Desis Rap to Hip Hop Beats

Hip Hop Desis.jpgWhile meandering through City Lights Bookstore late last year, I recognized a face on the cover of a book. This never happens. Especially in the Asian American Studies section of the bookstore. It was the one and only Chee Malabar posturing on the cover of Hip Hop Desi: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Refiguring American Music) written by Nitasha Tamar Sharma. Though I didn’t buy the book, a quick glance at the pages revealed a few familiar names, from Rukus Avenue to D’Lo to some other names I didn’t recognize. I stumbled across another book recently also covering the Desi hip hop scene. (Is this a trend?) Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asian America is a collection of essays by people from the scene and edited by Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji. With essays by Vijay Prashad, Sunaina Maira, the1shanti and DJ Rekha, this is a book on the top of my must read list right now. And of course, Chee Malabar also contributed an essay to this book.

Which leads me today’s #MusicMonday – a remix leaked by Chee Malabar. He is back in the studio, working on a forthcoming album scheduled to come out late this year. Orange Suit Theory is a remix of the Jay Electronica beat found through this link. But in my opinion, Chee’s remix is done so much better and throws a political spin to the bling-ified chest thumping original lyrics. Plus, Chee used “macaca”. Extra points for that. Get your free download below.

If this song reflects Chee’s progression as a hip hop artist, I can’t wait for the new album to drop.

I’d also love to hear from readers who have read Hip Hop Desi or Desi Rap and get a review. Are there any other similarly themed books out there as well?

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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

8 thoughts on “Desis Rap to Hip Hop Beats

  1. thanks for the tip taz, this looks very promising!! i hadn’t heard about it till now…looking forward to checking it out

  2. Thanks for semi-featuring my book! I look forward to anyone’s responses to it. Peace, nts

  3. this is off topic, and not to take way from your post, but jay electronica is known for not being a “bling-ified chest thumping” type of rapper and I don’t think the original song deserves that kind of characterization

  4. Lol wow, people really do care about these terrible Desi rappers you are always posting about! I am honestly shocked.

    • You obviously care enough to post a comment in this section. Go troll somewhere else. I for one appreciate Taz’s posts on desi musicians.

      If you are honestly shocked that there are people who enjoy these rappers then you should get out more instead of leaving dumb comments on a nice blogger’s post.

  5. IMO this is good elevator music. when you’re not listening closely to the lyrics and you’re just letting the music flow by, this is good stuff. but as soon as you try to get involved with the music – listening to the lyrics, thinking about them – it becomes something along the lines of those “mango-henna-vermillion-sacredcow-exotica” India books. it’s very cliched.

    but great beats.