Although many will identify Anik Khan as the Bengali rapper from Queens, he sees himself as the Queens rapper who just happens to be brown.
Anik’s new EP Kites dropped just last week and I had a great conversation with him at Firdos, a hookah and cafe spot in Astoria Queens. You might be inclined to assume that Anik’s music will naturally resonate in Bangladesh and India, but interestingly he mentioned that it’s because of artists like Drake that his music will have a chance to be popular there.
Having the same cultural background doesn’t give you a free pass.
Your identity is in there with who you are but your music has to be flame.
He doesn’t feel the need to prove himself because he is a rapper of Bengali heritage, but he does feel the need to be better and he does want the current scope of music to be inclusive of the culture he represents. He doesn’t need any sympathy or favors however, he will simply accomplish this by being a great rapper, and hopes his story can shed light to a culture that may not have as much light as it can.
The positive take away here is that If you are really good at what you do, people will show you love regardless of your background. Whether it’s Jackie Robinson, Aziz Ansari, Eminem or Masahiro Tanaka, the great ones have always helped bring the world a little bit closer together.