Raja Kumari blasts stereotypical attitude towards non-resident Indians in new song
Rapper Raja Kumari has released a new single titled N.R.I, the first track of her highly anticipated EP The Bridge, which is due in a few months.
Produced by American record producer and songwriter Rob Knox and co-written by Grammy-Award winning American hip hop recording artist Sirah, the track was penned in Los Angeles whilst the video was shot in India right before the country declared its’ national quarantine lockdown to fight the ongoing global pandemic outbreak.
The buoyant track offers a look into her upbringing, highlighting the duality of being exposed to two different cultures and the irony of being made to feel alien in both. Throwing in some sarcastic pun, the track interlaces hard-hitting mentions like – “sorry that my sari ain’t Indian enough and America doesn’t love me cuz I’m Indian as f**k, bindi on your third eye but your third eye closed, too brown for the label too privileged for the co-sign.”
Speaking about the single the singer elaborates, “This single stems from the duality of being from two different cultures while being told you don’t quite belong in either of them. N.R.I. stands for 'non-resident of India', and is used as a derogatory term for “not really Indian” for people born outside of India, in the diaspora. In America, I was asked to leave behind my culture and assimilate, and in India, I was told I didn't belong to my culture because I wasn’t born here. I decided to reclaim this term and make it my own. My upcoming EP The Bridge, is about symbolizing bridging the East and the West, the ancient and the modern, and connecting us from the old world to the new. The EP was mostly recorded in Bombay, but this song, in particular, was written in Los Angeles. We shot the video for this just as the borders were closing for India, the morning of my flight. We’ve been able to edit the video while we’ve been in quarantine. I knew N.R.I. would never be complete without both sides - my American and Indian story, and I hope you’ll share your #mynristory with the world as well. Fans can put up stories about belonging to dual cultures using #mynristory either through videos or images and tag @theRajaKumari and @massappealindia”
Watch video of N.R.I below:
Earlier last month, following the partnership between Nas-owned U.S. based entertainment company Mass Appeal and Universal Music India, Mass Appeal India announced the signing of Grammy Nominated Indian-American rapper and singer-songwriter to their roster.
Rob Knox best known for working with artists like Justin Timberlake, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Britney Spears and Chris Brown elaborates, “We wanted to make something that felt international, bringing together western pop and hip-hop while calling to Raja’s Indian roots and my Egyptian background.”
Sirah well known for her collaborations with Skrillex, including WEEKENDS!!!, "Kyoto" and the hit single Bangarang, says, “Raja has been one of my favourite co-writers, I love the authenticity she brings to every session. She came into this studio with this concept, as she felt like keyboard warriors online weren’t letting her find where she belongs, and I was immediately drawn to it, and the power of claiming who you are.”