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Wrapped in Rap

The Punjabi rapper Bohemia would nod along every time the title song of Singh is Kinng,featuring Snoop Dogg,played at his home in California.

Bohemia,who has travelled from California to Bollywood with his signature Punjabi rap,brings his latest album to town

The Punjabi rapper Bohemia would nod along every time the title song of Singh is Kinng,featuring Snoop Dogg,played at his home in California. That was the only association Bohemia had with Bollywood until November last year. All that changed when actor Akshay Kumar called him and asked him to rap his way into tinsel town with a song in Chandni Chowk to China. “It was beyond my imagination when Akshay called me and said he wanted me to rap for him. So we met in Toronto and shared a great vibe. As we hung out more,he spoke about his life and his love for rap and hip-hop. That’s how Bollywood became a part of my musical journey,” says the 29-year-old Bohemia,who not only wrote,produced and rapped the title song in Chandni Chowk to China but has also gone for Hindi and Urdu rapping in I got the picture in Nagesh Kukunoor’s 8×10 Tasveer. In the latter,Bohemia even got Kumar to show off his singing skills. “He is a big follower of rap music and genuinely loves hip-hop. What he does is not gimmicky. When I was recording him,I realised how fast he was rapping the whole song,” says Bohemia,who is in town to launch his latest album Da Rap Star.

Bohemia was born Roger David in Lahore and at a very young age moved to California where he started learning the harmonium from his father. Being heavily influenced by Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz,Bohemia loved writing and rhyming words,but never thought he would turn a rapper. “I was a kid writing my poems on Californian streets and playing the keyboard at local parties. I grew up with ghazals and shayeri,while the kids around me were heavily into hip-hop and rap. But a personal loss of a friend in 2001 led me to stretch my poetry so that it almost sounded like a personal diary. And I think somewhere through the rap style of singing I was able to get others to relate to me,” says Bohemia,who also loves Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Bohemia released his first album,Vich Pardesan De,as an independent feature in 2002 and his second Pesa Nasha Pyar in 2006,but he says his latest 15-track compilation is definitely more mature. “This album is more grownup in its sound,and all the songs are written and produced by me.

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It’s a step forward for me as a musician,” says Bohemia.

He is performing today at DLF City Centre and will be playing at Elevate on April 16

First published on: 13-04-2009 at 01:05:52 am
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