Rap & Roll

What up to all the ladies hanging out in Mumbai with Ferraris,Bugattis and Maseratis,raps American rapper Snoop Dogg wearing a Sikh turban and an ornate long coat in a video of the title song of Singh is Kinng.

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published:March 14, 2009 2:34 am

Timbaland artists Amar,Jim Beanz and Rebel are considering Bollywood as their next pit-stop

What up to all the ladies hanging out in Mumbai with Ferraris,Bugattis and Maseratis,raps American rapper Snoop Dogg wearing a Sikh turban and an ornate long coat in a video of the title song of Singh is Kinng. The song not only introduced mainstream hip-hop to mainstream Bollywood,but its success has opened doors to other hip-hoppers from around the world. The latest to make it to India are Timbaland-promoted artists,Amar,Jim Beanz and Rebel,who performed in Mumbai this week. “Earlier it was tough luck to hear Indian lyrics on a mainstream radio station in the West. These days this is what sells,” feels Amar,who features in the upcoming new Timbaland album Shock Value 2,and is also coming up with her Indo-urban pop album Show It Off.

Their association with Timbaland,internationally the biggest hip-hop producer au courant,started a few years ago. “We were playing at a night club in Miami.

After the performance,Timbaland came up to us and asked us to join him,” says songwriter/ vocal producer Beanz who then co-produced for the likes of Shakira,Britney Spears and Nelly Furtado. “Currently,I’m co-producing Amar’s album. But I’m keen to work with other Indian artists and Mumbai seems to be the best place to find good talent. After all,both Bollywood music and hip-hop traditionally involve a lot of rhythm and beats.”

Rebel too is keen on doing Bollywood projects. “Lots of hip-hop tracks sample Indian music,and a lot of their music sounds like it was influenced by hip-hop,especially after Snoop Dogg topped the popularity charts last year. But my dream is to picturise a hip-hop number on Shah Rukh Khan,” says a rapper from the boy-band.

Amar,who has worked with the likes of Nitin Sawhney and Talvin Singh,has already taken the plunge. She is now recording a couple of songs with Sonu Nigam in Hindi. “Although he is known for his classical renditions,he lends himself to different genres,” says Amar,whose provocative lyrics and classic style of singing were noticed in Timbaland’s sensational single Bombay and Nelly Furtado’s chart-busting remix,Maneater.

For decades western musicians have come to India for inspiration and a new sound for decades. But finding an enthusiastic audience among the country’s billion-plus population has not always been easy for modern musicians.

“But we felt welcome. Probably the tide has changed after more exposure to world music,” feels Rebel who performed along with Beanz and Amar at Redlight,Kala Ghoda. “The crowd is in tune with world music. They seem to know the difference between jazz and hip-hop,” says Beanz,who now promises to make frequent visits to India.

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