This past Friday, Bay Area Sikh-American hip-hop lyricist Mandeep Sethi dropped his latest album Poor Peoples Planet, a concept album produced by X9 of Xitanos Matematikos that weaves in the teaching Jiddu Krishnamurti, Punjabi gypsy origins, and classical elements of hip hop. At only 22 years old, Mandeep has already developed a strong base of followers having appeared on stage with artists such as Ziggy Marley and Dead Prez and having jumped on the mic with folks I’ve written about before such as Humble the Poet, Sikh Knowledge and Ras Ceylon. You can get Poor Peoples Planet on iTunes later this week and if you visit Mandeep’s BandCamp you can download the album now. Still not sure? Check out the single below Moving Swiftly, Guerrilla Tactics.
Full disclosure, I've been helping get the word out for Poor Peoples Planet and am excited to support a young Desi American whose lyrics are smart, conscious, and inspired by the hyphenated identity. But in the course of hanging out with Mandeep this week, I was really impressed to find out that he is one of the co-founders of Slumgods. Based in India, Slumgods was founded in 2010 as the first B-Boy collective in India bringing together emcees, breakers, artists of India and America. The Slumgods are bringing it hard and fresh using the the five elements of hip hop as a tool of empowerment for the slum youth in the Dharavi slums with a community center called Tiny Drops Hip Hop Center.
India's first breaking organization for lower income group children, this attention-grabbing mix of street dance and athletics is infiltrating their lives and bringing positive change to their communities.
Kids from the ages of 10 to 21 are breaking to forget the stress and rut of lives lived as rag pickers and apprentices, electricians, tailors and carpenters. They become the dance, like the original breakers, underprivileged youths from the Bronx in the 1970s.
In America, as his mother sewed on buttons at a sweatshop and his father fulfilled his role as the ubiquitous Indian cabdriver, HeRa found a sense of structure at the local community center that he hopes to replicate at TinyDrops. [cnngo]
Mandeep Sethi will be heading back to his Slumgods roots in Feb for a mini-tour throughout India. He’ll be collaborating with local musicians, such as drum and bass artist Delhi Sultanate and the first Indian reggae band Reggae Rajahs. The last time he went he created this.
Armed with a camera, Mandeep will be documenting his journey this time around too, as he goes around India making hip hop musical connections and expanding Slumgods even further. If you are in India or know of hip hop artists that Mandeep should collaborate with, drop a comment in the comments. To follow him even more, become a Mandeep Sethi fan on Facebook or follow him on twitter @mandeepsethi. And of course, keep an eye out on iTunes to download your copy of Poor Peoples Planet soon. Trust me, it’s an album that is not to be missed.
Boom Bapri-Bap Rap!