Music Monday: Hot or Not?

I find myself immersed these days in finding the perfect tune. There’s just so much Alterna-Desi music out there, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one artist this Monday. So, I won’t. Today you get seven.

First on the line up is Ami Dang. I saw Ami perform this past Saturday night at a warehouse art space in shady part of Oakland as she finished up the tail end of her international tour promoting her debut album Hukam. A Sikh American woman out of Baltimore, Ami takes her classically trained vocals and sitar skills and merges them with electro-ethereal loops and riffs creating oddly familiar yet alien music. You can get her album here, follow her at @amidang and check out her profile in the City Paper.

Ami Dang // Where Nothing Grows from Mark Brown on Vimeo.

Next is my girlcrush Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers. With a name like that, how can you not be intrigued? She is back for a second time, rocking out the harmonium like a bat out of hell on the way to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This NYC based group released their album Teenage and Torture on Jan 18th (available here), and you can download a free track right here. I kind of love the tortured sound of this song. Follow her at @ShilpaRayandHHH.

In the world of comedy, our friend (and previously written about) Rasika Mathur has released her first album The Sari (W)rap. Think of it like an Adam Sandler musical comedy album, but he’s brown, female and can do really good accents. Released in November, her album tackles such hard hitting issues such as backing up your hard drive with Back That Thing Up or the R. Kelly-esque song I’m Goning to Kama Sutra. The video for the single The Threading Rap was just released by Rukus Avenue and if you look closely and you may find a cameo in there. You can download her album off of iTunes. Find her at @rasiras.

Last week, Maitri introduced me to the Gotham Green, the LA raised, NYC transferred with beats from New Orleans hip hop rapper. His rhymes have a cocky in your face swagger and as you can tell from his name, “green” has a bit to do with his theme, if you know what I mean. You can download his latest album Haze Diaries Volume 3 off of Bandcamp right here. Follow him at @gothamgreen.

Remember back whenever Brimful of Asha came on the radio, how full of excitement you were that someone Brown was on the radio? Maybe it was just me, but Cornershop was a cornerstone of my high school musical memoirs. Cornershop is back with a new album and a new sound. Topknot is the first single off of their album Cornershop & the Double “O” Groove Of and I think is completely beautifully filmed. The album comes out March 15th but you can download a free track here and follow them at @cornershopHQ.

And then you have So Cal based 20 yr old Hoodini who is blowing it up with his distinctly laid back Cali Cali sound. He just released a video to his single Supreme with his partner in crime, King. I love the string accompaniment in this song and the colors. You can download the July released album A California Classic off of Bandcamp for only $1. Follow him at @hoodinididit.

Finally, on twitter I was told to check out Saint Soldier, another Sikh Canadian hip hop artist on the scene. His first single is Farmer Suicide with pretty progressive lyrics talking about the farmer suicides in India.

So there you have it. Seven songs to tide you over this #MusicMonday. What do you say? Are they hot or not? I have my own personal opinions on these tracks but I’m sure you have opinions too. Which ones are you feeling? Which ones could you do without?

This entry was posted in Community, Music, Video by Taz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates and blogs at Follow her at

11 thoughts on “Music Monday: Hot or Not?

  1. I like “Farmer’s Suicide”! Thanks for posting it.

    And not to diss, I wish desi people would make music videos that can be taken more seriously–I guess that’s why I like Saint Soldier.

  2. Shilpa Ray is awesome. Great live sound. Caught her several times at SXSW in Austin and other places around the country.

  3. Wish saint soldier would focus on farmer suicides as an indian problem not just a problem in Punjab. Great song though.

  4. Saint Soldier is amazing. Check out “Sister”. I really do appreciate SM consistent coverage of South Asian musicians; it makes my radio show much easier to produce.

  5. Ami Dang – Maybe if I was into drugs? She surely is talented though. Shipa Ray – In love, sign me up Rasika Mathur – It is what it is, a song that is supposed to be funny…and is. Gotham Greene – Couldn’t tell him apart from a heap of b.s. hip-hop from artists everywhere else in the world. “Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal, MC’s spit rhymes to uplift they people” – KRS-One Topknot – Maybe after a copla listens, nothing that stayed with me so far… Hoodini – YES! Yes! gem of a track. Saint Soldier – Was good upto 1:23 where it became a paint-by-numbers rant with cliché lyrics that could’ve been written about anything else and were not really applicable/valid. Can’t deny the intellect though.