Author: Briana Ellison
Last month, hip-hop artist Anik Khan released his latest single “Renegade.” The song is the first new music from Queens, New York, native – who describes his sound as “curry chicken meets collard greens – since his 2015 EP “I Don’t Know Yet.”
The song starts off with a drum-led beat that gradually fades to full volume with a warped voice covering it. Khan begins his first verse confidently, with the bravado of one who knows – and is proud of – their skills, worth and identity. And that’s exactly what Khan is and what “Renegade” is about. A powerful and content anthem about pride in one’s heritage and, again, identity.
Khan, originally from the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, infuses his music with references and influences from his home country: one of the first lines includes a line of Arabic. Khan discusses the immigration his family made from Dhaka to the United States when he was young, with pointed references to food and Bangladeshi traditions.
On the larger scale, “Renegade” is an example of how one should never be ashamed of where they come from and who they are. It’s a testament to everyone who has had similar experiences as Khan: leaving their home country to travel to a new place with a completely unfamiliar culture. “Renegade” is also a biting rebuke to those who refuse the influx of new cultures and new people into their lives, those who fail to see the value in diversity and the idea of a “melting pot.”
Khan perfectly fuses the beats of modern hip-hop with traditional Bangladeshi music to create a song that’s heavy on self-pride, high on self-esteem and critical of cultural appropriation and erosion. The beauty of “Renegade” is that it’s one of the best and most hard-hitting songs currently out there that deals with these issues: an appealing track with an even stronger message, a recipe that Khan seems to have perfected. Here’s hoping the follow-up to “Renegade” and the EP “I Don’t Know Yet” do the same.