Ahead of Fateh’s new song, five superfans open up on what his music means to them
January 25, 2019 · 5 Minute Read
At the age of 13, Fateh Singh a.k.a Fateh Doe was studiously learning the art of rapping, using a humble PC with Windows 98, a tiny mic, and the legendary Sony Acid Pro software. A product of the fertile late-90s musical scene in the United States, centered around the rise of hip-hop, Fateh was discovering his musical penchant by rapping over hit singles like “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, which peaked at No.1 in 2003. “I recorded without any guidelines, with no one to emulate,” he says. “I looked up to 50 Cent, but had no one else to look up to.”
He soon graduated to writing his own raps, freestyling at the courtyard in school, and recording his own work. Five years later, he was ready to move on from his tiny community in Hayward, California, to Brampton, Canada, a stronghold for the Punjabi diaspora in North America.
With almost no friends and family to distract the pioneering rapper, Fateh spent hours perfecting his art. He started working the open mic circuit, writing his own songs and hook, to eventually recording three mixtapes in the span of three years, each packed with 20-30 tracks. “This is the period when I went three times harder than ever before and put in the hours,” he says.
At some point during the course of his journey, Fateh discovered the power of YouTube, and started putting out his own videos. In 2013, after years of working the local scene in Toronto, Fateh eventually got his big break. British singer and music producer Dr. Zeus spotted his music via YouTube and invited the rapper to collaborate, kicking off what has been a commercially successful union thus far. Since then, Fateh has gone on to collaborate with several other Punjabi artists including Amrinder Gill, Jaz Dhami, Gippy Grewal, and Kanika Kapoor.
While Fateh’s unique sound – a blend of Punjabi lyrics, hip-hop beats, and freestyle rapping – has been a key to his musical success, his appeal stretches farther than just his music. Proudly sporting his turban and beard, Fateh has been challenging the status quo, taking the narrative of first-generation South Asians, specifically Punjabis, towards pop-culture domination. His brand of Punjabi-influenced hip-hop reflects the stories of millions of Indians around the world, making his music relevant, fresh, and exciting.
As for 2019? The rapper is gearing up for the big launch of his new track “Raazi” on January 30. A total upbeat and addictive party song, the track is a major shift from his recent work (To Whom it May Concern) that showcased his more serious side. His style of rapping is more “gangsta” on the track and the music is inspired by the Southern style of hip-hop called trap music, with a bold encore of pianos at the end.
We talked to five superfans and learned what his music means to them:
“…he constantly inspires and motivates…”
I first got introduced to Fateh in the early 2000s through a mutual friend. I was also a hip-hop artist at that time, so we used to discuss music and culture over AIM and Myspace quite a bit.
What I’ve appreciated about Fateh from the beginning is his tenacity and work ethic. He works harder than anyone I know and spends his time learning about and perfecting his craft. You may listen to his songs and think, “oh, I could do that”, but that’s because he makes it look easy. His belief in his vision and determination to get to the top is the reason he’s achieved all his success.
As a close friend and a peer, he constantly inspires and motivates me to push the boundaries of creativity; to keep elevating the game. His new track “Raazi” does exactly that. The track is absolute FIRE and is undoubtedly going to be an instant classic. All of us at Rootsgear are extremely excited to watch “Raazi” take over the global airwaves.
Tanmit Singh, Maryland, United States
“…unlike anything heard before…”
Fateh has a one-of-a-kind style that perfectly blends his Punjabi heritage with his North American upbringing. The way he seamlessly transitions from English to his ancestral language is unlike anything I have heard before. I had “Senti SZN” on repeat forever and I can’t wait for his next project to drop!
Nita Gaddipatti, New York, United States
“…I found a whole new world of music that I never knew existed”
The first time I was exposed to Fateh’s music was when I first heard “Chall Mere Naal” by PropheC, featuring Fateh on the rap. Out of all artists, regardless of genre, Fateh has been at the top of my favorite artists’ list since first hearing his work. After hearing “Chall Mere Naal” I dug deeper into the upcoming Punjabi music industry. For some background on myself, English is my first and only fluent language. Both my parents speak both English and Hindi, but I have been raised speaking English.
After first hearing the combined works of Fateh and PropheC, I found a whole new world of music that I never knew existed. I would constantly look up Fateh’s songs and then look up the lyrics. Some of the words I could understand, but most of them I couldn’t, which is why I then would look up the translation of the lyrics. Over time, I basically taught myself all the Punjabi that I know now.
Fateh isn’t just a Punjabi artist, his album To Whom it May Concern consisted of mostly English songs. I have followed Fateh’s work over time and have seen him become continuously successful with his own singles and albums, and also his collaboration with other artists such as Jazzy B, PropheC, Dr. Zeus, and Mickey Singh. His work has given the Punjabi music industry more than just good songs; his work also has stories behind the lyrics of each song. Fateh has shown the whole world that he is versatile with any category of music. His work ranges from senti songs to songs that are in my workout playlist. Since I first heard Fateh, I have seen him grow as a singer, performer, and a person as well.
Abhishek Singh, North Carolina, United States
“…music that speaks directly to me and my experiences”
As a minority in the West, it’s refreshing to have music that speaks directly to me and my experiences. Fateh’s music is fresh, addictive, and so relatable. It doesn’t take much to envision a scenario where what he’s rapping about could happen to me or someone I know. Also, the beats are insane. I love how he’s constantly experimenting and trying out new things. His music has always been multi-dimensional; it takes you through a range of emotions. I am hoping his new track is the quintessential shaadi song I need in 2019!
Shruti Kothari, Toronto, Canada
“…one of the best musicians when it comes to East and West fusion”
I discovered Fateh three years ago when I first heard “Black Suit” by Preet Harpal and Dr. Zeus. I simply adore that song and thus began my journey of discovering Fateh and his music. He is, hands down, one of the best musicians when it comes to East and West fusion. I am not even Punjabi, but his sound transcends boundaries and has a broader global appeal. As for “Raazi”, yes, I’m absolutely stoked. Let’s hope it’s the club anthem of 2019!
Abhishek Ghosh, San Jose, United States
While we wait for “Raazi” to drop, listen to our Fateh Doe playlist on JioSaavn.