Shahrukh, Kareena, and...Akon?

Saba wrote about  in a previous Motley Monday post (Borrowing Beats) that popular Hindi songs often sample beats, or even straight up rip off a tune from another Hindi, Arabic, or even a Western song. Well, Western pop is guilty of these same sampling practices. Nobody can deny that Hindi songs are instantly toe-tappingly, head-boppingly infectious. Us brown girls have known this since birth, since the soundtrack of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and other filmy songs are genetically imprinted on us. The universal appeal of Bollywood music is evident – can you blame Western musicians for wanting a piece of the action? Read on for a list of East meets West collaborations and (sometimes questionable) sampling.

The most recent foray is by American popstar Akon. He performed in India this past April for The Venky’s Akon Live in Concert dates – of which the proceedings went to NGO “Save the Children India.” He also collaborated on the Ra.One soundtrack, with the song “Chammak Challo.” When I first heard it, I didn’t know it was going to be on a soundtrack for a Hindi movie, I just thought Akon came out with a hindi song. I immediately burned it onto a CD and blasted it in my car with the windows down. I was also very impressed with his Hindi (Akon has better pronunciation than I do). However the sight of Shahrukh lip syncing to Akon…gives me brain cramps.

Akon “Chammak Challo” 

Although this is the most recent East meets West collaboration, Akon isn’t the first one to experiment with Hindi music to spice up his songs. Does anybody remember Timbaland’s “Indian Flute”? I sure do.

Timbaland “Indian Flute”

Can’t forget about Redman and Erick Sermon’s “React.” This song samples “Chandhi Ka Badan,” performed by Meena Kapoor and while the beat is dope – if you actually understand hindi it might be less dope. The lyrics translate to something like “If someone wants to commit suicide, what can we do?”

Redman/Erick Sermon “React”

Um, what? Also I’m not sure why an Arab girl Erick Sermon scoops up would be confessing her suicidal thoughts to him in Hindi. Moving on, this tune brings me right back to high school. Rakim and Truth Hurts’ “Addictive.”

Truth Hurts “Addictive”

This song was a hit in the States, but it got the artist Truth Hurts and her label slapped with a 500 million dollar lawsuit for sampling Lata Mangeshkar’s “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” without permission. Oops. The juxtaposition of Mangeshkar’s sweet tunes with phrases like “I like it rough” and “you make me scream” were also cited as offensive.

Sidenote: Is anybody else irritated that the last two music videos, and the lyrics in “React” lump Southeast Asia and the Middle East into a single cultural mass of hot brown girls and belly dancing? Get your stereotypes right rappers. Jeez.

Last but not least, my favorite number that they still play in clubs that gets everyone dancing.

Panjabi MC feat. Jay-Z “Beware of the Boys”

Happy Motley-Labor Day-Monday my friends! Since you’re not in school, and you may not even have work today, kick back, eat some tandoori barbecue and jam.