On July 23rd, Raja Kumari released her new single, “Firestarter,” via Mass Appeal India “in partnership with Capitol Records.” The accompanying music video was “directed by MTV VMA titleholder Michael Garcia.” In addition to being a rapper and musician herself, Kumari is “the host and curator of her own Apple Music Beats 1 show, The New India, where she spotlights some of India’s brightest new talents. Kumari is a series judge and mentor on MTV Hustle, India’s first rap-reality show, a global face of MAC Cosmetics, and the first female rapper to be signed to Mass Appeal India.” In other words, Raja Kumari is amazing.
“Firestarter” is amazing as well. The use of Indian classical music in the beat gives the song an energy that hasn’t ever been felt before, and while one could argue its lyrics are simply “boast rap,” Raja Kumari has said “The song represents being reborn and rising from the ashes like a phoenix and the need to constantly reinvent yourself and not being fearful about it.” When there is nothing but destruction around, it’s important to focus on how to recover. Kumari has given an exceptionally unique anthem to the world recovering from (and still going through) a pandemic, and she should be commended for it.
“Born in California to Indian parents who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s, Kumari has been on a relentless mission is to create art that blends her Indian roots with her American upbringing, with standout tracks that fuse the rhythms she absorbed as a trained classical Indian dancer with her passion for hip-hop.” This fusion of rhythm and genre is what every musician could be striving for, but there is also a place for those who want to stay in their own “lane.” Raja Kumari is not one to stay in a “lane,” though. She is pushing boundaries by synthesizing the two music traditions that made her, and I can’t recommend her and “Firestarter” enough.
Let us know what you think about Raja Kumari and “Firestarter!” Be sure to watch the Michael Garcia-directed music video below!