It’s easy to stick to your guns when you’re in a position of power. If you’re still up-and-coming, it’s a whole lot harder. But that hasn’t stopped Raja Kumari from refusing to sacrifice key components of her identity as she launches her hip-hop career.
Although she was born and raised in Claremont, California—on the outskirts of L.A. County—Raja’s upbringing was deeply influenced by her family’s Indian roots. Her earliest musical persuasions were derived from traditional Indian dances. And while her musical style today has a strong hip-hop vibe, those Indian influences help shape her rhythm and flow.
But when Raja initially decided to embark on a career in music, she was immediately told to change herself entirely—to abandon many aspects of her more “exotic” cultural background, including her name. The world of hip-hop can be very eclectic, but from Raja’s experience, it’s apparent that some cultures are still on the outside looking in.
Raja wasn’t having it, and her persistence paid off. Today, Raja is building a musical style that marries a classical Indian sound with contemporary hip-hop beats, and it would be a big understatement to say that it’s very unique. Even though you may not know her name yet, you will soon (especially since she has no plans of changing it).
To hear more of Raja Kumari’s story and her Indian-American hip-hop flavor, check out the latest installment of Uncharted above, brought to you by Honda.