Raxstar & DJ Surinder Rattan – “Flirt”

Burban, Dance, Hindi, Hip Hop, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 7.7

“Look, I don’t normally do this…” True, Raxstar, but you did give full warning: “Mighta fell off but look at how I bounced back, Fuck it, my next single’s gonna be a house track…” The Luton MC stuck to his word (taken from the “Burban Cyphers“), and the result is a very solid number that doesn’t drop the ball, and provides ample radio fodder. If Rax can manage to string a few more of these together (along with, obviously, “Jaaneman”) and mix them with some great hip hop songs, he could have a genuinely strong album out next year. Surinder Rattan is precisely the kind of producer that he should be working with right now, for whilst Sunit almost always does the job with aplomb, variety is the spice of life, and “Flirt” has a subtle but indelible chorus, a competent house instrumental underpinning it all and an MC on form, delivering some nice punchlines. Of course, as with “Jaaneman” it is all very formulaic, let us not pretend otherwise – but the important thing for Raxstar is to connect with fans, and to do that you need a front-to-back package that functions on every level. That means: music, lyrics, chorus, video, stylists, artwork, promo… Everything to be perfectly synced. To be honest, the whole thing wreaks of Sid Ahmed’s genius at putting an actual campaign together (who knows if that is indeed the case, but these things rarely happen via serendipity alone). Either way, “Flirt” most certainly gets the job done. (Reviewed by Jesal)

Flirt - Single - Raxstar & DJ Surinder Rattan


Look I don’t normally do this
And before you start making excuses
I can see it in your face that you’re ruthless
I aint said nothing why you throwing up your deuces?
Let me talk to you
The place that you’re going let me walk you to,
I must admit I like a little akhar (attitude),
I don’t want you easy to break like a papadh (poppadom),
You look cute when you has has (laugh),
Twenty for your thoughts like das das (ten / tell me)
I know you aint really in a rush rush,
So just stop for a minute like bas bas, (stop)
Just calm it down,
You know you’d look so good with my arm around you,
She said I’m pagal (crazy) I said I’m playing,
But your eyes are telling me what your mouth aint saying

Akhan naal keghai dil tera sajana
(With her eyes she said I’m yours)

Why you wana take take take and not give give give
I just want to show you how I live live live,
You don’t have to tell them what we did did did,
Everybody wants to know what my business is,
But we could start off with a hanji hello,
she was like naa ji N.O.
LOL that usually never fails,
Still got a soft spot for ghetto girls,
I like them with brains though they got to be smart,
These days some of them are too chalaak (cunning)
Like kuri mere haan di (a girl similar to me),
Please never leave like “Peer Tere Jaan Di” ( “The pain of you leaving”),
You should stay for a while,
Every time I see you its making me smile,
So why you wanna settle for a cash and carry?
We should be a power couple like Ash and Abhi



Smartz – “Inter Relations”

Hip Hop, Rap, Remix, UK Asian

Score: 8.2

Not, as some have thought, a song detailing the breakdown of Inter Milan’s relations with numerous managers since Jose Mourinho left – this Smartz number instead describes a courtship “between an Indian and a Muslim,” exploring the topic brilliantly. Aside from the fact that last time we checked, there are about 180 million Muslims here in India, we are willing to forgive his transgression, as this is certainly a track of quality with its heart firmly in the right place. Smartz is an MC that we admire: he has lyrics better than the vast majority of his contemporaries, his subject matter varies nicely, and although his vocals are occasionally a touch inconsistent, he’s clearly improving. Some of the lines are truly superb, and to be honest, our only misgiving is the use of the “Jaaneman” instrumental: why even go there? A song this good surely deserves its own beat, and to be declared a classic in its own right… Perhaps the most beautiful thing about “Inter Relations” is that Smartz refuses to judge: he just floats above the situation, depicting it with intricate detail, and although his delivery is just so emotional, he resists casting the first stone. That’s a sign of real greatness, right there.

Kee – “Jaaneman – Part 2” (Featuring Raxstar)

Hindi, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, Rap, Remix, Soul, UK Asian

Score: 7.2

There are so many interesting openings into “Jaaneman – Part 2” that it seems almost perverse to start with someone who has nothing to do with it at all. Yet aside from the witty freestyles and Twitter rants (although he’s sadly currently in self-imposed “#TwitterJail” right now), it’s easy to forget that Jesal is also a pretty great DJ. His “UK Asian Mixtape Volume I” (http://soundcloud.com/jesaltv/jesal-uk-asian-mixtape-1) was an unselfish attempt to shine a light on his peers, and – tellingly – he opened up with Raxstar’s original version of “Jaaneman” but stopped it after a verse, reloaded, and perfectly mixed it with the instrumental of “My Love” by Justin Timberlake. Suddenly it all made sense: the BPM and sequencing was identical (we obsessively checked ourselves). Clearly, someone else in the Raine Records camp cottoned on to a potential vocal number as well, and persuaded Sunit/Raxstar to rubber-stamp this version, driven by Kee (who subtly transformed the original). Despite sounding essentially the same, it has an almost entirely different feel: for one, it’s longer, allowing more breathing space for Sunit’s instrumental; but it’s also, well, longer, which unfortunately dilutes that excellent chorus a touch too much. The sequel is even more melodramatic, and this time Raxstar returns the favour of balancing out the tone with a well-written verse, sure, but truly totemic delivery (he really is on fire right now, with a quiet authority leaving him peerless). Whilst “Part 2” could have been a touch better/tighter (the pre-chorus in particular weighs the song down at times) this, even more than the original, is a song that demands you listen with feeling, not thought.

Raxstar – “Jaaneman”

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

Score: 9.1

After his interesting but wrist-slitting “About A Girl” EP (which dropped in the last few weeks), it’s relatively easy to see which direction Raxstar is heading: as Pac once so famously told Biggie, “Go for the GIRLS!” In this post-Drake landscape, the new school of rappers make very specifically targetted, near-formulaic songs where they cater to the female market, don’t swear, and make sure their track will get on the radio/TV, by hook or by crook. “Jaaneman” most certainly falls into this category, and that’s not a criticism in itself – whatever you do, do it well. Raxstar delivers his as-per-usual impressive verses (at this tempo, at least), although Kee comes in to really save the day, with pitch-perfect backing vocals (taking her part out would just not make this as effective a song). Give “Jaaneman” time, for it is a genuine grower. In the end, we can dissect a track all day long, but if you really connect to it, and the artist makes you feel a certain way, it is has probably achieved what it set out to. And like most great relationships, the first impression may not have been all too great – but there is a real substance to “Jaaneman” meaning that actually, it probably will go the distance. As the hands of time relentlessly tick forward, this could well turn out to be a true classic.