Fateh unleashes trap infused Punjabi anthem “Raazi”
January 31, 2019 · 6 Minute Read
It’s not even been a year since the release of Fateh Doe’s album, To Whom It May Concern and the time has come for a fresh new banger! This time the Toronto-based rapper has treated our ears with “Raazi.”
You may remember Fateh’s verse on “Lovely” from Shah Rukh Khan starrer Happy New Year or one of his Dr. Zeus’ collaborations, but “Raazi” is altogether a different ball game! It is a Punjabi Hip Hop song that celebrates people who are not satisfied with the status quo and therefore hustle and strive to be better. “I actually created this song a while ago but decided to put it aside when releasing my second album, To Whom It May Concern. That record was more on the serious side, whereas“Raazi” is more fun and braggadocious,” says Fateh.
Even though he lets his work do the talking, we managed to get hold of him for a one-on-one about his latest piece of art, the music video featuring big guns like Jus Reign and Byg Byrd as well as his journey from a hip-hop fan to a rapper.
Tell us about the theme of “Raazi”?
Essentially, the theme of “Raazi” is, we are not in agreeance. It is about saying, I’m not satisfied with what I have, I want to be better, I want to do more, move onto bigger things.
I wanted it to be strong, fun, braggadocious – a song that people could sing, rap and everyone who has heard it, really likes it. It’s very upbeat.
And what about the sound?
For this song, I was inspired by trap music of a year and a half ago, the autotuned stuff. Future comes to my mind, he pioneered this. There is piano towards the end, it’s very West Coast and the way I’m rapping is more gangsta.
What are you trying to convey in the video?
In the video, it was more about encapsulating the things that involve me, the world and people that form my universe. Brampton is obviously a major element. It’s also about portraying Punjabi culture, but shot through a lens that the culture hasn’t been given before. We show bhangra, some cool aesthetics, and the sport of kabaddi (because it has a very masculine feel to it.) We wanted to show all those things but in a more artistic way. The cinematography was very important.
Who all were involved in conceptualizing the idea and how was did the final video pan out?
“Raazi” is about not being satisfied, and striving for better. Therefore, I thought, it would be cool to highlight the people around me who are hustling in their respective fields. When I brought the song to The Archery Club, the first thing I told them was that I don’t want a typical rap video. They did lots and lots of research and came up with this idea of portraying Punjabi and Brampton culture through artistic lense from our perspective. I loved the idea because we wanted to showcase our culture, the way we see it, to the world, and that’s exactly what we did.
How did you first get into hip-hop?
My family is originally from Punjab, but they moved to Thailand before I was born. I was born in Bangkok, and my parents lived there for a total of 10 years, until I was 4 or 5. Both my parents were teachers, they taught at a Thai-Sikh international school. After Bangkok, we moved to California – Hayward, in the East Bay. I didn’t really grow up in around Indian or Punjabi people. All my friends in California were listening to hip-hop and RnB. So I guess I first got exposed to hip-hop in first or second grade.
At first, maybe I started listening because the cool kids were listening to hip-hop; maybe there was no other option, there was nothing else to listen to, everyone else was listening to it. I also liked the free-flow nature of it. People said whatever they wanted to say – it just sounded so cool, and I was attracted by the overall appeal. This was Tupac, Biggie and Ruff Ryders Entertainment. It was blowing up at that point.
How did the journey from being a fan of hip-hop transition into the journey to becoming a hip-hop artist?
I didn’t think recording would ever happen – not everyone had computers at the time. I was 13 – it’s not like now when everyone has a computer and a smartphone. I had a friend who had a PC with Windows 98. He also had a mic that you could use to do audio calls over the Internet. I think one day he was playing around with the mic, and he recorded his voice over a beat.
I said: “how did you do that?” He said: “I have this software called Sony Acid Pro – you can record your voice on it.”
As I got fascinated by the software, he eventually said: “I don’t want you at my house every day,” so he installed it for me, too (laughs). The first time I heard my voice come out of a speaker, my mind was blown. I played it in the car, for my friends, and everyone hated it. I was rapping over “In Da Club” by 50 Cent. Long story short – it was a joke, it was something I just happened upon. I was already writing raps, I was freestyling in school, but once I learned how to record myself, that’s how the game changed.
On my birthday I asked for a computer and mic, and I became a hobbyist and recording.
I eventually became a hobbyist. I recorded without any guidelines, with no one to emulate. I looked up to 50 Cent, but had no one else to look up to. I didn’t know how to do bars, or how to sing. I was just rapping and recording.
What happened next?
I just put in hours – I moved to Canada after graduating high school in 2008. By then, I was already performing Bhangra and playing dhol, so I was used to being on stage. It was a dream of mine to be on a mic. I loved the idea of that but I didn’t know how to get there.
I started doing open mics. Having just moved to Canada, I had nothing but time. I didn’t know anyone, and all my friends were in a time zone three hours away. I had nothing to do, but record. This is how I learned how to write songs and hooks. This is the period when I went three times harder than ever before and put in the hours.
I was at university part-time, and just recording. And I did three mixtapes in the span of 2-3 years, each containing 20-30 tracks. It was a volume game.
And then Youtube started doing things for me. I picked up a camera, started rapping and editing my own videos. Started getting some traction, some buzz in the local scene in Toronto – from gigs, open mics, from Youtube.
What was a turning point for you?
By around 2013, Dr. Zeus had discovered the music via Youtube and when Zeus eventually came calling, I was ready. All the time I’d put in, it paid off. He’d send me a song, I’d send it back in two hours. He was blown away, we just connected. We were making a lot of music together. The music got bigger, and the name got bigger, and in the last two years I’ve done more solo stuff, two albums outside of Zeus’ wings, and that’s been doing really well.
What according to you, attracts your fans to your music?
My music is a bunch of things, it’s got a lot of dimensions. With Dr. Zeus, it’s more mainstream Punjabi music. But there’s different levels and sides to me, and the music. I’m an educated man, I’m cognizant of what I see and what I do. Perhaps people like that side of me. For example, my last album, To Whom It May Concern, was very personal. Certain lines, from certain songs, really resonated.
There are plenty of artists like who you may know, you may like, but you may not be totally vested in them and their success. I think my fans are starting to become invested in me. From the album, more people became interested because they know me better, because of the music, my Youtube, my Instagram.
I think “Fame” in particular was huge for me. It’s a song that people from many different walks of life, from uncles to young kids alike. When I read Youtube comments, and I meet people in person, they say: “You said some really personal stuff, and I was dealing with something similar in my life.”
People resonated with that, they felt that it was an inspirational video. The second and most common thing – people that look like me, that are abroad and in India – guys that wear a Turban (or girls that wear a hijab) – they feel a connection to me because I’m a visual minority, even in my industry. People watch my pagri tutorial, and say: “I used to cut my beard, but stopped because of you.” A lot of people said: “you made Punjabi sound cool. I wanted to learn Punjabi to understand what you’re saying, I speak Punjabi at home now.”
The thing I like the most is the empowerment for young kids to me.
You’ve performed all over the world. How do audiences react differently at shows in your hometown of Toronto vs. at shows abroad?
The hometown shows are great, mainly because you see familiar faces in the crowd. These are the people I might of went to school with or even worked during my retail days, and now they are at my show watching me perform my music, which is an amazing feeling! Another plus is that I get to bring all my friends and family with me. They all are huge supporters have been instrumental in my career.
How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard a track from you?
North American Hip Hop, R&B, and Trap, infused with Punjabi lyrics.