Hip Hop to the Desi Beat

By Vidya Pradhan

Observe a group of Asian immigrants huddled around the Super Bowl game and chances are at least 50 percent of them are waiting for ads that premiere on television that day. Well this year there may be a uniquely desi reason to watch the half time show as well, a show that has been made memorable in the past by wardrobe malfunctions( Janet Jackson) and resurrections ( Rolling Stones, literally).

It all began when Doritos, the cheesy snack company, came out with a promotional contest called ‘Crash the Super Bowl’. The idea was that you could submit a music video to their site on MySpace and viewers would vote for the band they liked. The winning video would air during half-time at the Super Bowl and the band would get a recording contract with Interscope Records, a prominent record label promoting hip-hop and rap music.

The contest caught the eye of Nivla, an up and coming hip-hop artist from New York and he brought it to the attention of Raj Makhija who along with his brother Ravi had recently created Soul Tap Records, a label promoting a uniquely desi sound to the hip-hop beat. Along with P. Oberoi, an aspiring singer with a folksy flavor and DJ Sharad, they put together a song called Be Easy (Koi Naa) and submitted it to the contest. Check it out.(Lyrics may not be appropriate for young kids)

Of the 400+ artists and bands that entered this contest, the Top 10 were hand-selected by industry heavyweights such as will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, "who heard the joint and felt it was good enough to place in there," said Nivla. Not only did Be Easy make the first cut but the video became hugely popular on MySpace and on Jan 7th, it was announced that the song was one of the top 3 finalists.

The 3 remaining bands are now in L.A. to shoot professional videos with acclaimed directors. The only way the public will get to see the video of Be Easy is if the band wins.

Voting continues till the 27th of January and the winner will be revealed only during the halftime show on February 3rd, 2008.

How can you help make sure the Super Bowl has a desi sound this year?

Step 1: Log into Myspace

Step 2: Go to http://www.myspace.com/doritoscrashthesuperbowl

Step 3: Select Nivla & P. Oberoi's track "Be Easy (Koi Na)" and submit your vote!

Don’t have a MySpace account? It might be worth getting one temporarily so you can help out Nivla, P. Oberoi and the funky Punjabi sounds of Be Easy( Koi Naa).

And who knows? There might be a reason to watch the Super Bowl XLII after all!

To learn more about the artists involved in the video, check out http://hiphopsuperbowl.com

 

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