31/08/2023Chicago's Lapgan Resurfaces With Another Beat-Laden Epic Digging Deep Into South Asian Music

We don't need no e-du-ca-tion! Um, wait, that didn't come out the way it was supposed to. What we meant to say was that education and Western education in particular as well as the way that a certain view on history is taught by those with a well-known colonial past, is and has been insufficient to say the least. Or as the release notes to Chicago-based producer/beatmaker Lapgan's latest sonic epic state: "Western education is often a sanitised account of colonialism that erases (or at least disregards) the rich histories of oppressed countries and people." And we could not agree more, seeing as we, too, have made it our mission, to build a platform for those artists and genres that remain underrepresented as opposed to or rather due to the omnipresent Anglo-American hegemony over popular culture. But the times are a changing and the tables are turning and sounds that were previously deemed obscure are increasingly being rediscovered and championed around the world, tirelessly unearthed and aired by avid collectors, diggers and musicologists and eventually brought to the attention of a wider audience, thus substantially altering Western listening habits.

"History" is the title of Lapgan's latest feat, the follow-up record to his 2021-released beat tape "Duniya Kya Hai", which had us in a positive frenzy. Rooted in the teachings of hiphop, sampling and surgical recomposition in the spirit of Madlib and those who followed, Lapgan yet again rummages through South Asian crates with an emphasis on Indian and Pakistani music to produce a 19-track "imagined history and a musical thesis – a refutation of British colonialism through a tapestry of beats stitching together samples of Bollywood and Lollywood soundtracks, Tamil Film music, Marathi chants, flute-heavy Bengali religious music, and more." This time, he joins forces with Nishant Mittal of digginginindia fame to dig even deeper into South Asian musical history, retrieve impossible-to-find vinyl artefacts and work rare bits and pieces into his beat-iful narrative. Released on Veena Sounds, the new imprint of Himanshu "Heems" Suri (Das Racist, Swet Shop Boys) whose forthcoming album Lapgan also produced for, "History" tells another story: one that follows less of an agenda and more of a groove in an attempt to shed an alternative light on his ancestral past and "musical predecessors", and one that hopefully others will enjoy listening to and be curious to learn more about.

Mission accomplished. With a photo of Lapgan's grandfather gracing the album cover, adding a some extra street credibility to this work of heart, we cannot help but approve of the way this particular story is being told, while also acknowledging that although it, too, is simply another man's point of view, it does undoubtedly stand out from the crowd and will be sure to make itself heard. You can now stream the full saga below along with some fresh visuals. Class is in session.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom