‘Jay Z felt mine was the best Indian song he’d ever heard’
Says British-Indian musician Panjabi MC, who’s in the country for recordings and New Year’s performancesmusic Updated: Jan 03, 2011 13:56 IST
Rajinder Singh Rai, aka Panjabi MC is in India to record a music video for his newest album, The Raj. After performing in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve, he is now headed to Mumbai, Delhi and later visit Punjab for more live gigs. He also recently shot a music video in Mumbai for one of his songs. Says MC, “The video is about the Morni (peahen), who keeps everyone’s guessing where she is going. And obviously, she is going to meet Panjabi MC while he is practicing and training his dancers for a show.”
The Raj follows MC’s Indian Timing that released in 2008. He adds, “The album reflects my style. I thought it was a great name for a bhangra album.” The title track is a rap version on the history of Punjab up until the British Raj. “Bhangra music was born in England from Punjabi immigrants. If it weren’t for the British, there would be no bhangra at all.” The album comprises a wide range of songs that will take you to the dance floor and, at the same time, give you a message. “In this album, I’ve done my first dubstep track along with a couple of house mixes.” Other anticipated singles include Jatti and Via varri jodi.Another of MC’s successful works is Mundian to bach ke by Labh Janjua, which was mixed with the theme of the TV series Knight Rider. After becoming a huge hit in Europe, a version of the song named Beware of the boys featured American rapper Jay Z, who "heard the track and liked the bass. He felt that it was the best Indian music he had ever heard, and approached us to do two versions on the track," he reveals.
MC’s remixed version of Chaiya chaiya with Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi was used on the soundtrack of the Denzel Washington hit Inside Man. “At the moment, I am collaborating with Bappi Lahiri on Punjabi songs, and with some other American artistes too,” he says.
MC stated in previous interviews that his main goal was to mix hip hop and bhangra. While hip hop is hugely popular, the reach of bhangra hasn’t touched mainstream music, “This may be because of the language, as many people around the world don’t speak Punjabi,” he asserts. And what about singing for Bollywood? “Many of my tracks have been licensed for films in India, UK, Europe and America. Just recently, I did a track with Shweta Pandit I got the poison for the movie Hiss,” he says.