Rapper Raja Kumari on her brand new EP
And hosting a radio show for the first time
BY Manali Shah | February 28th, 2019
It’s been two years since Raja Kumari moved to Mumbai from her hometown, Los Angeles, and her new EP, Bloodline, is born from her experiences in a new country. “Living in India for the last two years has taught me so much about myself. It gave me more strength than I’ve ever imagined. Bloodline is a collection of my battle anthems written from my experience as an American in India,” she says.
The rapper recently hosted Apple Music’s The New India special on Beats 1, where she spoke to guests like Nucleya, Divine and Raftaar, about India’s hip-hop scene. “Nucleya is one of my favourite producers in India and has influenced me (and so many other artists), and found a way to bring the sounds of the street to the masses. I spoke to him about incorporating hip-hop into his music and what he thought about the future of Indian hip-hop,” she says. On the show, you’ll also hear Raftaar and Raja Kumari talk about the emergence of battle rap in India, and how that’s an important part of hip hop. “We discussed how lyrics and wordplay really make an emcee,” she says.
She also curated a playlist that featured a new crop of young artists.
Hosting a show for the first time, the musician has come to the realisation that she absolutely loves talking on the radio. “I love being able to have a platform to bring my culture’s music to more people, and see their reaction. A few people tweeted back saying, ‘Thank you for putting me on to this new song’, so I know we’re making a difference through music. I just want to be a curator of the culture. Hearing it live in 81 countries was a life-changing moment for me,” she says.
With the release of Gully Boy, the genres of hip-hop and rap have received a shot in the arm. The focus on regional rap has also increased in the recent past. “Now that hip hop has been introduced to the mainstream, it gives people the platform to express themselves in their native tongue. As a Telugu, I’m excited about the music coming out of the south,” she says.
Tune in to The New India here.