While 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?