x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

'The world is looking at India'

q&a Hard Kaur is a 29-year-old British-Indian hip-hop artist commonly known to South Asian music lovers as the first female Indian rapper.

The hip-hop artist Hard Kaur will release a new album next year.
The hip-hop artist Hard Kaur will release a new album next year.

Hard Kaur is a 29-year-old British-Indian hip-hop artist commonly known to South Asian music lovers as the first female Indian rapper. She performed last month in front of 10,000 people at Dubai Festival City alongside the likes of the Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan.

I moved to England from India with my mother after my father was killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi's assassination. At school these Afro-Caribbean girls used to bully me, but I stood up to one of them and then a few of them really liked me. They introduced me to all these new types of music. Then on the back of the bus when we used to sing, I would do the rapping. Everything was cool. I was discovering reggae, bashment and hip-hop.

She asked me if I was afraid and I said no, this is what I really want to do. Then she gave me her full support and has ever since.

The West is dying full stop. India is finally showing its style. It is changing real fast and the public are getting clued up. Even if you look at the Bollywood story, they are now realising that people don't want the same old stuff, like girl falls in love, girl marries boy. I wanted to show people in the UK that I am able to do what none of them have been able to.

I'm happy to see that happening. Now we are throwing rap in there. Now the rest of the world is looking at India for stories. We need to win that Oscar and get in the market properly.

Loads of Bollywood soundtracks and I will release my album, featuring Eminem's group D-12, in early 2009. I am feeding the public with an education in hip-hop.

Yes. Mumbai is modern. People can't believe it is so hot. They party there. Women can do what they please. In the UK, it's an old mentality there. In India, if you want to do something, you do it.

My voice has been used for many stars and I meet a lot of people at parties and shows. But my most favourite star is Shahrukh Khan because he is so professional and well spoken. The best thing is his personality, and his timing when he speaks, which I can never get enough of.

Not having a father around did make my life and the family life a bit difficult. But I never felt any emptiness, as my mother gave us everything we needed and raised us well while playing the role of a mother and father.

Definitely the shoes, as the variety is so limited over here. I really miss the taste of West Indian food. We have so many Jamaican restaurants in the UK.

The two very important things to be a rapper are diction, or pronunciation, and timing. It's very important to stay in time while flowing in different styles.
asafdar@thenational.ae