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MP3 the1shanti - India Bambaataa

Hip hop pioneer, regarded as the first New York emcee to introduce rap music to Bollywood via collaborations with A.R. Rahman, Asha Puthli, Dum Dum Project, and many more. Dubbed "India Bambaataa" by Afrika Bambaataa.

12 MP3 Songs
HIP HOP/RAP: East Coast, POP: Today''s Top 40

THE1SHANTI got his start at the age of eight, battling kids on a Washington, D.C. elementary school playground. Rapping became more than just a way for the kid, dressed by his mom in a three-piece suit, to not get beat up. Soon, his childhood survival tactic became his culture, says the New York-based rapper.

Growing up, THE1SHANTI was always "a bit different. a bit gifted," he writes in one of his autobiographical songs. Born in America to Indian parents, there didn''t seem to be a place in the American mainstream for someone who wasn''t black or white. But hip-hop offered a home.

Determined to make his mark, the aspiring rap-artist battled his way into a BET Rap City competition at the age of 12, placing second and beating out many seasoned regional hip hop heavy weights. This opened the door for THE1SHANTI and his childhood rap group to record and perform as an opening act for rap legends such as Doug E. Fresh and Ultramagnetics MCs.

As THE1SHANTI grew up, his interest in hip hop also grew. He expanded from rapper to hip hop entrepreneur by co-founding New York-based Soulspazm Records. Concurrently, he released a catalogue of music, collaborating with underground rap icons. In 2000, his Blaxploitation single was well received by critics who embraced him as the first Indian MC to have emerged from New York''s underground hip hop scene. The record peaked at No. 13 on the charts in the U.S. (GAVIN 2000).

Hip hop had officially taken in the confused Indian kid on the playground who had once sought a home in rap music. In the next few years, THE1SHANTI advanced through the industry with unstoppable tenacity, appearing on countless mixtapes. His first E.P. release, Deadline , ascended through the underground charts until spending time as the No. 1 rap record (HITS Magazine, 2001).

Through a collaboration with like-minded producer ElekTro4, the pair attracted the attention of modern jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood. In early 2002, Billy Martin hand picked a track called ElekTro4 for President, for which he played the drums, and placed it on his popular remix album, Drop the Needle.

It was through ElekTro4 that THE1SHANTI stumbled onto his next project. International DJ, Sean (DJ Cavo) Dinsmore, was digging for a rarity: a credible Indian rapper. After an initial conversation with Dinsmore, THE1SHANTI let his skills do the talking. He remixed a track on the Dum Dum Project''s Export Quality album, Jaani Jaan, in to a hip hop party anthem that would travel the globe three times over and bring hip hop to places that had never heard the sound before. During the filming period for the video in Bollywood in mid-2002, THE1SHANTI occupied the Friday night slots on Radio Mirchi where he became the first DJ on a commercial station to introduce India to hip hop.

Over the last four years, THE1SHANTI has become a hip hop pioneer, bringing his unique talents and a whole new sound to Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam, Europe, South America, and then back to his roots, India. In London, where the Asian scene has already broken many Indian artists to the British mainstream, THE1SHANTI rose quickly up the charts as a top hip hop artist on BBC Radio One with the recent hits Supafly Bindi , Punjabi Five-0 , Jaani Jaan and his remix of the hugely popular Shakalaka Baby , the single from Andrew Lloyd Webber and A.R. Rahman''s theatrical collaboration, Bombay Dreams .

As the first rapper to take India by storm and the first Indian to break into American hip hop, THE1SHANTI is truly a universal artist. He crossed over a long time ago on that playground. Before Madonna was wearing bindis, before South Asian culture influenced hip hop, THE1SHANTI was there in a three-piece suit, dressed to take out any kid who dared to challenge him in a battle. Granted his playground has grown a bit, THE1SHANTI plays on a larger world stage now. But he''s still standing, and make no mistake, he has always been here.

India Bambaataa, the1shanti''s debut solo lp, carries the blessings of Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation.

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