On his newest single, Anik Khan paints a scene worth savoring: parking lot smoke sessions, foreign gold, and chicken dinner. "Habibi," or "beloved" in Arabic, pays homage to the bodega owners of Arabic and Yemeni descent in New York City.
The banger effectively doubles as a callback to the Queens artist's Muslim roots. Diverse instrumentation (courtesy of aywy, Raj Makhija, and Anik himself) reflects a web of influences, ranging from the stateside bustle of urban life to the Middle Eastern drums bubbling through the chorus. At the end of the day, though, Khan crafted this piece with one everyday staple in mind.
"'Habibi' is about celebrating culture and the bonds you create with your loved ones and strangers alike," Anik told us over e-mail. "My focus is on synthesizing seemingly different, yet similar, sounds together. I wanted to make a song about the habibis in the New York delis who stand behind the counter and always serve the neighborhood. The Habibi is the plug."
The song is yet another step forward in Anik's ongoing arch of releases; his previous single, the Zane Lowe-premiered "Columbus," was a similarly charged, high-octane record, both a no-smiles sing along and history lesson. Khan's story is a complex one through which larger-than-life struggles are channeled—his voice carries weight, and his pain resonates. Fortunately, we'll be hearing a lot more of it soon: A full-length project is on the horizon, titled Kites.
"Kites is a holistic perspective of the things that are important to me, like my family and my loved ones, and it's also the soundtrack to the borough where I grew up, from one end of the subway to the other."
Give Anik's latest effort a spin below, and stay on the lookout for more material as Kites, approaches.