Raafat Ullah aka Raf worked with Deshi MCs and co-produced the album, ‘Kata Taarer Bera’. He might be considered as one of the pioneers of Bangladeshi Hip-Hop. He founded DeshiRhymes.com and he is the Editor in Chief at DesiHipHop.com. Raf lives in the States and is gigging there as a DJ.
A few questions have been shot his way to get a better understanding of this musician.
- What is it you do exactly?
Raf: I am a man with a variety of things on my plate; an entrepreneur by day, and a musician and DJ by night. I’m a marketing professional by trade, so I handle a lot of the marketing at DesiHipHop.com, and I’m also the Editor in Chief there. So I get to deal with all of my passions one way or the other through my daily work.
- What drew you to this field of work?
Raf: As you can probably tell it comprises of all my passions. I’m a creative guy so I like to indulge in creative work as much as possible. I write a lot, I make music; I get creative with our marketing activities and so on.
- Did your family always support you?
Raf: Yes, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family, especially my two sisters who always has my back no matter what. Even my parents respect my creative endeavors, except during exam season!
- Who and what influenced your style?
Raf: I’ve had the privilege of working with some very talented people over the years. I definitely learned a lot from the people around me, as well as the music I listened to growing up. I always had an ear for music, and that little skill has kept me going all these years.
- What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Raf: I get to work with different kinds of music as a DJ, which is always fun, yet challenging. On top of that, as a producer, I spend a lot of time studying different types of musicians to know exactly what suits them. As a guy who thinks from the marketing aspect of things, it’s always a fun challenge to find ways to capture the audience’s attention.
- Among all the works that you have done so far, which one are you proud of the most?
Raf: ‘Kata Taarer Bera’, which I co-produced with Jasper Al-Rashid. It was an exceptional challenge, because it brought together so many talented artists in one album. It was a privilege to work with amazing rappers, musicians, singers, all at once.
And, what made it a success, I believe, is that we worked on it together. We all slaved away for hours in the Studio creating a work of art that we could all be proud of. I’ve met some of the most talented, dedicated musicians during the recording of that album. Experiences I will cherish forever.
- If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
Raf: I’d go for something completely different like classical music or Jazz. Both of those genres enticed me for the past few years, I’d love to learn the saxophone or something. That would be an accomplishment!
- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Raf: I think I would be an awesome movie producer, but that’s just my opinion.
- Where do you think Hip-Hop is going, in Bangladesh?
Raf: I see a future where Bangladeshi artists get well known outside of Bangladesh. Certainly, some of the artists are talented enough to make a HUGE impact in the entire Indian sub continent. That is one of the reasons we came up with DesiHipHop.com, so that we can provide artists in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, a fan base that comprises the entire region of South East Asia. It’s time to take our talents abroad and make a name for ourselves. I see Bangladeshi artists on MTV Asia in the near future; let’s make that happen, please! It’s about time!
Hip Hop is constantly growing. It’s changed a lot since the days when Stoic Bliss blessed us with ‘Light Years Ahead’, and then Deshi MCs changed the game with ‘Banned’, which followed by ‘Kata Taarer Bera’ added some value to the scene. When we were working on songs back in the days, we had to struggle a lot to find our audience. Now, there’s a huge audience tuning in everyday, and it’s about time the audience expands to a worldwide one!
- How is life in the U.S. doing for you?
Raf: It’s an everyday challenge, and I love challenges. So bring them on!
- How do you feel when you’re performing?
Raf: It’s exhilarating. It’s a kind of High that one cannot feel unless they rock a crowd full of people who are in tune with the music that you are playing. It’s an intense type of energy boost that even a thousand Red Bulls can never provide!
- Who do you want to work with in the future?
- How do you separate yourself from other artists?
Raf: When I DJ here in the US, I try to play music from a variety of genres and nations. I try to bring an ‘international’ feel into the show, and that has always worked well for me. Since it’s such a diverse country to begin with, adding a beat from South East Asia mixed with a popular American song gets the crowd riled up, always.
- Give a shout out to the readers.
Raf: I’d like to thank all of the leaders at YouthSparks, as well as all the readers. You guys are awesome. Dream big, dream high, and never settle for anything less than the best.