Music to the ears – The New Indian Express


Express press service

BENGALURU: Bengaluru witnessed Tanglish (mix of Tamil and English) rapping recently when first-generation musician Raja Ahamed, who goes by his stage name Yung Raja, performed live at RCB Bar and Cafe. This was part of the international artists flagship program called 560001.

Known for his most popular songs Mustafa and The Dance, the rapper and songwriter was even recently mentioned on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “To be honest, I have no idea how the Fallon thing happened. It was a completely random coincidence. Someone on his team picked up my song and decided to put it on the show That said, it was very trippy and dreamlike, to say the least,” Raja says.

While on tour in India since last month, the artist performed in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. “Going from town to town and connecting with people, getting a sense of their vibes and culture has been very eye-opening,” says Raja, who during the pandemic has tried his hand at different things, including selling dosae tacos and even launch her own clothing line.

Although he grew up in Singapore, he has always remained rooted in its culture. His experience of being a first generation Singaporean has been combined with pure traditional South Indian influences from his family which includes his sisters and parents. “We speak Tamil, eat South Indian and follow a similar way of life,” he says, adding, “Having this duality grow has really helped lay the foundation for Indian culture. It must have never been forced, as I watch my friends grow up who are second or fourth generation Singaporean Indians – they have no connection. I think that’s where my story differs.

In this context, Raja wants to see more South Asian and Southeast Asian hip-hop. In his words, “I can’t wait for us to have festivals that are specific to South Asia, where the performance shows up and everyone is connected. “Imagine,” Raja continues, “…a day when any Indian artist can travel to Cambodia and immediately connect with the best. Because we are all fighting for the same thing. We are fighting all to put Southeast Asian rap on the map. If I could change one thing, I’d love to get us all together.


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