Robbi
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Robbi: Chicago's answer to South Asian American female hip hop. A student of old school rap (early Nas, KRS-One, etc.), Robbi mixes her personal experiences, afterthoughts, and brand of humor to deliver a chill flowing rhyme session. Her interview consisted of how she brings her art to the table, especially in an arena that's heavily dominated by males. Robbi's always ready to battle and even during her performance, she will dish it for the audience to become witnesses. Her fast pace delivery and clever humor makes it exciting to see where she takes her freestyle. However, when you take a step back and look at it from Robbi's p.o.v. - it's all business. She constantly goes out to promote her shows and one of the difficulties that she pointed out was people taking her seriously. Here you have not only an Indian female, but also someone who's shorter than 5 feet, and to add on - she's a rapper? But don't knock her till you check her out! Speaking of which - print this ticket for her next show to get $5 off
Check her out on Friday Night, September 1st at Spot 6 (3343 N. Clark, Chicago).

Thanks Robbi for being completely down to earth, honest, and showin' "That Asian Thing" support during your show!

-Jonald Reyes
"That Asian Thing" Documentary Film
www.thatasianthing.com
- www.thatasianthing.com


Ladies and Gentlemen, DaTongue Flow is proud to present one of Chi-Town's hidden jewels ready to
shine, one of the first solo females to grace the pages of DaTongue, shes tough and not afraid to speak
her mind but don't be scared of her persona, respect it! Haha...please welcome Robbi!

DaTongue: What's up Robbi! Let's get this party started! We hear you began writing at 8yrs old. Performed at a Mosque at the age of 15. Wow!.That is interesting stuff! Tell us about your youth? How did you start writing at such an early age and what were you writing about at that age?

ROBBI:
I started rapping because I needed an outlet to express myself since I was going through some rough times. Since I was bullied a lot for being Indian, I would rap about my bullies and even my racist teaches.

DT: How did it develop/transform to what it is now?

ROBBI:
During my high school years, I started becoming very religious, so I did these Islamic rap songs, but then I realized that preachers annoy the hell out of me and I didn't want to be one of those type of people.. so I stopped that and went into writing songs that everyone else can relate to.
DT: I understand you've been in quite a few rap battles which you have won. Which one of those would you say was the most rewarding? Why?

ROBBI:
The Anti-Truth Campaign Battle that I performed at a while back at UIC, there was this tall guy who kept roasting everyone with pre-writtens, it was funny cause nobody could tell that he just kept spitting prewrittens. When my turn came up to the final round, I kept rapping about how he was behaving on stage, like a real freestyle, he start choking, started sweating, and almost dropped the mic. Good thing his girlfriend was there to help his ego. It was the most rewarding because I proved to the people the difference between a fake rapper who pretends to freestyle and an actual freestyler. But something about a female rapper battling, starts alot of drama. I mean, I've literally seen big fat men cry infront of me and throw a temper tantrum after I roast em. But I've stopped battling now, I feel that battling helps a beginner to get a name for themselves, but I'm not a fan of it since I strongly believe it encourages hate.

DT: Who or what inspired you to do the type of music you do?

ROBBI:
I grew up in a racist white neighborhood that hated Indian people. I grew up with alot of depression, so I started making music to express my feelings so I don't loose my damn mind. I'm inclined to most alternative sound rather than just a straight up typical sound hiphop song - I like to mix it up a little bit with a more dark/electronic influence.
DT: Any current major or underground artists/producers you look up to? Any you would like to collaborate with?

ROBBI:
I look up to SidewalkSkolaz and Phillip Morris. I'm looking forward to collaborate with Famsquadilliana and Angelikka.
DT: One listen to your tracks and It's pretty clear you've been performing/writing seriously for a long time now. Yet you haven't added an album release to your resume? Why the wait?

ROBBI:
I rather get a mastered, professional, product than be in a rush to get it dropped. In this game, I've had to learn a lot of patience, and hopefully it will pay off.
DT: Lets talk about your upcoming debut. The streets want to know when is it dropping, whats the title of it and what can we expect from it?
The title is Speak and should be around early May the latest.
DT: Other than your debut what's on tap for 2007, any other upcoming projects?

ROBBI:
I will be starring in the documentary film, 'That Asian Thing" (www.thatasianthing.net)
Also you can find one of my tracks played in the movie "Leg Before Wicket" (www.legbeforewicket.org) which will be internationally released in theatres later this year. I will also be on channel 48 and Comcast Channel 148 in a few weeks (www.anjalitv.com) For more info and updates, check out my Myspace page - www.myspace.com/robbi
DT: You've been on local Chicago radio shows and your single 'Suffocation' is
receiving radio airplay as well as constant rotation in some of Chicago's night clubs. How important do you think it is nowadays to get on the radio or tv? Seems like the Internet is 'whats in'? Which do you think is more important?

ROBBI:
I think its important to be played in venues. College radio is good for the record, but when theres a bunch of ppl at club, and they start dancing to the song its a completely different feeling. Anyone can have their song on college radio, and I dont mean any disrespect to college radio, cuz i love and support them. But in the end, its what out on the streets.

DT: Ok, let's get into some semi-personal questions, I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but the gentlemen want to know! Haha…so how about we set the record straight? Is there a special someone in your life?

ROBBI:
Nope... unfortunately I don't have any time for relationships. I'll see whats up after my lp gets dropped!
DT: What's an ideal night like for Robbi? What would you do? Where would you chill?

ROBBI:
An ideal night would be going to a huge loft party somewhere in wicker park area, I'd probably be freestyling with a bunch of other rappers/dj's.

DT: Favorite drink? Alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

ROBBI:
Lemonade – for some reason I'm crazy about lemonade.

DT: Favorite spot to get some food in Chicago? Why?

ROBBI:
Sinbads on clark/belmont- their food is tasty and healthy. I love mediterrean food.

DT: Cd your currently listening to?

ROBBI:
New Order's Greatest Hits.

DT: Well that's about all the time we got but before we go…. any last words to your fans, doubters, critics or major labels out there.

ROBBI:
Many artists tend to forget the personality aspect of succeeding. Egocentric condescending behavior will only get you so far, even if your music is incredible people will not feel right going to your shows. Thats why its important to respect your fans and industry ppl. In a cut-throat industry, it is the most beneficial to work together, rather than backstabbing and isolation. Major record labels are a scam unless you go platinum. 9/10 times when an artist gets signed majorly, they fall in debt and get dropped from the label. To be successful, you have to have the drive within in your soul and be willing to sacrifice your life. If you sleep your way to the top or sell drugs with the producers chances are you will only be a one-hit wonder. I wanna thank my fans for supporting me and willing to think outside the box that is created from our brainwashing mainstream media .

http://www.datongue.com/Robbi.html
March 2007
- DaTongue Entertainment Inc


ROBBI's RHYME
By: Asjad Nazir
EASTERN EYE NEWSPAPER
www.easterneyeonline.co.uk
www.easterneyescotland.com

A LOT of women find it hard to balance their culture with their professional life.

Although American hip-hop artist Robbi has also found it difficult,
She has managed to strike a balance. After being transferred to a private Muslim school for her defiant behavior, the explosive rapper’s first performance was
In a mosque at the age of 15, when she recited an Islamic themed rap song.

Described as a china doll who is as tough as nails, the Chicago-based
Artist has overcome cultural pressures to win a number of rap battles, gained tremendous respect from the underground scene and shared the stage
with hip-hop superstar KRS-One. Her songs have been featured on many of the top US urban radio stations and she is currently working with a Grammy-certified producer on her debut album. In her first major interview in the UK, the rising star talks about rap,
Trying to making it big in America and her first album.


1) What first connected you to rap music?


The pattern of rhyming first connected me to rap music. It was always fun for me to listen to, I was around 8 years old when I started doing it myself. I got connected to the rhyming since I would use that to make myself feel better about the environment I was raised in.


2) Why choose rap, isn't it usually negative towards women?


Most of rap music is negative towards women, but conscious hip-hop actually isn't. Look at emcees like KRS-One, Common, Del The Funky Homosapien, Sage Francis, Atmosphere and A Tribe Called Quest to name a few! I like the vocal rap style because it's fun to create along with the wordplay, rhyme scheme, metaphors, and delivery.


3) How would you describe your style of music?


I would describe my style of hip-hop music as primarily alternative and electronically influenced.


4) What has your ride in the music industry been like so far?


My ride in the music industry has involved a huge investment of my money, time and energy with a lot of sexism and doubt encountered along the way. But the same people that doubted me before, are now asking me when my next show is


5) What is the biggest challenge of trying to make it in the music industry in the USA?


The biggest challenge of trying to make it in the U.S. music industry is overcoming fear and hate by staying motivated. People who are less successful than you will try to knock you down, and people who are more successful than you will try to do the same. Also, mainstream media in the U.S. is geared primarily towards Caucasian pop artists, or African-American artists if they belong to the 'Urban' genre. The South Asian community is yet to be significantly exposed in the music industry, so when mainstream bubblegum listeners see me they get surprised, like 'Indian people do American music?'


6 / 7) Is it true your first performance was in a mosque? How much has your religious upbringing affected your music?


Yes, my first performance was in a mosque! My religious upbringing influenced my songs to be pretty Islamic themed until I went to college and realized that there was another world out there, and that I can be positive rather than just preaching religion. But even now, it has influenced me to send more revolutionary ideas, since the U.S. government has always had a tendency to bash the Muslim religion in their media.


8) What has been your most memorable performance?


My most memorable performance was sharing the stage with hip-hop legend KRS-One at Chicago's Funky Buddha Lounge. His aura is refreshing and very motivating. That man IS hip-hop! He invited people to get up on stage and freestyle so my friends pushed me on stage, he told the crowd to jump up so they could see me perform and then I started jumping up too, it was a lot of fun


9) You have been described as tough as nails, is that true?


My unawareness to negativity and stubbornness drives me harder to stay in focus, which by default makes me look like I'm tough


10) Is it also true that you're trying to challenge traditional South Asian beliefs, if so what are they?


I don't think there's anything wrong with being family oriented. In fact, I think it's

very healthy. But when you're oriented with a family that's orienting your entire lifestyle and dictating exactly on how you should think, I think that's when it becomes ridiculous. For example, the whole pre-arranged marriage system is based on what the parents think of the person you're marrying and that the bride & groom should love each other after they get married. Also, in the traditional community, I've noticed that it's often seen as 'cute' when a South Asian woman speaks her mind, since we're not taken very seriously.


11) Can you tell us about the album you're working on?


A few of the songs on my debut album are straight up hip-hop sounding, while the rest are more alternative. All the songs written have been inspired by true stories!


12) Who is it aimed at?


My music is aimed at everyone, though some songs are easier to relate to if the listener has been confronted with depression, bullying, and deception.


13) What is the master plan?


My master plan is to make a mark in history, while inspiring others to work towards their goal no matter what others think and how hard they try to pull you down.




14) Which music producers would you most like to work with in the future?

Timbaland and Missy Elliot are definitely two musicians I'd love to work with in the future

15) Tell us something not many people know about you?


Most people don't know that when I get into my workaholic mode, I drink lots of lemonade!


16) You're featured in a documentary titled 'That Asian Thing', which is being screened across international film festivals in 2007. Can you tell us about that?


The theme behind the 'Asian Thing' documentary that I'm featured in is basically recognizing the Asian-American community as artists and documenting our responses to the mainstream media's perception on Asian-Americans. You can stay updated on it by going to www.thatasianthing.com.


17) Can you tell us who your five favorite hip-hop artists are, with a short reason for each?


My five favorite hip-hop artists are:


C-ray Walz – I love his voice, his messages, intelligence and world play.


Del The Funky Homosapien – He has great originality in his flow and concepts, and balances humor with realistic messages.


Common – His rhyme scheme and narration is very inspiring, I feel awakened when I listen to him.


MC Lyte – Her existence alone inspires me, I think she's the best female emcee out there and her skills are pretty clever


Atmosphere – He has a very personalized style, when he raps I feel like he's right in front of me in the same room

- THE EASTERN EYE -March 2007


Doin It Robbi Style

by Hilary RAWK





Robbi has been freestyle rapping since she was 8 years old and performing since she was 10.

With her tiny frame and just five-feet, two-inches, Indian rapper Robbi looks like a china doll. But don’t let her appearance fool you, this girl is tough as nails.

We hung out at my loft last weekend and talked about music, being a woman in the rap industry, and Indian culture. At one point, I walked over to my refrigerator, grabbed a handful of words from our poetry magnet set, threw them down on my kitchen counter, and Robbi freestyled fast and fresh and flawless.

So you said you started rapping when you were 8. . . how did that happen?

I actually did it when it wasn’t popular. People made fun of me cuz I was from the suburbs, and the only hip hop they knew about was MC Hammer, you know?

And I wasn’t trying to be cool or anything. It was mostly like self-defense. I was the only brownie in school, and people made fun of me like, “I saw your dad at the gas station.” (laughter) And I would respond with a rhyme, and people were like, “Oh, that’s cool!”

What’s your first musical memory?

Probably Dr Seuss. I think my dad or my brother, when they read it, they created a rhythmic pattern.

Tell me about your first performance.

You’re never, ever gonna believe where it was. It was in a mosque, Hilary. I was religious, so I wore the hijab (a traditional Islamic scarf). I’m rapping in my hijab in the mosque with the Moulana—the Moulana would be analogous to a priest—standing in the back of the room. But it was Islamic rap, so that was okay. You know, “Don’t do this, or you’ll go to hell.” Anyway, he was behind me and he was cracking up—he thought it was hilarious! So that was my first concert. I was like 15. But, see, that was seen as ‘cute,’ it wasn’t taken seriously. So as time progressed, the wondered why I kept doing shows. And people still think it’s a phase now. In our community, it’s seen as kind of a joke. Like ‘I’m a musician’ haha, okay. In the Asian community, music isn’t seen as a career, it’s seen as entertainment—it’s not traditional.

What about Bangra?

Bangra is a production, though. The production of it is great. It’s okay to be behind the scenes, but if you’re in front—especially with Indian women who are supposed to be quiet and stay at home—it’s just, it’s not traditional.

How does your family feel about your choice to be a musician?

At first they didn’t like it, but now they’re like, “She’s 25, what can we really do?” Plus they like it more if it’s popular. For example, when I was in college, they were like, “I don’t really know why you’re doing all of these shows.” So I told them, “Come to my next show. I’m getting paid, it’s gonna be a nice event at Northwestern Auditorium.” And they came! I got a standing ovation, everyone loved it. And they were like, “Oh, we’re so proud of you!” But it’s not something I’m going to try to make pretty for them. Because it’s not pretty.

Is there anything you absolutely won’t do?

I refuse to work with gangster rappers. One of Kanye West’s relatives who is really popular wanted to work with me, and I told him no. He was a gangster. He wanted me to be the ‘bitch’ of the crew. And I was like, “Why would you even approach me? I don’t understand.” I don’t do rap, I do more hip hop. I also sound different, too, I sound more alternative.

So where do you get your beats?

Right now I have a trance producer. It’s really good music. The music that he makes is so amazing—kinda like Moby or Robert Miles—but it’s so intricate and it’s so intelligent and it’s so beautiful that he makes hip hop look easy. He remixed “Leech” into an electro-dance song. It’s on my myspace page right now.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Industrial. EBM System Machine Gun I like them a lot. I like NIN’s sound, I don’t like their lyrics at all. Esthero, Shiny Toy Gun, Muse, Tori Amos, Cause And Effect . . .

How do you feel about music sharing?

I can’t really care about it too much. I feel like if people like me, they’ll pay me. Because, after my last show, I’m really confident. It went so good, and I had an encoure, and it was packed, and my CD sold out to the extent that I only had singles, and I only had singles with three songs on it, and I was selling those for $2 cuz I felt bad cuz they were ghetto, and people were buying it. So people will buy it if they like you. And I don’t really care that much about CDs right now because CDs are becoming extinct.

How did you get your last CD pressed?

Ghetto. (laughter) I cut the paper, I got some pictures from my friends, and I put the text in on Microsoft Word, and I went to Staples, and it was a lot of hard work but I need to get someone to do it right now for the CD I’m working on.

So what’s it like to be a woman in the rap industry?

It sucks! I hate it. I don’t want to be a rapper any more because of that. That’s why I have a different sound. I don’t want to be straight-up hip hop and be a woman. I just don’t like the association with it. It’s degrading, and I love it when people are like, “You’re good—for a female.” And I’m like, “I’m good for a human.” Actually, this is a good story. . . One time, a few years ago, the radio host of WGCI was there, and he asked anyone in the audience wanted to rap. So I went up there, and the guy was like, “Take off your shirt!” So I take the mic and start rapping, “Just because I’m female, does it have to be sexual? / Cut off your testicle, shove it down your throat like a vegetable / You wanna battle me? / Alright, I’ll check my schedule.” And he was like, “Okay, girl, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” (laughter) It was hilarious. I had to put him in his place.

What inspires you to keep writing?

I’m an egomaniac. (laughter) No, it was motivating mostly because of my race. Because I wanted to do something for South-Asians cuz they are so brainwashed. Well, not just South-Asians, but traditional people in that manner. So that mentality inspired me to get out there, and I know people like music. I know people listen to music when they’re pissed off. People listen to music as medicine. That’s how I am. I listen to music to put me into a better mood. I use it like a drug. It’s kind of like drugs. So, I’m making drugs. (laughter) I want to be a drug dealer.

Are you into anything besides music?

Well, I was out of a job for a while, and my friend told me to look online. So I looked on craigslist, and I saw an ad that said they needed an Indian woman for this movie. And I was like, cool. So I told them I had no acting experience, and I sent m my pictures, and they called me and asked if I was interested in coming to India, and I was like yeah, sure. I was actually going to India anyways, so they emailed me back a 5-page script based on my pictures. It was for a supporting role in an Owen Wilson film called the Darjling Limited. It’s about three guys and their spiritual journey through India, and I was the whore. (laughter) I did the Indian accent, and I did the American accent in my audition. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it, but now they have my face on file.

How do you feel about selling out?

Actually, a couple of years ago I was shopping my work in Hollywood, and I went there, and I was talking to this entertainment company. The guy I met with wanted me to be associated with Disney, and he said I had a really good future ahead of me, but he was trying to fix my image. He was like, “We need to get you into some heels. We need to get you into some tight pants.”

I couldn’t do it. I started yelling at him. Looking back, I don’t know what I was on, but I just couldn’t do it. And it’s funny because, before that happened, I was like, “I’ll probably sell out.” All this money, it’s so tempting, but I can’t live through that. And I’ve had radio stations ask me to tone down my lyrics and sex it up a little bit.

But then I look at Lady Sovereign, and you can’t even tell what gender she is. So, you don’t have to be like that. And that’s why I didn’t go the Disney route. Because if I did that, I would have to get sexed out later. My music would not be good. It would be really poppy, and I would be so unhappy with myself. I couldn’t lead a life like that. I have to be true to myself.

What’s your plan for the future?

I’m looking to get signed right now. But I want to sell 10,000 copies of my album before I get signed. I have one dance track called “Get Ready” I’m trying to get into the clubs. Also, I’m working on getting airplay for my track “Suffocate,” so please make sure to request it on Fearless Radio and on all the radio stations.

BAND MEMBERS
Robbi

WEBSITE/ CONTACT INFO
http://www.myspace.com/robbi



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- Hilary Rawk -Buzz Sports/Entertiainment


Author: Renu Mehta
Toronto

1. What makes a great musician as opposed to just a singer?
A musician understands the roles of the bass, beat, melody, harmony, etc in the
song as a whole. A singer who doesn't play any instrument and has no say within the production and usually has less passion towards the song - and u can tell when this happens if he/she is singing too hard or gets bored (especially in the breakdown after the last verse),
What is that which sets you apart from everyone else?
I don't know any other rapper that isn't afraid to say that their influences come from
Non-hiphop artists at the risk of them sounding 'not real'. Music is music, and my influences can range anywhere from Lauryn Hill to Cardigans to KMFDM. I'm not gonna say that I've been thru rough times, because everyone goes through pain. I’m not so special I’m just obsessed with music.
2. Can music be learnt or is this is a gift that you are born with?
There has to be some sort of gift in order to keep learning more. I've noticed book smart people learn notes and instruments but do not have the creativity that is needed to create songs over and over again. I'm not saying they are unable to, but to keep their interest and longevity there needs to be an innate passion for the drive. For example, someone who is born with the musical creativity usually has strong chord progressions that dwell in their mind before they go to sleep or just randomly during the day for no reason. Sometimes this can get annoying because u can't the melody out of your mind. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know any person that can share this random melodic thought process that isn't a musical artist.

3. Tell me about yourself?
I'm just an artist whose trying to survive and help others in this cold world we live in.

4. What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?
Especially as this is not regarded as a traditional career like being an engineer, doctor, etc.
The biggest negative reactions I received from the Indian community were doubt
and disgust. This was mostly from the older generation of course. I don’t care if traditional people don’t like what I’m doing, in the end I know I’m doing the right thing. From the entertainment industry, the main challenge is sexism. I have had to distance myself from many potential managers/booking agencies/producers/promoters who have tried to bribe me by trying to sleep with me so I can further my career. In general, any upcoming artist will be manipulated and robbed from the studios, producers, promoters, djs, etc. in their beginning stages .
5. Tell me about your favorite song and favorite singers?
I have many favorite songs, one of them I’m currently listening to a lot these days is 'We Are In Need of A Musical Revolution' from Esthero. Favorite singers would have to be Bono, Dave Gahan, Tori Amos, Eddie Vedder, Esthero, Mariah Carey (for her technical skills not the actual content she sings about)

6. If God were to give you one wish, what would it be and why?
World Peace. I do realize how cliche that sounds, but I mean it.
7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Signed on a major independant label, traveling throughout the world trying to better impoverished areas and psychologically damaged children, especially abused women - race doesn't matter.
8. Any advice you can give to aspiring musicians?
Cut down the arrogance and work on skill, the talent will manifest itself if your truly talented. Help others while helping yourself, if your truly talented you will be famous even if you don't want to be. Appreciate the music your fellow dj's, producers, vocalists create. Don't be greedy - its all about trading and creating a strong community of good music for people to enjoy when u first start off.
- Indian Express - North American Edition


- BboyB

I met Robbi at a Truman College outdoor festival quite a few summers ago. This tiny little 4'8" girl was pushing the floor with some breadkin' power moves. Robbi is very friendly and extremely determined in the effort at hand.

Where did you get your rap name?
Robbi comes from my real name "Rabab" it's just a nickname. i.e. Jenny coming from Jennifer

How old and how tall are you?
I'm 27 and I'm 4ft 8 inches tall.

How long have you been rapping for?
19 years. I've been doing shows for about 12 years now.

Are you still involved in other elements of Hip Hop? like b-girling or graf?
I only know a few b-girls moves; I'm trying to enroll right now for classes from Breakdance Chicago. I did a breakdance session once in McCormick Place on the runway when I was a myspace model 3-4 years ago.

Coming from a traditional religious Indian Muslim family, has that been an obstacle towards your goals in the music industry?
As long as my family doesn't disown me, I think I'm ok.

Do you speak other languages?
Yes, Urdu.

What hood/city did you grow up in?
I'm not gonna front, I grew up in a an all white neighborhood in the burbs, that didn't like Indians very much, until the late 90's. I moved to the city (Chicago) when I was 18 and lived Downtown and Wrigleyville. I've learned to survive in the ghetto for a short time in Edgewater, dealing with a few murders in my apartment with the crack dealers and prostitutes on my corner. It's given me a thicker skin.

What do you think of Hip Hop as it relates to the female rapper?
Unfortunately, the public is only exposed to skanky female rappers or completely masculine ones. There is a stereotype that I battle. Most people look at me and say, "You don't look like a rapper."

I heard you made an appearance on the auditions for Vh1's "Miss Rap Supreme"—are you upset you weren't picked?
Honestly, I am happy to have the publicity and reality shows really aren't my thing anyways. The staff was very friendly to me and I met some very talented female rappers that weren't selected and weren't even shown on the auditions.

Who is your favorite rapper?
Sage Francis

What is your all time favorite rap song?
Keep ya Head Up - Tupac

Do you plan to hit the stage soon?
I am definitely looking for a tour but mostly in U.K and Canada. The album is out, it's called "Speak"—which is the same name as Lindsay Lohans album. It can be purchased on itunes or cdbaby.com/robbispeak - FlyPaper


Robbi Brings Unique Electronic Spin to Hip Hop

1/2/2007 9:27:42 AM by Robert


Challenging traditional South Asian and Muslim beliefs from childhood while confronting a competitive hip hop rap industry for over 10 years, Robbi Moolji is determined to make her mark in the music world from her home of Chicago. Not only has she overcome extreme cultural pressures, she has also challenged typical rap by bringing a unique electronic spin to the hip hop genre.



The petite East-Indian hip hop musician began writing rap songs at eight years old with the intention to rebel against her classroom bullies and condescending teachers, unaccustomed to sharing a classroom with someone of her culture and religion. Robbi's single "School" reflects that moment in her life and explores the feelings of being an outcast from the popular group in school. Robbi explains "That song is for the misunderstood, the rebels, in this world”.



Transferring to a private Muslim high-school after defiant behavior at the school where she faced such persecution, Robbi's first performance was in a Mosque at the age of fifteen, where she recited an Islamic themed hip hop rap song.



Her lyrical content remained focused on Islam until her sophomore year in college, though she still became known as the only hijab (a traditional Islamic scarf) wearing musician on campus. "I'd always be late for class from everybody trying to get me to freestyle on campus - eventually I got the nickname white rabbit like from 'Alice In Wonderland', since I was always in a rush to class wearing my white hijab," Robbi explains.



Yet her popularity hardly faded after Robbi decided to stop wearing a hijab, soon becoming respected amongst Asian hip hop music fans after winning the international YellowFist writing competition and being featured on the cover of Ivy League university magazine RockZine.



Soon after, it was actually Robbi's refusal of a multi-faceted yet sexually suggestive entertainment deal from a Hollywood film/music conglomerate when her uncompromising pride in her personality and heritage began to glow. "I never felt the need to exploit my body to promote my music, so it wasn't a hard decision to make," Robbi explains.



Winning numerous hip hop rap battle competitions sponsored by educational organizations such as the Anti-Truth campaign, and ending each of her solo concerts by 'freestyling' with the audience, has also gained Robbi tremendous respect from the underground hip-hop scene.



One of her most memorable performances was held at a local Chicago venue sharing the stage with hip-hop luminary KRS-One. "I had to tug on Kris's shirt to let him know I was standing next to him since he's 6ft tall, and he told the crowd to keep jumping so they could see me – after the show Kris told me I did a great job, which is the biggest blessing a hip-hop artist could receive," Robbi explains.



Robbi's songs have been featured on many of the world's top urban radio stations such as Chicago's WGCI 107.5 FM, and she has also performed on several syndicated talk shows such as The Flabby Hoffman Show and The Chicago Rock Show.


Robbi is currently working with a Grammy certified producer on her debut album, and even stars in the upcoming "That Asian Thing" documentary, set to be screened across American film festivals in 2007.



For more about Robbi visit her MySpace web site at http://myspace.com/Robbi



http://www.thuglifearmy.com/news/?id=3199

- THUGLIFEARMY.COM



For some of us our love life is a very personal affair. Sometimes, we occasionally seek the advice and consult of friends and family to help us figure out which direction we want to take. But for some people their love life is a family ordeal in which expectations, pressures, hopes and dreams are laden upon the children. So how does a young woman growing up in a very sheltered Indian enviroment in America deal with all this pressure?

Well tonight we are bringing on Robbi "(real name Rabab, born March 23, 1981) who is a petite American-born East-Indian rapper/singer/songwriter who has been performing live for 10 yrs from mosques to venues. She's going to share with us a little of what's it's been like for her to wrestle with family pressures of what's expected and what's desired.

Join at 9pm ct tonight as we talk about this and much more and listen to some of Robbi's best new tracks!

Tune in at 9pm CT, bitches! Only on Fearless Radio!

IM us at fearlessradio @ MSN and fearlessradio00 @ Yahoo and AIM or call us on our studio line: 312-224-8273 and tell us your stories.

- www.fearlessradio.com


Hardcorejamz Top Songs

Last Wk This WK Artist/Song
1 1 Robbi Feat. J9 - Suffocation
2 2 Smerphasia – The Anthem
3 3 Beyonce – Ring Da Alarm
4 4 Slow V and Retrospect – Music Got Me
5 5 Alabama Villians – All My Life
6 6 Shanterra – Hot Tonight
7 7 Enemy of the State – Rock Wit Me
8 8 SandStacks - Yeahhh
9 9 K&S –Miss A Beat
10 10 Noonie J6 – Life Fly By
- www.hardcorejamz.com/top_songs.html 10/31/2006


Fresh female emcee brings new life to Hip Hop


When I as an editor search for new content I see alot of the same things....so when something or someone sticks out I will notice them 9 times out of 10. This proves useful now because I am aware of "Robbi", the cultural-diverse-female- hip-hop-emcee. She has spin to her records that even now I can't quite put my finger on, but I can say that I think she has
something to powerful to ignore.


First of all there are not very many female emcee's to begin with, so that gives us a whole lot to work with right off the bat. The you have a female crossing cultural lines and really changing the way you view
hip-hop. I have mad respect for a woman that can do what she wants even when there are major obstacles in her way.


So I wanted to dig deeper into the brain of Robbi and see what she was all about. I found that hip-hop is not dead, but growing in places that you might not expect. Mainstream hip hop is yes, dying. I say that with hopes that someone out there reading this knows that there are a few people out there keeping the heart pumping but the majority of the body is dead weight.


This iced out, "I wanna [Chrysler] 300, so I can buy a grill to make it look like a Bentley" attitude, is
weak now because hip hop needs a change. But you can't really effectively say that rapping about those things is all wrong, because one of the foundations of rap and battle rap is boasting about oneself. But I think the cycle should return now to the day of KRS-ONE and Africa Bambata. Also hip-hop needs to change and gather new types listeners.


Robbi has done that with her hip-hoptronica sound that she eloquently pushes passed her lips and engineers to reflect current issues in almost everyone’s
neighborhood. It's real and you can sense that in the sound. It has emotion and feelings of a females her age. This is important because the male genre of hip hop is represented from kids younger than BOW-WOW to people still on their mic who are in their late 30's
and maybe even early 40's. Hip hop needs all types of listeners and providers and if you love hip hop then you will love or at least respect the new, different
and unconventional.


So read the below interview that I (Alkatraz) did with Robbi and learn what made this girl from the burbs
want to become a voice in the hip hop world.


Alkatraz:
How long have been rhyming in front of a crowd?

Robbi:
Age 8

Alkatraz:
What do you listen to? What in the CD player right
now?

Robbi:
Peaches, Punjabi Mc, Common, Visionary Underground

Alkatraz:
How does you family feel about what you do..as far as
being an emcee and all?

Robbi:
They don't take it seriously, but I let that drive me
to work harder.

Alkatraz:
What walls have you had to climb to get where you are?

Robbi:
Cultural pressures from the Indian community since its
not traditional for an Indian women expressing herself
freely in public. I've had to start booking my own
shows to have more exposure in the scene and stop
waiting to be booked. A huge wall I've climbed is the
sexism from other male rappers who doubt me and make
sexual degrading remarks. I've actually had a former
WGCI host tell the crowd, "lets see her take off her
shirt!" I've seen big fat men throw temper tantrums
and cry after I battle them in a crowd, but I've had
to do it to prove myself to the scene.




Alkatraz:
What do think of hip hop now? Nas says it's dead...is
that true?

Robbi:
I don't think any genre can be dead. Just because the
mainstream version of hiphop lowers intelligence and
is completely wack doesn't mean the genre and
lifestyle of hiphop is dead. Underground hiphop has a
huge following and theres still real hiphop shows out
there you just have to go out and find them instead of
jumping to conclusions. The problem today is the
labeling, people often mistake hip-hop for rap, so
that's where the misunderstandings happen. Theres
probably only 2-3 true hip-hop songs on the radio.

Alkatraz:
What are you feelings on Queen Latifah, mc lyte an
other femal emcee's?

Robbi:
Queen Latifah inspired me a lot, I remember I was
about 10 or 11 yrs old when I first heard her song
"UNITY" she actually taught me that concept and
definition before anyone else did. Mc Lyte.. the first
female rapper to have a hit single.. shes still going
strong right now, I don't know how she does it. I
don't know any other female rapper that has more skill
than her.




Alkatraz:
Do you write rhymes in advance or do you freestyle
more?

Robbi:
I write rhymes in advance for songs, but then I end up
freestyling more when I hear the instrumental later.
Freestyling sets the mood of the song -its all about
creating an image within a song, so when you hear it
you feel it so bad u cant get it out of your head when
you sleep at night.

Alkatraz:
What is the hip-hop scene like in Chicago?

Robbi:
Theres too many rappers and not enough supporters. Its
extremely segregated in terms of location. You can
have a fan-base in logan square or wrigleyville, and
be dead to the world in the south side and vice versa.
Some of the well-known rappers are wack, but their
popular only because they've been around so long and
their names are recognized. But the other amazing
rappers, don't get the support they truly deserve
because of those other wack rappers, they are
immediately ignored on assumption. I go to a show and
theres like 6-8 Mcs performing in one night and that's
when u get a decent crowd. I don't see such an
overwhelming lineup in any other scene in Chicago. I
love the graff work as a form of art, but I think if
Taggers would chill out, then we'd have more venues
accepting to book hip-hop. There are some respectable
hiphop shows out there - but you have to find them. My
favorite hiphop shows in the city would have to be the
college and loft settings.







Alkatraz:
You speak two languages is that right? How does that
help you?

Robbi:
I speak Urdu as well. Yeah, it helps me get along with
the Indian community ofcourse. When I go to a desi
(slang, for Indian) party and I say something small in
Urdu, their like "hell yeah! And you rap too!" and get
all excited. It gets me hugs.

Alkatraz:
Have you ever written a song with both languages in
them?

Robbi:
Once, to be part of the soundtrack for an Indian film,
"Kuch Ta Karo" which means, "do something". But there
wasn't enough funding so it wasn't released
officially.






Alkatraz:
Were you influence by east or west hip-hop?

Robbi:
East coast - I usually rap slower and to slower bpms
like east coast style and I lean towards a more
complex lyrical style with in-depth concept. But I am
more of an alternative hiphop artist - so I have other
influences besides just hiphop - like Depechemode,
Sister Machine Gun, Esthero, etc

Alkatraz:
Where are you from? What is hip-hop like from there?

Robbi:
I'm not gonna front, I wasn't raised in the ghetto, I
wasn't even raised in the city. I was born and raised
in the nw burbs (later in my 20's I became more city)
- The burbs in general don't have much going on in
terms of hiphop - the rock scene is more prevalent in
the nw burbs. Theres a more commercialized concept of
hiphop in the burbs.

Alkatraz:
Do you "tour" with anyone or are you keeping it solo?

Robbi:
I'm not doing a tour anytime soon. I'm a solo artist I
do shows with other rappers though.




Alkatraz:
Are you trying to get a record deal or would you
preffer to be indie?

Robbi:
Tryna figure that out right now. We'll see what
happens.

Alkatraz:
Anyhting else you would like to say, promote, etc?

Robbi:
Check out my electro alternative hiphop nights last
Tuesday of Every Month at Cafe' Lura 3184 N. Milwaukee
- The opening Night is on Feb 27th. Request
"Suffocation" on fearlessradio.com and other college
radio stations


- www.voicesmagazine.org


Discography

Now available digitally through CD BABY and itunes

http://cdbaby.com/cd/robbispeak

SPEAK LP

1) INTRO
2) GET READY
3) School
4) Suffocation
5) Takin A Peek
6) Leech
7) Corporate
8) Choice
9) Egos
10) Corporate Trip
11) Takin A Peek (promo)
12) Suffocation Remix

Promotional CD
1) Suffocation 2) School 3) Takin A Peek
4) Break Free 5) Lisart 6) Conserv Mfs
7) Break Free w/ DJE

Dj Midknight I.B.C. Entertainment MIXTAPE
Featuring the track "Get Ready" -Robbi w/ DJE

Request 'Suffocation' on the following radio stations:

http://www.wnur.org
http://www.generasianradio.com/
http://www.hardcorejamz.com
http://www.hardcoremix.com
http://www.fearlessradio.com
http://www.tomaradio.com
http://www.bmsradio.com
http://www.uicradio.ws
http://chrwradio.com/
http://www.illunderground.com
http://www.newartistradio.com
http://www.kpsu.org
http://radio.depaul.edu

Photos

Bio

"Rapper Robbi looks like a china doll but don't let her appearance fool you - this girl is tough as nails."
- Buzz Sports/Entertainment

"She has a spin to her records that even now I can't quite put my finger on, but I can say that I think she has something to powerful to ignore." - Editor in Chief, Voicesmagazine.org

"Indomitable as far as her music career is concerned" - Indian Express The North American Edition

Challenging traditional South Asian and Muslim beliefs from childhood while confronting a competitive rap industry for over 10 years, Robbi is determined to make her mark in the music world from her home of Chicago.

The petite East-Indian musician began writing songs as early as eight years old. Robbi's first performance was in a Mosque at the age of fifteen, when she recited an Islamic themed rap song. Her popularity in the asian-american community grew after winning the international YellowFist Asian writing competition (with over 10,000 entries) and being featured on the cover of Ivy League university magazine A.A RockZine!. Winning numerous rap battle competitions sponsored by educational organizations such as the Anti-Truth campaign, and ending each of her solo concerts by "freestyling" with the audience, Robbi gained tremendous respect from the underground hip-hop scene. Apart from exclusive concerts or battle competitions, Robbi has also performed for fashion show events such as Hollywood's Celebrity Fashion Designer Danielle Kelly (www.dk75raw.com). One of her most memorable performances was held with global hip-hop luminary KRS-One, who commended Robbi on her vision.

Robbi's songs have been featured on many of the world's top urban radio stations such as Chicago's WGCI 107.5 FM, along with much support from top college radio stations such as WHPK 88.3 FM and WNUR 89.3 FM. She has also starred in the documentary film"That Asian Thing" (www.thatasianthing.net) along with a soundtrack single for "Leg Before Wicket" (www.legbeforewicket.org), set to be screened across international film festivals. Aside from movies, Robbi is also familiar with the television world, as she has been appeared on the VH-1 Show "Miss Rap Supreme" in early April of 2007. Internationally speaking, she has been interviewed on Bollywoods Cable Television News Channel, "TV 9". Her first state-wide television appearance was on WFBT's "Masti Chicago" and "Desi Tunes" along with a LA/NY appearance on "Hot Wax Chicago" which broadcasted in March of 2007. She has also performed on several syndicated talk shows such as The Flabby Hoffman Show and The Chicago Rock Show. Robbi's LP "Speak" is now available on itunes featuring her hit single, "Suffocation". Her club single, "Get Ready" has charted #14 on the Lets Dance/IRS Music Pool TOP 50 Urban Chart.

Notable Television Appearances:

Vh1’s “Miss Rap Supreme” – Audition

India’s “Bollywood” News Channel TV 9 (www.tv9.net) - Interview

Illinois Indian Channel Anjali Tv’s “Masti Media” (http://anjalitv.com) - Interview and Performance

Manhattan, NY Hot Wax Chicago Channel 56 and 57 - Freestyle Commercial

Notable Radio Coverage:

107.5 W.G.C.I (www.wgci.com)
Winner of MC Battle
Sponsered From Red Mountain Dew

Q101.1 F.M (www.q101.com)
Fuke Afternoon Show
Winner of MC Battle

90.1 KPFT (www.generasianradio.com)
"Generasian Radio"

88.1 CKLN (www.ckln.fm)
"Word Of Mouth Show" and "Masala Mix"
Interviews and Freestyle performance

89.3 FM WNUR (www.wnur.org)
Dj Deluge's, "Winter Heat"
Interview and Freestyle Performance

88.5 FM WHPK (www.whpk.org)
Pugslee Atoms "Cta Red Line Radio"
Interview and Freestyle Performance

Fearlessradio.com
"New Music Binge Show" and "LoveBytes"
Interview and Freestyle Performance

Notable Press:

The Indian Express The North American Edition
(National Coverage)

The Eastern Eye
(#1 South Asian paper in all of U.K)

Buzz Sports&Entertainment (www.buzznews.net)

FLY NEWSPAPER (http://flypaper1.ning.com)

www.urb.net

www.thuglifearmy.com

Notable Movie Apperances:

"That Asian Thing"
www.thatasianthing.net
Interview and Performance

"Leg Before Wicket"
www.legbeforewicket.org
Song w/ Radiohiro in Credit Role

Clothing Line Affiliations:

www.desithreads.com

www.chicagosuicideclub.com

College Campus Performances:

University of Illinois at Chicago
Northwestern University
University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign
Columbia University
Harry S Truman College

Notable performances:

Headliner for Biggest South Asian fest in North America MMM! Festival 2008 Toronto, CA July 2008

American Headliner for Desifest Concert with 15,000 official audience members
- Dundas Square Toronto, CA 2007

Headlined Hollywood's "Queen of Kustom" Celebrity Fashion Designer Danielle Kelly
-Bon V Chicago, IL 2007 (www.dk75raw.com)

Cameo Appearance Concert Live with Too White Crew