different. I don’t watch movies for ‘masala’ sake,” said the rapper, who has performed in Chennai, Delhi, Mizoram, Shillong and more.

As of now, he is looking forward to being part of a documentary.

“We are doing a documentary with a few people from Mumbai. I can’t reveal much. They want to make a documentary on people who make protest songs. I am excited about it,” he said.(IANS)(Image-youtube)

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Grammy Nominee Raja Kumari Talks About Bollywood Music

Grammy-nominated Indian-American songwriter Raja Kumari, also a rapper, desires her music -- that she uses as a bridge between the East and West

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Raja Kumari is a very famous songwriter who writes for American singers. IANS

Grammy-nominated Indian-American songwriter Raja Kumari, also a rapper, desires her music — that she uses as a bridge between the East and West — to reach far and wide. And so, she wants to get involved in Bollywood as it has a “great impact” on the world.

The California-based artiste with roots in Andhra Pradesh has been performing in India, appearing on reality shows and also teaming up with Indian talent for songs.

American music scene is different from India’s. VOA

What else is she planning to explore in India?

“I want to use my time in India wisely and explore the opportunities and try something new. I want to do more stuff in Hindi films. It (Bollywood) has such a great impact on the entire world. The idea that something I write can reach so many more people, that’s exciting for me as a musician,” Kumari told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

The music scene in India is “completely different” from that in the US.

“In India everything is Bollywood music. It is the most popular genre. The genre that we are making (in the US) is a new thing here… the independent music

Also Read: Music lessons boost children’s memory and grades

“In America, there isn’t much opportunity for Indian singers in mainstream music. It is something that we are trying to change,” said the artiste, who was a celebrity guest in Amazon Prime Video’s Unscripted Original, “The Remix” where she collaborated with contestants Yash and Kryll to recreate Bollywood number “Ankhiyon se goli marein”.

The “City slums” hitmaker also got to fulfil her dream of visiting Himachal Pradesh, popular for its scenic beauty.

“For the show ‘Lockdown’, (singer-composer) Kailash Kher and I had to remix two songs in our style and shoot the music video. It was completely crazy. I was lucky to have a partner like Kailashji. He made it really easy for me and enjoyable. We shot in Himachal Pradesh. That was a dream of mine to go and spend time there. It was amazing,” said Kumari.

“Lockdown”, a ZEE5 project, is a series where each episode brings together a celebrated Bollywood singer with a YouTube singing sensation. Locked in one location for a day, these musicians collaborate to recreate two songs.

Kailash Kher is one of India’s most famous singers.

The musical reality show will also feature artistes like Raftaar, Shekhar Ravjiani, Gippy Grewal, Shirley Setia, Darshan Rawal, Arjun Kanungo and Jonita Gandhi.

So is this a competition show?

“We are not competing. We are just participating in the opportunity. These are collaborations that normally wouldn’t happen. Every episode is a challenge,” she said.

“The show has been shot all over India rather than just in a Mumbai studio. It’s a cool way to show the beauty of our country,” she added.

Without sharing much about the two songs that she worked on, the fan of Indian classical and fusion music said: “I sang in Sanskrit. It was my first time ever. That was a big challenge for me. So, it was awesome.”

She had previously collaborated with notable artistes like Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea and Fifth Harmony.

Is she writing for more American or global singers?

“I am working on my own album. I will be releasing it this summer. I have a lot of songs which I have been doing mostly for my album,” said Kumari.

But she doesn’t want to give up songwriting.

“As a songwriter, it is amazing to be able to put other people’s emotions (into a song) and to help them. But as a performer, rapper and singer, there is nothing like being on the stage and connecting with people and getting a chance to share music with the world. I couldn’t let one go for the other,” she said. IANS