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Rolling Stone on The Asoka Hustle

 

When I started rapping in high school, I had no idea what the journey would have in store… Looking back, I couldn’t be happier. Thank you Rolling Stone magazine for showing me love and checking out what I’ve been cooking up. If you haven’t heard it yet – check out The Asoka Hustle on iTunes.

The World Champion!

 

Got world champions on my album. So yeah, this album’s about to kick some ass! #MyCoStarsAreBetterThanYours Photo by: Erika Lane Enggren

I’ve been sitting on this album for a moment. Going to release it when I’m ready; on my own terms. It’s my love letter to music. A piece of work that I’m comfortable being defined by. Collaborated with some amazing people on this. Humbled to create art with each and every one of you. The world is dark but creating this album brought me freedom and had me free from concern. Catch me soon… On your playlists and right here, at ReliveHipHop.com.

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The Rolling Stone Interview – The Asoka

Rolling-Stone-Quote-Asoka-July-2016

 

Mad love to Rolling Stone Magazine and especially their team in Mumbai, India! For four years, I’ve been quietly working on my sophomore album, The Asoka Hustle. The album wraps this week and the time for resurgence is this Fall. Thank you enormously to everyone who shared my vision and chose to be a part of my beautiful chaos. I love you all.

Article Courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine…

When Indian-American hip-hop artist Karan Batta was younger, he used to stay up late at night thinking about the kind of rap music and wrestling-themed videos he wanted to make.  “I wanted to do a song with a bunch of wrestlers because I used to watch them on TV,” says the 27-year-old Los Angeles-based rapper, who also goes by his stage name The Asoka, over a phone interview.

Batta’s dream finally came true last year when he was called in to work on a theme song for Indian-American pro-wrestler Sonjay Dutt. “He invited me to hang out with a bunch of the wrestlers and I got to meet so many guys,” he recalls. One thing led to another: one of the wrestlers in the group showed Batta his own rapping skills, prompting the idea to invite more wrestlers to rap on a track together. “Team Asoka”— the tentative first single from Batta’s upcoming album The Asoka Hustle — now features bars from various wrestling champions including Dutt, Brian Kendrick, MVP, John Morrison, Rocky Romero, Katerina Waters and more. “A lot of [them] love hip-hop, so we ended up getting a whole roster on there,” explains Batta.

The Asoka Hustle, which releases in September, is Batta’s second record, and as he explains, his “most honest and open album to date.” The followup to his 2013 debut Heart of a Lion, the full-length release is “an intimate journey,” he says. “It’s like a time capsule of this period in my life which was about being young in Hollywood and meeting and working with my heroes.”

Honing his rap skills for the last 13 years, Batta briefly worked with producer and legend Dr. Dre [on the 2015 Dr. Dre album Compton and, as a screenwriter, on a commercial for him] recorded a track with American rapper Hittman and featured on an official mixtape released by Tupac Shakur’s estate in 2006. Also an actor [with two upcoming movies], Batta says that it’s tough to escape the clutches of stereotypes in most industries in America. He says, “When you go out to these auditions being Indian, they’ll give you a script and be like ‘Can you do it in an Indian accent?’ I mean… don’t put me in a box.”

It’s a similar situation in music, with many big record labels and audiences expecting a certain ‘Indian-ness’ from him. “It does get frustrating sometimes,” he says. “I’ve been in meetings with major music companies in the world and they’ve said, ‘Well you’re Indian, you have to rap in Hindi and be Bollywood, otherwise it won’t work.’ But Batta has decided to stick to his own brand of Tupac-influenced rap to break through the idea of what a rapper should or shouldn’t be. “I don’t look like a ‘typical rapper’ but I feel in a way that works in my advantage,” says Batta.

http://rollingstoneindia.com/the-asoka-dont-put-me-in-a-box/

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Win This War!

Win This War

Coming out of the gates with my guns blazing! The official first single off “Lions In The West” arrives today. It’s called “Win This War” and features the talented Naia Kete (from NBC’s The Voice). Produced by super producer RawKey!

DOWNLOAD: Win This War – The Asoka featuring Naia Kete (Right Click – Save File As)

Listen To The Fortune Cookie…

Fortune Cookie

 I always love going back home to Detroit. I cherish every opportunity I get to spend time with my family, eat home cooked meals, and shoot the shit with childhood friends… It’s where I grew up. Is it sad? Sure. Detroit’s not the easiest place to grow up in. But over the years I developed a bond… not with the city necessarily, but with the people.

I feel equally as attached to Los Angeles, a place where I spent my early childhood, the city that I currently reside in. I love the culture… the liveliness of it, it’s the city that feeds artists! It’s a place where creativity is actually encouraged!

Growing up in Detroit, as a songwriter, was far from easy. Success, especially in the arts, seemed to be a far fetched fantasy to most. I was told that I was crazy. I even had a high school teacher, put in a question on our final exam, that was related to my aspirations with music. I believe the question was worded something like, “The worst rapper in the world is…” True or False. The week I was offered my very first record deal, my best friend told me his parents didn’t want him to hang out with me anymore because I was “corrupting him with my music.” Countless arguments with my father about how I was throwing my life away. If I had a dollar for every time… well, you get the picture.

Going back to Detroit last week made me realize the last few years have been really good to me.  I’ve been blessed with a great team of supporters: I work on new music daily with my favorite producer and write songs with artists that I grew up listening to. It’s a trip sitting in the studio with an artist you grew up on!! And then there are those sweet sweet full page write ups from Maxim, Rolling Stone, Blender and even MTV.com praising the kid! One even comparing our work to Hans Zimmer’s.

Anyways, I tend to ramble on a bit. Long story short… I got a fortune cookie in Detroit… and I hope it’s right!