Migration complicates identity. Many people of color born in the diaspora are often dogged by the challenge of reconciling their blurred identities rendering them half this, half that, but always the other. The Swet Shop Boys are a half-this, half-that transatlantic hip-hop trio, featuring the increasingly eminent British-Pakistani actor and rapper Riz MC (whose meteoric rise has earned him credits in films like “Four Lions,” “Nightcrawler,” “Star Wars: Rogue One” and the HBO miniseries “The Night Of”), American-Indian rapper Heems, and British producer, Redinho, whose ominous and genre-bending music provides the perfect soundscape for the group’s lyrical attacks. Their debut album, “Cashmere” (2016), offers a humorous and ostentatious celebration of diversity and duality, poking fun at the British Empire, airport security, Hare Krishnas, and Donald Trump. The Swet Shop Boys’ songs are often situated in in-between places such as airports, where people are often subordinated to dehumanizing and impersonal political protocols. The title itself refers to Kashmir, an intensely contested region squeezed between India and Pakistan, and repeatedly deprived of its right to self-determination. The comprising songs are regularly punctuated with sarcastic and pithy punch lines, like this one from “T5”: ”TSA always wanna burst my bubble. I always get a random check when I rock the stubble.”… Read full this story
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