Indo-Canadian rapper Horsepowar is hooked to retro-Bollywood
Meet Jasleen Powar
Two EPs and a viral music video old, 24-year-old rapper Jasleen Powar has done better than well for herself. After her family-video-turned-music-video ‘Hi Everybody’ went viral some months ago, the rapper, who goes by the moniker Horsepowar, has a schedule heaped with gigs and buckets of love from her diasporic fanbase.
A typical Horsepowar song features everything she loves, desires and is striving for. Her third EP Out2Lunch, which came out in February, is introspective and forthright, capturing an emotional arc best suited to drunken epiphanies. “I was finishing the last semester of my degree, in love, hustling the rap game but trying to maintain the desi-girl family life that I live,” she says, of the time she was writing it.
Having grown up in Canada, and raised to be close to her roots, Powar’s music also has a strong third-culture-kid flavour. Like her unabashed love for Bollywood. The R&B-esque ‘Down Rodeo With A Shotgun’ samples ‘Kehna Hi Kya’, and her rap single ‘Queen’ mashed with ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ put her on all artist-to-watch lists last year. “I love classic SRK films. Bollywood is my hood, my escape. I dig the ‘90s to early aughties content because that’s what I grew up to.”
Powar first turned to Spoken Word and rap to cope with her older brother’s death 10 years ago, and is not afraid to get personal. Her performances are known to be exuberant, visceral and discomfitingly honest. “I get the courage to be myself because I don’t know how to not be myself.”
Photograph: HYFN New York