Anik Khan On Tunnel Vision and Finding Contentment

Anik Khan is still a relatively new name to the scene, dropping a debut EP last year, ‘I Don’t Know Yet’, he set tongues a wagging for his smooth delivery and on point musical energy.

A Queen’s rapper, of Indian, Bengali descent to be exact, although it earmarks him for interest, what’s of particular interest is that he could just be cutting a lane that’s setting off a new wave of rappers of South Asian origin to bless the scene alongside ‘Swet Shop Boys’. With his latest release ‘Cleopatra’, Anik Khan links with the productive genius of Melo X tighter than a Mafioso’s grip around a debt owing weakling’s neck ‘where’s my paper?’

While we’ve got ‘Cleopatra’ on repeat, of course there was no way we weren’t going to try and get some time with the 27 year old, to talk about; music (duh), rolled up jeans and ‘getting jiggy with it’!

On LL Cool J, rolled jeans and an older sister create musical passion…

I think my passion for music actually came from growing up around my family. Every couple of weeks we would go to certain family friends and we would just be singing and dancing – that was an important foundation in my music passion – for my dad it was about bonding with family and so that whole ‘thing’ he made sure we would go.

So growing up I was always entertaining others but it was my older sister who was really important in that whole passion and I will never forget this day. I remember she came home with one of her jeans rolled up coming back from a fucking LL Cool J concert. She put me on everything from; LL Cool J, Will Smith, she taught me how to do the ‘getting jiggy with it’ dance!

All those things combined, having my family always around and then me entertaining them, my sister introducing this amazing genre of music that just influenced me it was all these things combined that brought about this passion.

When Family say; ‘find another career’…

My family absolutely did not want me at first to get into music! However, I don’t think that is anything to do with culture in some respects. I think if you tell most people/parents that you want to fucking go into a career like music, where the chances of success are like one out of a hundred, they will also say ‘no’. I think that any adult caring for their child would have a concern you would be like, ‘are you sure this is what you want to?’ Things like this don’t happen for the most part and so as parents they are surely wanting to give advice that is practical – my parents were practical and so a music career was not their top choice.

But I just kept at it and kept fucking doing this music and my parents eventually just gave up and they just decided to support me – to be honest there was just no way I was going to give up.

Pacifying family fears…

I always tried to keep it down with my family and so I showed them what could happen. I told them that I could get an education from pursuing music as an engineer and how I could make money from engineering. A few years later however I realised how I hate engineering but at the time it sounded good. From there it opened their eyes and they saw the fruitions of my hard work from getting work and name checks here and there and they realised it was part of my life – now they support me fully.

On tunnel vision and contentment…

When I was younger like 5 years ago it was strictly tunnel vision – it was ‘music music music’ but now I am older.

At this point I’m content with not giving a fuck – if that makes sense. Like I’m at a point where I am a lot older than some of the cats who are doing well, like I’m going to be 28 in January. I got to a point where I had been chasing this dream to give myself this amazing life and I have lost out in some ways and now my perspective is that music is my life and it will probably always play a part in my life but I am not going to have this anxiety of ‘will I make it?’ My mentality is that if I make it then that is great if I don’t, I am cool with that because the most important thing in my life are my loved ones, my family.

When Contentment brings success?

I have no idea if things are kicking off right now because of my attitude to success and what it means have changed or if this is exactly what was meant to happen. I’ve not really tried to think about it like that and getting featured in all these publications is a really nice thing but I come from this super humble background and my country is one where humility is a big thing so I take these things like that. At the end of the day these things are just the beginning and at the end of the day there is still so much to do in terms of this whole music thing.

Sampling, Melo-X and balance…

There were two different inspirations to Cleopatra.

Firstly, from a production stand point I always wanted to sample the track and use it.

From a lyrical standpoint I was just in this place where Melo and I were just talking about the whole immigrant shit.

For the last three years there was no one I could think of who could flip the record in the way that I wanted it to be flipped. A lot of people have sampled South Asian music but they have really leaned very heavily on the sample. My whole direction to my culture and using music from my heritage is to have the sample be a part of the record but even if you took the sample out of the track it was still be a whole record. I got with Melo X and he is such a genius. I went over to his crib in Brooklyn and I gave him the sample and within in like four hours we virtually had the whole record done.

From a lyrical standpoint I was just in this place where Melo and I were just talking about the whole immigrant shit. Melo was talking about being super proud of being Jamaican and I was of course talking about being super proud of being Bengali. Many people do not know how much of a connection there is between our cultures – there are so many Indians over in the Caribbean. Anyway the talk made me start thinking about out situations. If I can have the blessing to be able to talk about these issues, then all want to shine a light for all these youths and connect things and show we are more alike than we really think.

Wrapping up with a non music question…

I am super into fantasy and there is a book called ‘Assassin’s Apprentice’ by Robin Hobb it’s like 9 books long it’s ridiculous – I’ve missed train stops because of that one book but it is great! Another book that is ‘normal’ (I expect) is by a fantastic author called Mira Jacob it’s called, A Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing and it is a beautiful book highly recommend it.