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‘Hip Hop is a culture’
Debarati Palit Singh | Friday, 19 May 2017 AT 08:54 AM IST
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Says Bohemia, the creator of Punjabi rap, who along with J Hind, is promoting their latest single Purana Wala

Hip hop is a culture and not music. Rap is the music that represents the culture,” says rapper Bohemia, known to be the pioneer of desi hip hop and rap. Bohemia, along with musician J Hind, is promoting his new song Purana Wala on MTV Spoken Word.

Talking about the origin of hip hop, the rapper says, “The reason so many cultures — that of Blacks, Mexican, Whites, Japanese — have come together in California is because they can communicate through hip hop. Years back, hip hop started in the ghettos where the voices of the underprivileged were not heard. They would communicate through rapping. It’s a form of expression.”

Talking about working on Purana Wala, he says that it’s for the fans and calls it special. “We have such loyal and hardcore fans who sport our logo on their bodies and T-shirts. The track is kind of celebrating with the fans for 10 years. It was just an idea that came to us and we worked on it in the studio,” he says, adding, “The song is like coming back to the old music and celebrating everything.”

The rapper and J Hind have been collaborating since the beginning and have worked on some memorable tracks like Da Rap Star, Thousand Thoughts among others. So how does their collaboration work, we ask. Says J Hind, “We don’t like each other. I can run faster and am a better cook (laughs). Jokes apart, we are great friends first and have a long friendship. We have not only collaborated in music but in business too.”

To this, Bohemia adds, “We are actually family and have practically grown up with each other. We run our music label Kali Denali Music and love doing music. When we are together, we are the biggest force and undefeated.”

While Bohemia raps in Punjabi, J Hind does it in English.  

So do they have arguments while working on a track? “Not always. If he doesn’t agree, I get mad. But the fact is that no one is scared of me, including my nieces and nephews. I tell them something angrily and they laugh,” says Bohemia. On a serious note, J Hind says, “Honestly, it’s an honour be around him. When he opens his mouth, magic comes out. I am always in awe of him. We have been together for a long time. We have worked on several tracks together.”

Rap in India
Rap in India is more about style and less about content. Musicians only talk about girls, cars, alcohol etc. Bohemia says that it goes back to the inspiration of the generation. “They are inspired by these things. When we started off, we had no one to look up to. Our inspiration was poetry, ghazals and qawalis. Mirza Ghalib inspired us a lot. But sadly, today rapping is more about cars, jewellery, clothes and girls. We want to inspire people and therefore a lot of times, we feel the pressure,” says Bohemia.
Also why does the music composed by different composers sound the same, we wonder. “They are not spending enough time in the studio which J and I did. There’s no shortcut here, you have to spend enough time with music. I hope these musicians become successful but actually what they are doing is neither rap nor hip hop because hip hop is never about cars or clothes.”
According to Bohemia, life is all about giving back and that’s the motto of their music label. “Music is not about becoming legends. We are supporting new artists and producing their music. We are just giving it back to society.  And we are very excited about that.”

Catch Purana Wala, on MTV!

Follow the writer on Twitter @DebaratiPalitSi

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