Desi rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh’s much-hyped new single, Satan, was released on 12.12.12. The video by his group Mafia Mundeer — showing the rapper in an evil avatar controlling his slaves using a whip — was put up on YouTube on Tuesday, and had garnered over 27,000 hits till the time of going to press.
Popular in the northern belt of the country for a few years now, singer-rapper Honey Singh hit the rest of unsuspecting India almost like an explosion. He’s had a series of hits this year such as ‘Angreji beat’ (Cocktail) and ‘Lonely lonely’ (Khiladi 786) among others. And now he is gearing up to release his new single, ‘Satan’, at a concert in the city tomorrow. We chat with him about his rise to stardom and upcoming projects.
This year seems to have been great for you, with multiple Bollywood songs releasing.
Honey: It’s been fantastic. But honestly, I never wanted to get into Bollywood. It’s tough because you have to work according to someone else’s brief. Yahan ka mahol alag hai (the atmosphere here is different.) I’m happy working on my own independent songs. But in the past few months, a lot of people have approached me for playback singing. I’m doing a song each in Anurag Kashyap and Abhinav Kashyap’s movies.
A lot of us are curious about your music roots. How did you start?
Honey: I’m originally from Hoshiarpur, Punjab. I started out as a music producer and worked for many local artistes. Log paise de dete the rap karne ke liye aur video mein appear hone ke liye (I’d earn money by featuring as a rapper in other artistes’ videos). Then one day, I thought, why not make my own album? Maine logon se khoob paise udhar leke pehla video banaya (I borrowed a lot of money to fund my first video) because I wanted it to be (of) international quality. With my new single, gore bhi dekhenge ki India se ek international artiste hai (now, people from around the globe will acknowledge me).
Does your popularity surprise you now?
Honey: When Anirudh and Dhanush approached me for a song for their Tamil film, I asked them if people down south even knew me! Also, at a Durga Puja event in Kolkata this year, I was amazed to see people singing along my songs.
What projects are you working on currently?
Honey: I’m teaming up with Truth Hurts and Dr Dre for a song that will release in March. Besides, I carry my portable music production gear with me whenever I’m travelling and keep working on new stuff.