Desi-Hall 101: Get to Know Roach Killa

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January 27, 2012

Words by DJ Rekha
As noted in our “Ten Dancehall Songs To Ram a Desi Dancefloor” countdown the other day, dancehall plays big in the South Asian diaspora, and has been a major influence on its own sound, bhangra. For that reason, we’ve extended bhangra bossโ€”and the author of that Toppa Top 10 listโ€”a regular spaceย  here to spotlight Desi artists forging links between the music of the West Indies and that of India and its neighbors, or what our own Eddie STATS has dubbed “Desi-hall.” First up on Rekha’s agenda is Toronto via Libya and Pakistan’s Roach Killa, who’s set to make his US debut this week in New York City.

It is an unwritten rule that any new bhangra joint must be blessed by the ragga stylings of Roach Killa. Born in Libya to Pakistani parents, and raised in Toronto, Roach Killa is a globetrotter who rolls deep with dancehall heavyweights like Spragga Benz and rising Punjabi stars like Garry Sandhu in equal measure. Even the Godfather of the desi raggamuffin sound, Apache Indian, has collaborated with the MC, who has a million-plus YouTube hits.
Here is a quick primer on his range and style, which includes hip-hop and dancehall flows. Catch him tonight at Brooklyn Bowl and at Basement Bhangra at SOBs on Thursday, Feb. 3.