When Prince Rashid walked into the room, I was unsure of what exactly to expect: Here was a Bengali rapper, whose music has been making rounds on social media lately, and has performed multiple shows. He and his executive producer walked in, immediately projecting a sense of purpose in order to shoot the video for Radar Sessions. While the shoot is often coordinated and done by the team at the Highlander, Prince Rashid walked in with a strong idea of how he wanted the visuals to look. It was actually inspiring to see the level of genuine creativity that oozed from him, as well as the practicality of an aspiring musician.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Prince Rashid has been rapping and making music since he was first exposed to hip-hop. “In LA hip-hop culture is in its roots. When I was growing up all the cool kids were rapping, so I wanted to be a part of it,” he said. Some of the first artists he listened to were 50 Cent and Kanye West. Moreover, one of his biggest inspirations as a musician is Drake, whose intricate lyrics and crafty beats he admires.
While I have seen many great performances by local musicians, it was the first time that I was genuinely awed by the stage presence that Prince Rashid picked up once the track started rolling. His flow scheme is ever-changing: picking up speed and energy at certain points, and slowing down in tandem with the beats.
His upcoming project, titled “Trapladesh,” is a combination of trap-oriented hip-hop that plays homage to his upbringing as a Bengali-American. He stated, “I’m very proud of my roots, and I wanted to place that into my music. When you see hip-hop, you don’t think of any big Southeast Asian artists! Not just in music, but in movies, in TV, the only person anyone can think of is Zayn Malik but what he is doing is a little different. I felt that as a Southeast Asian growing up on hip-hop it was important to bring it with me, as a musician.”
On Thursday, April 21, he will be opening for Playboi Carti at Sevilla Nightclub. Playboi Carti is one of the newer musicians associated with A$AP Mob, who are perhaps some of the biggest artists in hip-hop right now. Prince Rashid’s sound and aesthetic in fact immediately reminded me of A$AP. The combination of trap-heavy hip-hop and a general interest in diverse art forms including visuals, fashion and other mediums was something very much a part of the path that hip-hop has been taking. When asked about his sound, he claimed, “I don’t really like defining and pigeonholing myself. I have a lot of different styles and sounds, because I create my music to express my emotions, and so what I make depends on what i’m trying to express. I can go from like trap-styled bangers, to more jazzy-type tracks.”
Paying homage to his roots, while carving out a space for himself as a hip-hop musician are the dynamic of Prince Rashid’s music. His music is available to listen to on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/princerashid and his promotional material is available on his Instagram: @gwapfiend.