Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Panjabi Hit Squad

Panjabi Hit Squad Dropping Desi Beats

The UK's Panjabi Hit Squad dropped their debut album (in mix tape form) on Def Jam UK yesterday (Oct 27) entitled Desi Beats Volume I (Available from Amazon.com--UK). PHS, who have a regular radio show on the BBC's 1Xtra, are the latest to get picked up by a major label and push forward Desi sounds in mainstream western music. Desi Beats Vol. 1 is a double disc collection of everything from UK Garage, hip-hop, and desi/hip hop/bhangra fusion.

One of the definite hits of the album is the Panjabi Hit Squads Relick of Satwinder Bitty's Hai Hai, with revamped verses from British Asian MC Ms. Scandalous. The song is quite old, but is a BANGER and incorporates not just elements of Bhangra but also Scandalous's dope verse and tight Garage Beats. Hit Squad recently filmed a video for the song which can be found here.

Incidentally, the Guardian, in a much more Bhangra-factual article than the one I posted from yesterday's New York Times, discusses the the Panjabi Hit Squad and the success of Bhangra on Mainstream Charts . According to the article

"Long before Timbaland sampled a tumbi to create Missy Elliot's Get Ur Freak On or Dr Dre sampled bhangra superstar Lata Mangeshkar for Truth Hurts' Addictive, the fabulously named Panjabi Hit Squad were pioneering the use of Asian flavours to spice up hip-hop. In fact, they claim to have invented the idea. Coventry's Panjabi MC, who hit the Top 10 with Mundian To Bach Ke earlier this year (and who PHS generously say they discovered), may be the best known Anglo-Asian star, but Panjabi Hit Squad feel they'll make the biggest longterm impression. " I think like all musical artists, PHS embellishes slightly their role in discovering PMC, or in inventing the idea of including bhangra samples in hip and r and b sounds. I don't know of any one artist or collective that can take credit for this idea, but PHS has indeed taken the mixing to another level, and a mainstream level at that -- their radio show, working with the likes of Ashanti and Mariah Carey, and of course putting albums out on Def Jam is integral to keeping the sound fresh and making it larger.

So the short of it is keep an eye on these guys, and check out the album.


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