In Conversation With ‘Punkstah’


Bangladeshi Hip Hop music is going places, with two Bangladeshi hip hop songs even making their world debut in ‘Extraction’, the action film based on India and Bangladesh, released on Netflix last week. The two songs were ‘No Boundaries’ and ‘Cypher Bangla 2k16’.Dipto Paul talked exclusively with rapper ‘Punkstah’ about his career in the music biz. Punkstah, whose real name isIfteakharHossainIfty, is one of the performers of’Cypher Bangla 2k16′.

DP: Hello Brother! How are you passing your days during isolation and can you tell us what’s keeping you busy right now?

P: Hello man! I’m busy with my studies, taking care of myself and my family and especially spending more and more time with my music. Being at home all the time now has given me a huge opportunity to express my creativity as well as upgrading on what I already know.

DP: So why did you choose hip hop and not any other genre of music?

P: Frankly, I chose hip hop because since childhood I very much loved writing which is something I still do. I was trying to redefine myself on the art of telling stories by poems or songs. And I found that there is no better way to do that than hip hop.This genres howI can express things freely and openly.

DP: Who has inspired you personally?

P: You can say Eminem inspired me towards hip hop. I can remember from my childhood that my teacher once gave me a CD which had a lot of Bengali, English and Hindi songs. I used to listen to the songs and it was there I discovered Eminem and I was amazed to hear how fast and smoothly he expressed his thoughts. That was the moment I fell in love with this genre. Apart from Eminem, Bangladeshi acts like Stoic Bliss, Uptown Lokolz, Deshi MCs, DJ RAF have genuinely inspired me make my own music.

DP: How did you get involved with Extraction? P: I still can’t believe our song ‘Cypher Bangla 2k16’ isin a Hollywood movie. I never thought that the Bangladeshi underground hip hop community would perform for Hollywood someday! I’d like to thank DeshiHipHop and DJ RAF because without them our song would have never gone there.The production team for Extraction actually reached out to DesiHipHop because of the story demand. It’s a great achievement for us as well as for Bangladesh.


DP: Do you have any suggestions for other Bangladeshi hip hop artists so that they can also perform internationally some day?

P: Yeah! Of course! The main point I want to share is that often the musicians follow an easy way to produce a song. Like, after finishing the lyrics of a song, a lot of artists often download a beat from online and produce the song which is unoriginal and frankly, a bad move. One will never reach an international platform by using other peoples’ work. So my suggestion will be try to create your own beats or take help from a music producer, pay them for their work and only then make the song. If you copy others, you won’t get very far.

DP: Do you have any projects coming up soon? Anything exciting you can tell us?

P: Yeah, two of my friends and I have started working in a project named Lost In Sounds.We are including the work of some of the best hip hop artists in Bangladesh in the album so that our community can grow rapidly.  Beside this, I personally finished writing some new lyrics and we are working on a campaign on COVID-19 awareness with the band Exhale. Inc. So during this pandemic, stay home and stay safe everybody. Thank you!


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