There’s been a solid amount of coverage on the Bangladeshi born hip hop artist Anik Khan. If you ask me, not enough coverage. We’d love to shine a little more light on the Queens raised rapper, but all he wants to do is simply make good music. Respect. But hey, one hip hop lover to another, there’s nothing wrong picking the brain of a creative force who represents two completely different worlds. He took the time to answer a few answers we’ve been itching to ask.
We're seeing a significant rise in Muslim Americans, and South Asians in general, in mainstream media producing quality on TV and feature films, like Hasan Minhaj and the already established Aziz Ansari. Unfortunately, we don't see the same level of effect in the music scene. Do you believe artists like you can create that same impact in today's pop culture?
I'm here to create the best music I can and not conform to what most of the music industry believes I should be doing. I do think there is a shift of artists making quality music from the culture and excited to see where things lead. If that means, in time, I can make an impact then dope, but I'm not here to try to create anything besides a great song.
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Photo: Alyzeh Ashraff[/caption]
The aforementioned men also have an incredible sense of style. And style has plenty to do with expressing your personality and influences through many different looks. How would you describe your personal style, where do you get your influence?
My influence comes from my father's closet and what I've been able to afford. I'm a low-income house kid, we worked with what we had and made it into something. My style consists of mixing my two worlds - traditional with contemporary. Kurta's with Air Max's, bombers with chappals, and to never forget my jewellery. They are probably the only things on my body that never come off.
I'm sure we've all had our drastic evolution in style from when we were young, how much has yours changed?
The older I got the more my style became more rounded. I became more sensible, and my style followed the same sensibility. Never stopped rockin' tall tees though, ha!
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Photo: Akhil Sesh[/caption]
Just as in style, the culture around us has changed. It's amazing how a couple of years can change the way we approach things. How do you see the current state of Hip Hop compared to how we saw it growing up from the late 80s through the 90s? Where do you see it going?
I think Hip Hop is the most influential genre in the world. I believe it's grown since the 80s and 90s unimaginably, from Hollis, Queens with Run DMC to having a person like me from a third world country, like Bangladesh, be able to relate and use it as a tool and recourse for myself. I believe it's only going to get bigger as it continues to transcend into high fashion, pop culture, etc.
In having to balance the modern day adaptations and the multi-cultural environment you grew up in, what are your strengths and weaknesses. How adaptive is your sound and how you flow?
I think my strengths are all the cultures that I grew up around. It really moulded my character and how much I value the versatility within my music. I don't know if I would call anything in my artistry a weakness but more a process, whether I'm doing fairly well in that process or still have room to grow. With that being said, there are many parts of my artistry that has room to grow - from song writing to becoming stronger as a vocalist.
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On the topic of adapting, you recently mentioned on the Beats 1 Radio interview with Ebro how you had to hold back your project release because of the current political situation in the States. How frustrating is that, knowing that you grew up in a melting pot?
It wasn't necessarily frustrating. It was more nerve wrecking, knowing that I took a chance and put out something that wasn't written as a lead single. "Columbus" is a very deep cut, a dark yet uplifting record that I wrote to close the project out. I think it was the right thing to do with the political climate and it affecting me directly as it did.
I was also born in Dhaka, but grew up in Southern California, very similar to your upbringing in Queens. There are things that you will never forget. Who or what introduced you to rap or Hip Hop. When were you first exposed to the genre and culture?
That's super dope, I'd be interested in knowing what the experience was like being raised Bengali on the west coast! My first introduction to hip hop was through my older sister. She came home with one of her jeans rolled up like LL Cool J, she taught me how to 'get jiggy with it' - that record was huge then. It was so infectious that I ended up buying my first cassette tape which was DMX’s It's Dark and Hell Is Hot.
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Photo: Tyler Mitchell[/caption]
You also mentioned in the same Beats interview that you don’t do features, but are there artists you would one day love to work with? Possibly be featured in their tracks?
There's a ton of people I'd like to work with, more producers than anything else, but if I had to pick some features it would be Frank Ocean, Jai Paul, Kendrick Lamar, Damian Marley, also, any 90's rapper ever. Just to name a few, ha!
Finally, who is your current Top 5? And who is your all-time Top 5?
Aw man, this one is always tricky. I don't really have a top 5 right now. Although I do have some projects that have been my favourite recently: Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Wizkid, Anderson Paak, Hiatus Kaiyote.
All time is even tougher but people I consider very dear to my heart are: Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, Bill Withers, Nas/Jay-Z (They're a package deal for me), and AR Rahman.