There are very few universal languages in this world. One is music—no matter the words, a good song can connect on a personal level. So when Anik Khan starts fluctuating between dialects throughout his breakout release Kites, it feels natural.
Khan was raised in the international patchwork quilt of Queens, after all. And the album itself is defined by its far-reaching collaborations: established producers like Jarreau Vandal appear alongside rising artists like Yonkwi. Khan also leaned on producers around the world to create beats with local instruments, rather than samples. The texture shows up beautifully in the final product—a metaphorical ride through Queens changes tone and style as different neighborhoods pass by, ending in the heartsick, iconic title track.
In our latest Who Is? video, Anik Khan welcomed us to Queens. (He's also headlining a hometown show on July 18). We visited his favorite hookah spot, stopped by his family's place, and drove the route detailed in Kites. The son of immigrants from Bangladesh, Anik Khan is making music for a reason—his Queens is under attack, and these songs are historical accounts of how and why it's happening—as well as an ode to the family and people that got him this far. The immigrant experience is embedded in his music, and the industry is finally waking up to its importance.