Season 1, CHATROOM 14

From L.A. to Karachi: The Rise of Desi Hip Hop

Hip hop began in the 1970s in the South Bronx in New York City as a street culture by Black and Puerto Rican youth. In the ’90s, South Asian immigrants embraced the genre as a way to represent. Today, it can be heard blasting out of dinky shops in rural communities in South Asia. In this episode, we speak to Sammy Chand, a pioneer of Desi Hip Hop, and to Adnan Baloch, an emerging Pakistani rapper.

Time Markers (mins:sec)

  • 0:49 – Pakistan has a new rapper in town, Meet Adnan Baloch
  • 1:43 – Rap is born in the South Bronx
  • 2:46 – The episode is about the birth and rise of Desi Rap as it moved from LA to Karachi
  • 3:02 – Hip Hop Desis, South Asian Americans, Blackness and a Global Race Consciousness
  • 3:39 – Sammy Chand elaborates on what makes Hip Hop, Desi
  • 6:17 – California: Desi Rap’s hometown
  • 7:21 – Blood Brothers
  • 8:37 – Desi Rap goes global
  • 10:28 – Sammy Chand talks about Desi Rap’s “return path”
  • 11:01 – Back to the subcontinent
  • 12:30 – Freestyling in Malir

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Reading List

Sharma, Nitasha Tamar. Hip Hop Desis South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness. Duke University Press, 2010. 

Nair, Ajay, and Murali Balaji. Desi Rap: Hip-Hop and South Asian America. Lexington Books, 2008. 

Replogle, Elaine, and Sunaina Marr Maira. “Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City.” Contemporary Sociology, vol. 32, no. 2, 2003.

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