In Conversation With “Black Zang”
By Dipto Paul
Asiful Islam Sohan, commonly known as Black Zang, has been doing Hip-Hop in Bangladesh ever since the very term Hip-Hop was not introduced in the country. Bangladesh’s hip-hop community started in the early 2000s, when young adults began rapping for fun. Passing more than one decade with Hip-Hop, this legendary Hip-Hop artist of Bangladesh performed in different international segments where he represented the Bangladeshi Hip-Hop community worldwide. Now, the artist is busy with some of his upcoming social media programs to develop Hip-Hop Culture in Bangladesh. I tried to find out more about the artist.
To start things off, why did you choose to rap as your genre?
Rap, or hip hop, is a unique way to express yourself. I have always wanted to be unique and as a child I would always immerse myself in creative pursuits. I was introduced to hip hop as a teenager and I felt an instant connection with the music. My crew mate, Big Spade, started a crew back in 2008 called ‘Uptown Lokolz’ for rappers who could rap in Bengali. We studied hip hop’s history as well as the roots of our own music. This is how I got started.
How did you choose the identity of Black Zang?
I developed Black Zang as an alter-ego to who I am, Asiful Islam Sohan. Black Zang is a vessel for all the issues and struggles faced by the common man. Sohan is an identity the people closest to me knows me as, the rest of the world knows me as BZ and I love being BZ.
Tell us more about your current planning and your crew.
I’m working on a few tracks but it’s all very low-key right now. I’m more focused on Season 2 of DetosRapstar. There are lots of new projects coming up for me, so I’m very positive about the future.
What are your future plans with your musical career?
This year we have a lot of projects in Bangladesh so we will be staying in the country. Lots of agencies are approaching us for musical content so this year we have our hands full. A big shout out to What’s on UK for this interview and we’re very grateful for the influence we now have on mainstream Bangladeshi culture.
What made you decide to work in fashion as well?
Being in music also gave me the opportunity to develop my own clothing brand. I have my own line called Black Diamond which I launched in 2016. This year I have plans to re-launch the brand with new designs in the summer. We are trying to establish a hip hop lifestyle in Bangladesh so aside from the music, we are expanding into other areas that cater to that lifestyle.
what do you see for the future of hip hop in Bangladesh? Do you have any advice for kids aspiring to be rappers?
The youth need to be disciplined and work hard towards their goal since they will face a lot of obstacles. The music scene in Bangladesh is becoming more global and there are plenty of opportunities to be successful. I had the opportunity to see how international brands are promoting Bangladeshi music so the future looks very promising. I would like to stop by saying that we should support newcomers in every creative field because the youth will take the nation forward.
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