New Noise is a regular feature dedicated to spotlighting artists on the rise. Discover more New Noise artists that are making sweet tuneage here. This edition, we introduce Queens rapper Anik Khan.
Name: Anik Khan
Location: Queens, New York
Food for your earbuds: Kites
For people who rate: Big Sean, Vic Mensa and IshDARR
“Curry chicken meets collard greens” is what it says in his SoundCloud bio and that’s what is happening in his music. New York raised rapper Anik Khan spices up his music with his Bengali-born flavour. A combination of Bollywood and Bhangra, combined with diverse Queens influences of dancehall, soca, and rap makes his music especially unique.
At 28, Anik has chosen to become that bridge between New York hip hop and his Asian roots. “I don’t want to be the kid who represents the Bengali/Indian story, I want to be the kid who represents the immigrant story,” he told Noisey. His most recent album, “Kites” best exemplifies this mixture of cultures. “It’s an overview perspective of like, what’s important to me, and I’m just talking about a guy in his, y’know, late 20s going through the ups and downs of life, being an immigrant from New York,“ he explained to Complex.
Like a kite, Anik floats, liable to the motions of the wind. ‘Kites’ is about feeling lost but also finding yourself. It’s about holding on by a thread but also realizing the people steering the kite are the most important. Regardless, if I stay flying high up or end up falling to the ground, they’re there guiding me throughout it all.” ‘Kites’ explores every aspect of himself, and every facet of Queens vast and rich culture, which serves as his wind and motivation.
Initially, penciled to drop months before its 28 April release date, the introduction of President Trump’s Muslim travel ban moved Anik to rethink his plan for ‘Kites’: “It just didn’t feel right anymore,” he shared in an interview with Mic . “Me being of South Asian descent, Muslim descent growing up in this country, I was just like, there’s no way that if I have this platform I shouldn’t utilize it to speak to this issue, just because I have this plan.”
On the Kanye-like battle-trance, “Columbus”, Anik celebrates the contribution of immigrants to America. “Little did you know we would make this shit our home/Built it with our bones – yeah/Look at how we’ve grown” He goes further on the chorus ,stepping into Columbus’ shoes to declare that he’s “Riding every wave I know” and taking people’s spot as his own.
Most of Anik’s music is not as politically charged as “Columbus.” For instance, take a look at the single “Habibi”. With a flow like Drake and ad-libs like Travis Scott, Anik takes us by train to the New York bodega. There’s not much he doesn’t talk about – smoke sessions, chicken dinners, the trap-house, bitches and even a little gun violence to round it all off. His influences are clear to see. Bollywood and trap 808s surprisingly blend together to make an easily accessible track.
Anik Khan’s music is as eclectic as his background. Fusing a wide range of themes and sounds, from dance club ready bops to jazz inspired mellow tunes. He speaks for the immigrant kids who are balancing their multiple identities and manoeuvring multiculturalism.
Words by Dale St. Marthe