Zack Knight & Raxstar – “Queen”

Hindi, Hip Hop, Panjabi, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian

Score: 6.9

The first verse by Raxstar on “Queen” proves precisely why he’s the go-to guy for sensitive rap: it’s near perfect. It’s a strange song, and you’re never entirely sure who is meant to be the lead artist here; but to all intents and purposes Raxstar simply takes the song from Zack Knight. The beat is probably the only slight letdown, as those synths don’t work as well as they could have down; it’s also a bit fussy and over-produced, with too many vocal layers. But Knight does a solid job, and the Luton MC impresses. “Queen” will certainly find its intended audience. (Reviewed by Jesal)

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Arjun – “Excuse Me Girl (Ambarsariya)” featuring Rekha Sawhney & Reality Raj

Hindi, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 7.7

Arjun himself described the video to “Excuse Me Girl” as “semi-pornographic” (sarcastically, of course, as it’s really not) and he wrote the song on a flight between India and England (we’re guessing this popped up on his MP3 player about 4 minutes prior). He’s still focused on (eventually) cracking the R&B scene in the UK, but for now it’s all about consolidating his rapid expansion within India and the surrounding markets. It makes sense, because the R&B scene in Britain is a relatively limp thing right now, whereas he could be an absolute hero in India doing his Prius hybrid of clean, safe R&B mixed with that desi flavour. The numbers alone speak for themselves, and are truly mind-boggling (seriously, take a look at how many Facebook fans he now has). As for “Excuse Me Girl”, Rekha Sawhney’s “Ambarsariya” sample really helps make it, adhering to Arj’s thus far successful formula of “blending Eastern and Western values” (sorry, that’s totally Shaadi.com). It’s a densely packed few minutes, with relatively simplistic but infuriatingly catchy lyrics burying their way into your psyche. An extremely young sounding chap called Reality Raj (nope, us neither) pops up to rap about 8 arguably needless bars, but it doesn’t specifically detract from the track. EMG is a fresh enough, summery take on a well-trodden path. The ladies at the front (and at the back, too) will indeed love this. Full lyrics below, by the way. (Reviewed by Jesal)

LYRICS:

(ARJUN)

This is for the ladies at the front, at the back
This is your song, where you at, where you at?
This is for my fellas at the crib, at the club
Cruising with your boys, yeah, turn it, turn it up

(REALITY RAJ)

Why you playing silly games, acting like we cannot be together?
I know I give you them butterflies when we see each other
I’ll give you all of it if you just let be me your lover
Miss One Of A Kind, what’s really been on your mind, wassup

(ARJUN)

Excuse me, girl, what’s your story?
I just wanna get to know you better
I would do anything for you bae
Everything about you is so fascinating
Give me 10 minutes of your time, babe
I know that you’re shy but I gotta see you smiling
 
We could be like Romeo & Juliet
Why you playing hard to get, girl?
What you see is what you get
With me…
Just give me something
I’m standing every day underneath your balcony
I’m never giving up until I know your name
 
Excuse me, girl, what’s your story?
I just wanna get to know you
 
This is for the ladies at the front, at the back
This is your song, where you at, where you at?
This is for my fellas at the crib, at the club
Cruising with your boys, yeah, turn it, turn it up

(REALITY RAJ)

Why you playing hard to get, acting like you gon’ find someone better?
I made a promise I’mma shelter you from any weather
I’ll give you 21 flowers to show you to show you I’m forever
Grateful, cos I will be eternally faithful to you

 

Ziggy Bonafide – “Has Ke Bol” Featuring Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Hindi, Pop, UK Asian

Score: 3.2

God knows what is going on in “Has Ke Bol”. It really is the sonic equivalent of a Quattro Formaggio pizza. It’s like watching those boys that covered “Crossroads” or seeing East 17 as middle aged men. The production could be used to sweeten Coca Cola. Ziggy’s vocals are more strained than baby food, only rivalled by his acting in the video. The only redeeming featuring is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (as per usual). Otherwise this isn’t up to the better Bonafide efforts, and doesn’t really need your attention. (Reviewed by Rahul)

Free Mixtape: TaZzZ – “TaZzZMania2”

Bhangra, Burban, Dubstep, Hindi, Hip Hop, Panjabi, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

Score: N/A

Having downloaded and listened to the new mixtape from that little TaZzZMania-n Devil himself, you should probably check it out for free at this link. The first half is more compelling for you rap fans, while the second half basically gets pretty Bollywood. Go listen. (Posted by Jesal)

Anita – “High Heels”

Pop, R&B, UK Asian

Score: 3.6

There’s a lot of play-acting in the Asian music industry. Most of it exists to try and Jedi Mind Trick you into thinking that the artist is already some kind of superstar – you just never realised. Obviously 98% of it is bullshit. As far as Serese are concerned, they are/were clearly a talented girl group who basically achieved very, very little – yet acted as though they were Destiny’s Child or TLC. Cold, hard facts. You may note the possible use of past tense there – have Serese split up? Because Anita has released “High Heels” – a solo single in clear need of dialysis. The production is extremely solid, the video’s clearly had a bit of money chucked at it and the singer herself can technically sing a bit. Yet, it is so poorly written, about 8 years too late, without any kind of point and destined to not actually connect with whoever it was aimed at. After a while, you start to wonder if this money would have been more wisely invested in the London property market. Anita’s reticent vocals and constantly switching wardrobe aren’t fooling anyone. Be honest, be real and be yourself. (Reviewed by Raman)

Beatboxer Ekko – “Never Be Enough” (Featuring Raxstar & Rita Morar)

Burban, Dubstep, Grime, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, Rap, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 8.1

Produced by PKCthefirst, featuring subtly effective contributions from Beatboxer Ekko himself and Rita Morar, this is predominantly an opportunity to view the alternate side of Raxstar. Sometimes it is easy to forget – whether speaking as a fan or reviewer – that the Luton MC doesn’t just deliver tracks for the ladies. That may be because Raxstar’s currently in the midst of a genuinely productive era in his career – he is practically on the cusp of featuring in one brand new video every month, whether solo for dolo or as a guest. He’s firmly in the groove, and while the next step is releasing a genuinely solid album, his star is still rising. “Never Be Enough” is almost like that recent episode of “How I Met Your Mother” – the one called “The Over-Correction” where the characters go so hard the other way, it is both crazy and productive. Thus, we find our rapper almost snarling at the microphone throughout, and it most certainly works (the polar opposite of “Cold World”). Beatboxer Ekko has overseen a great record, here, and should really be putting it on iTunes – but it’s a free download. Generous chap. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Shivani – “Lion”

Pop, R&B, UK, UK Asian, Video

Score: 6.3

This is a strange one. Without a doubt, there is much to admire about Shivani. She’s still a teenager, but quite advanced in the dark arts of how to look/act like a modern day pop/R&B star. She looks the part, has a brilliantly sequenced song, a pretty high budget video (great job, Joshua Best) and – it would be remiss to omit this – she’s probably quite attractive to her target audience. So yes, she’s a wunderkind in certain respects. However, Shiv is in no way a naturally talented singer. Obviously she can sing a bit, but she needs a lot more vocal training and she’s not one of these “talent show 15 year old” girls who come on stage and blow you away. In other words, yes she’s young but there is a lot of hard work ahead if she genuinely wants to achieve something (e.g. make it big, get signed, have a hit etc). We are rooting for her to do it, though, as she ticks a lot of boxes. The song itself is pretty catchy, although the pre-chorus is arguably stronger than the real hook, and the production is thoroughly professional. As a side note, it seems that she used Radar Music Videos to find her director – this is a great avenue for aspiring artists (Jesal himself pointedly told me that he was one of the very first people to use their services when they initially started up). Anyway, don’t get it twisted – a 6.3 score for a teenage girl is a damn good starting point. It’s just that now Shivani must endeavour to put the hard yards in – god, that sounds like such a UCAS statement thing to write. You go, girl. (Reviewed by Raman)