Queens rapper Anik Khan immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh with his family when he was four years old.
Throughout his career, he's been outspoken about wanting to represent the immigrant story through his music, and that's never come into focus as sharply as it is right now. As President Donald Trump rolled out his controversial immigration ban last week, Khan set aside his plans and reevaluated what was important.
"For the last few months, I've been working on my next project, and today I was supposed to release a new single from it," he tells Pigeons & Planes. "I'd been building to that moment all month. However, this weekend, while watching how the new immigration ban was affecting my family and loved ones and participating in the rallies, I realized that my project could wait. I needed to put out this song."
"'Columbus' is a song about immigration, and urges us all to come together, regardless of race or religious affiliation, to overcome historical injustice," Khan continues. "This song is bigger than me. The reason things changed last minute is because I think I have a responsibility to speak about what's going on in the world and being a voice for a body of people that doesn't necessarily have one."
Recorded a year ago, this song has been sitting in Khan's back pocket for awhile, but it's never felt as relevant as it does right now.
"'Columbus' was made to celebrate the people that made this country instead of the person who 'founded' it," he says. Listen to "Columbus" and hear Anik's chat with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 below.