The dope thing about Hip-Hop is that it can appear in so many forms and variations. There are just a few simple rules. As long as you stay authentic, work on your skills and pay respect to the foundations of the culture, chances are you'll develop a following that respects your hustle. Hailing from Vancouver via India, Jasleen Powar aka Horsepowar is proving once again that Hip-Hop is truly a global phenomenon. Her music is brash and in-your-face and her lyrics are "won-hundred percent" true to the person she is. She proudly puts forward her Indian, Desi and Bollywood roots, and these are the very elements that make her persona even more appealing. Check out our interview with her below:
First off, can you tell us about your introduction to Hip-Hop -- when did you first start writing lyrics and putting rhymes together?
I was in pre-school when my teacher told my mom I was singing inappropriate songs ... Bone Thugs "Mr. Ouiji" and Dru Hill's "In My Bed" - as for putting rhymes together, in high school, I would sit in the computer room free styling over Youtube "rap beat instrumentals.” I think one of the first songs went something like: "Urine, Urine, You're in a coma / This shit’s about shit, not urine. Urine. Urine. You're in a coma your hair is so messy. Comb your hair It’s so messy.” Yeah, the seed was planted around then.
Who are some of your rap heroes (both past & present)?
Kanye, Drake, MIA, Young Jeezy, Andre 3000, Outkast (DUH), Run-DMC, Andy Milonakis, Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj, Roy Orbison, Future, Beastie Boys, Das Racist (RIP), Cam'ron, Gurdas Mann, Ezale, The RZA, the GZA, Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghost Face Killer and the M-e-t-h-o-d Man.
With your Indian background, did you face a lot of resistance from your family & friends about wanting to be a rapper?
How would you describe your rap style --- and how would you distinguish yourself from the Nicky Minaj's & Azealia Banks's of the game?
I'm exactly how you think I am. I’m a nerd. I'm a family (wo)man. I'm lover not a hater. I rap about what I know, what I want to know, what I dream about...my rap style pulls a lot from my South Asian heritage, food, and life of a second generation human, yeah I rap a lot about being human.
You've already had two very well-received releases: Bollywoes & HorsepowerXHorseplay - what were your favorite tracks on these albums?
Off of Bollywoes I loved everything, but the quality of the work sonically is very homemade and rough (no proper mixing and no mastering). I think the songs have incredible potential.. but “My Motherland” sticks out the most. “Bill Murray Jane” off of Horseplay is pretty epic. Come on.. it’s Bill Murray and weed!!!!
Are you currently working on any new recording projects for 2016?
Well, I've officially launched Out2Lunch. My first project of 2016 – it’s on my sound cloud available for download.. but I got more coming!! I'm also releasing a mix of my favorite Bollywood bangers, so keep an eye out for "Horsie Hindustan Vol.1"
You probably get a lot of M.I.A. comparisons. Do you embrace or loathe this comparison?
Embrace it. She the queen.
Tell us a little about your fashion inclinations. How would you describe your fashion style and what are some of your go-to brands?
Suburban-Turban-Rani-Hindustani-Big-Brother-Hand-Me-Downs-Gold-Hoops-With-A-Crown-Royal-Racing-Jacket- And these black leather ankle boots that I forced my homie to give me.
I don't care about brands, I just want comfort and clarity. If it looks good, I'm good. I don't believe that I can't pull certain things off. I believe we ALL can rock anything if we put our mind to it. It's all about commitment.. but as is everything in life. Am I rite or am I rite?
How is the overall Hip-Hop scene in Vancouver? Are there lots of dope rappers emerging that inspire and spur you on?
To be honest, in Vancouver, I haven't met any dope rappers that inspire me.. But my radio show homies Crimes & Treasons inspire me a ton. Oh! My home boy Harrison Brome - from Vancouver/Richmond (he ain't a rapper but he could be if he wanted to), he's talented beyond belief, a wise soul and all around an awesome human. Check his stuff out!!
Lastly, are there any unexpected surprises/projects coming from you in the near feature that our readers can look out for?
I've been devising Hip Hop drama based workshops for high school students to make English/Poetry fun. So I'll be facilitating those. A lot more video content from me. More music- lots of bars, you'd think it was chocolate.
To keep up with Horsepowar, stay up-to-date with her soundcloud page here.
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