Issue 25 / Raxstar In The Raw: Our Chat With The Globally Renowned Brit Rap Star

Raxstar In The Raw: Our Chat With The Globally Renowned Brit Rap Star

Nov 20, 2015

British rapper Raxstar opens up to ANOKHI Magazine about connecting with international audiences, providing his music for free, how he channels his personal experiences and how his new single "Four Seasons" is a reflection of who he truly is.

The desi urban music scene has been brimful of talent internationally for over a decade providing a much needed breath of fresh air and a voice for the global desi community outside of South Asia and the monster machine known as Bollywood. After all, South Asian identities, experiences and communities don't just exist in the seven countries known to originate all aspects of South Asian religion and cultural customs, the diaspora plays a crucial role as well. In fact, it's the diaspora that has challenged the typical notion of what is considered true "South Asian identity" and the experiences and art that stem from it continue to push that challenge forward. 

What's so refreshing about that art and the experiences and stories it shares with the world? It's the innate formation of personal and cultural identity and the artistic work of South Asian musician Raxstar is an example of that. Raxstar's brand new single "Four Seasons" is on the verge of release and there is much more to his music then what your ears may pick up in the first listen.

Raxstar is a British rapper from Luton Town who first came to prominence in 2005 with his producing partner Sunit. Together the duo created many hit singles which the pair have come to be known for including "Bandook", "Jaaneman" and now their upcoming single "Four Seasons." When asked about his artistic and personal growth from the start of his career to his most current single, Raxstar reveals there is much more confidence to what he creates now than before. "Artistically and personally, I just know myself more and I know what I am doing now a bit better too. Often times you are facing a struggle of trying to figure out how you fit in the world and now I feel like I am getting more comfortable with that. Also, being a South Asian rapper, and British at that, is a unique place for me to be in and I feel like I am paving the way."

The cover art of Raxstar's brand new single "Four Seasons."
Photo Credit: LostRocket

However, it's not just the construction of identity that flows through the work of Raxstar, it's his deep intent to make a personal connection with those that consume it which makes his music and artistry true to who he is and unique to his listeners. Take for example his 2005 breakout single "Keep It Undercover" which documented young love and the internal conflict when following your heart. While the song may chronicle love and experiences that we all know and feel day in and day out – they are not only subtle reflections of his life, but they are strong analogies of the founding fabric of personal identity that has made him who he is. "My music and my lyrics are an ongoing discussion of my identity throughout various phases of my life," says Raxstar. "'Keep It Undercover' was about love and having to keep it a secret from your parents because they don't understand. While the song literally talks about me being in love with a woman, I was actually referring to music and how I felt I needed to shelter that part of who I was from my parents because of the expectations they had of me."

Music Video "Keep It Undercover" by Raxstar and Sunit.
Video Credit:

While "Keep It Undercover" was written and released in 2005, nearly eight years later, Raxstar still feels his relationship with art and parental expectations are still relevant to his music and who he is today. "There are so many people in our community who aren't following their passions in creative fields, what they want to do, because they have expectations from their culture on what they should be doing and how they should fit the typical and accepted job titles of doctors and lawyers that are held in high regard," he says. "Now, I know who I am and I feel more comfortable. My culture, where I am from and how I have come up and even my identity as a British South Asian as well is something that has come to full fruition. I have to represent this all and I feel very comfortable doing so now."

Raxstar poses for Roots Gear Clothing Co.
Photo Credit:

But with this personal connection and experience making its way into an artistic medium one would expect an insurmountable amount of pressure to deliver with each new song. But for Raxstar the artistic process of putting his experiences into music is an act of letting go. In fact the process is so deep and profound that as he pens the lyrics to his songs and creates melodies he slowly gets through this experience one word and note at a time. "The process of writing and creating music alleviates me and relieves from a lot of the emotions pertaining to the personal situation that has inspired that particular song. So by the time it releases, you experience a bit of a disconnect. I am past the experience and I can sing and talk about it without an emotional connection." 

Preview clip of Raxstar's upcoming single "Four Seasons."
Song Credit: Soundcloud – Raxstar

So how much of "Four Seasons" is reflective of that process of letting go? "It was written quite a while ago. My personal emotional process has already been completed and it's more about putting out a piece of art rather than the therapy of it at this point" says Raxstar. "When I wrote it, it was reflective of an experience and emotion at that time, but now it's about artistically representing that point in time through creativity." 

"Once I process my emotions and put them on paper and then in music form, apart of me lets it go, it's no longer mine, it becomes someone else's. It now belongs to the listeners." 

It's the relationship with the listeners that Raxstar truly appreciates, and his ability to connect with them is something he cherishes. Recently, Raxstar made a trip to Toronto where he made an appearance and performed for an exclusive downtown Toronto crowd at Urban Desi, a nightclub party created by U.K. urbanite turned Torontonian Sib Arora that attracts a South Asian crowd that appreciates a urban-fusion sound, one that speaks to their cultural roots and to who they are now and where and how they live. "The duality is an integral part of my identity as a British Asian. The culture I inherited and the one I was brought up in are worlds apart but there are millions like me who are also trying to figure it all out. Music is my creative outlet to explore that journey."

Raxstar on stage at Toronto's Urban Desi event in November 2015.
Photo Credit: Sib Arora

The relationship with his listeners does not stop there. In fact, Raxstar ensures that accessibility is never difficult or compromised when it comes to his art by providing his music for free. In a world of music royalties, subscription fees and monthly legal battles regarding copyright and artist royalties, providing your music for free may sound absurd, but not to Raxstar. In fact the artist sees it as a way to gift his fans and establish a strong connection with those that appreciate his music. "With music, you cannot stop people from finding a way to consume it or from finding a way to share it. If I like a song, I will share it with people I love . . . if I love it I want others to as well so I can only understand how listeners would feel if they enjoy, connect or resonate with a particular track."

Raxstar connecting with audiences at Toronto's Urban Desi event in November 2015.
Photo Credit: Sib Arora

"As an artist I feel there should be a balance. What I do is considered a service, I create music for others to enjoy and I want them to enjoy it without barriers. Giving my music for free is a gift for my fans and for listeners out there."

So what's the message Raxstar is gifting his fans with each new song one may ask. It's only natural to assume that with so much artistic and personal integrity in each song and a sense of self gained with a struggle lost through his music, there must certainly be a message he wants to send fans and listeners paying attention to him. "To be honest, even the idea of a listener taking anything meaningful away from my music is enough for me because music can easily go in one ear and out the other. So if certain lyrics resonate with listeners and they find meaning, truth and identity in it, it's beautiful and it's something I wholeheartedly appreciate."

Main Image Photo Credit:

Watch the official music video for "Four Seasons" below:

Daniel Pillai


Daniel is the Digital Media Manager for ANOKHI MEDIA and the host for ANOKHI's entertainment channel, PULSE TV. As part of the dream team, Daniel manages all multiple channels under ANOKHI’s portfolio, while also training new on-air talent, and showing budding p...


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