He started his career as a rapper with his group Deshi MCs nearly a decade ago. With explicit language and style Deshi MCs' lyrics generated some outrage, particularly amongst the elderly citizens. Skibkhan, Nevertheless, gained a cult following, which mostly consists of young adults and school going youth. This week the man himself sat down with Showtime for an interview.
When you started rapping there rap music was unknown in the mainstream. How did you get into hip hop music?
My family was very enthusiastic about music; you can say my upbringings were culturally nourished. As a matter of fact, when I was a kid, we had a set of Akai speakers, a tabla and a harmonium at my house. I learned to play a bit of those classical instruments and played them for a short while. This was before iPods and Mp3 players. Walkmans and cassette tapes were the thing back then. And I used to listen to some western songs, like Limp Bizkit, Eminem, and the greats like Tupac and Biggie. So around that time I started building some interest about rapping. Then later, I saw Eminem in 8 Miles and it motivated me more. After that I started following an online forum, curated by the members of Stoic Bliss. And this was before Facebook. In that forum I came across a lot of Bengali hip hop enthusiasts, who were mostly expats. But as time passed by, I met SHAQ, XPLOSIVE, and MC MUGZ and gradually formed Deshi Mcs.
You started off with gangsta rap which had graphic contents, and now you make songs which are more socially aware with cleaner language. Why this radical shift in tone?
Gangsta rap was a huge influence back then and I talked about what I saw. We (Deshi MCs) did whatever we felt like and I enjoyed it. Then after a while I realised that there were some kids following me. And as a human being I wanted to spread a more positive message, I still do. On the other hand I keep experimenting with music, every now and then. I’ve worked with Fuad bhai and Mila in the past, which was a very good gig for me. And recently I worked with Shahrar Nizam on a track called, Deshi. To be frank, I enjoyed working with them all, but none of those songs are closer to my heart than my old single, “Keno Ei Poth Nile”. Till this day I think that was probably my rawest work. When I do a song, the songwriting is the most important part of my art. And since I don’t make releases that often, I try to make every thing count. For instance, in my most recent single, “Baagher Bachcha”, I tried to aware the masses about my country’s problem in a benevolent way.
Do you have any upcoming songs that are politically motivated, with anti-establishment sentiments?
I want to make it very clear- I am NOT anti-establishment, I simply want accountability and transparency. I want things to be right. I don’t want to put those labels on me. As an artist I try to give people a little joy and still make them think about our problems. And yes I have some things coming out very soon, and this is the first time I am letting any newspaper know about it first-hand. I am making a song titled “Shob Chup,” which is filled with historical and economic references of our nation and its heritage. I haven’t decided the exact date of release, but it will be soon. I hope it will be thought-provoking for my listeners. It will be a treat I hope. So keep your ears open.