Review by Emily Smith
“I have no idea how I passed through customs with all these bars.”
This line echoes at the beginning of the track, letting the listener know a couple of things. First, this person has a sense of humor and creativity. Second, this track is a narrative told from an immigrant’s perspective. Rapper Sha Vlimpse storms onto the scene with his latest track “Bangla,” infusing his perspective as an immigrant hailing from Bangladesh onto a passionate track.
Sha Vlimpse comments on the track by saying, “My song “Bangla” is just a brief introduction to the idea of carrying my motherland flag into this hip hop game. Bangla was just a beginning of displaying my culture in my music. There are a bunch of people from Bangladesh messaging me everyday, thanking me for being a voice for them in America…”
The track is rhythmic with a moving beat and an electronic sound that trickles down on the entire track. Sha comes out of the gate firing off his lyrics, establishing his heritage: “Didn’t speak English in my house/ We spoke Bangla/ ‘Cause my parents immigrated from Dhaka.” In fact many of his lyrics in the song highlight his background as someone who came from Bangladesh to bring his raps to America. He is passionate about translating his sound from across the world and adding a unique perspective to the music scene. In one line he raps, “Too many rappers and the passion is lacked/ For my country this is my chance to give back,” or expressing how he is rapping for Bangladesh.
Current politics are also brought up in the song. Sha raps, “Donald Trump wanna ban me like Exodia/ They afraid of who I am/ That’s Islamophobia,” which references the current political climate and the controversial rhetoric surrounding immigration and Islam. All the talk about restricting travel and banning Muslims is clearly something personal to him and inspires him to incorporate those topics into his lyrics.
Sha also incorporates some Bengali into his lyrics. At times he rhymes the Bengali words he uses with some of the English on the track. For example, he raps, “I teach, rap, I got options/ Bengalies like ‘Bhai kemon aschen,’” fluidly transitioning between English and Bengali. Other lines where he incorporates Bengali include “Alhumduliah, you don’t want it with me/ I’ll have you with the mermaids under the sea.”
He also teases the idea of rapping about Bangladesh, his culture, and his experiences more in upcoming projects with the lyrics, “Let’s play a game of capture the flag/ ‘Cause imma rep Bangladesh with every rap that I have.” This leaves the listener wanting more from him in the future.
The lyrics near the end of the track are especially worth mentioning and are another mix of English and Bengali lyrics. He raps, “’Bangla rap koro’/ Well never say never/ Bangla pari but my English is better.” The listener could get a sense of the sentiment of those lines without much knowledge of Bengali or a direct translation.
The song begins and ends with humorous lines. At the very end of the track, Sha says, “Um…I had a Bengali translator help me say those Bengali words” after all the references to Bangladesh and the Bengali language in the track, which is unexpectedly hilarious.
Overall “Bangla” is an exciting listen with some distinctly passionate lyrics and a personality that will definitely leave an impression.
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