“You Can See A Version Of Tupac In Bohemia” Chen-K | Exclusive Interview

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Nadir Chen Siddiqui is widely known as Chen-K. He is a hip-hop artist from Karachi, Pakistan who is often considered as the finest rappers from Pakistan. He is famous for his style of telling stories. Tracks like “Wesa Beta”, “Illegal Zindagi”, ” Salgirah” and much more proves that he is good at writing. Chen-K recently released his EP “Door Duniya”. I had a conversation with him about his journey, upcoming projects and other things. Check out how it went!

The KJi: How Did You Start Your Career In Hip-Hop?

Chen-K:  Well, I was only 18 when I started b-boying. Started filming my moves and started learning music at that time. I remember I used to make funny tracks because I had no idea what rap was, haha! I thought only rhyming is rapping. So, I continued doing this kind of things and I got deeply involved in them. I started earning at the age of 18 through it as well. I just made my mind that I will never sacrifice my passion for anything in this world. The more I got involved, the more people tried to stop me because my vision got unrealistic for people around me, especially elders in my family.

S,  I started resisting everyone and decided to stick tight to my plans. Here’s the answer to the question: I was very disappointed with everyone especially my biological mother (long story about her too, that I will reveal later in a track). I met her after 20-21 years and she didn’t like my lifestyle, my thinking, my values etc. So, I came back to Pakistan, upset and demotivated and was wasting my days trying to lift myself up again. I was roaming around my facebook wall and some guy shared Bohemia‘s “Meri Bandook” and I have no idea why I played that track. I played the track, was just enjoying the music and the feel of the song and suddenly a line hit me up:

Pareshan Ghar Wale, Kehnde Raje Roti Khale/Jande Jande Muh de Vich Paja 1-2 Niwale”

That line was extremely relatable at that time and I felt kind of good and thought, “Oh, Bohemia just expressed himself in a swaggy way, that was cool”. Depressing days passed again, was fed up with everything, just surfing YouTube and out of the blue I saw Eminem‘s “Guts Over Fear” track somewhere. I was listening to that track without concentrating on the lyrics part and it’s kind of funny how the same thing happened and suddenly the lines from the second verse got me shocked:
I know what it was like, I was there once, Single parents, hate your appearance
As you struggle to find your place in this world and the pain spawns all the anger on”
I felt very good and relieved that there are people who went through the same shit and I thought I had to learn RAP!! So, I started studying it and started expressing my feelings through it. And personally, I think everything is in control by Allah and this was my destiny.

The KJi: Which Artists Inspired You The Most?

Chen-K: Bohemia and Eminem, that’s it. Mentioned the same in my track “Soch” as well. There’s one thing I would like to let the readers know (Especially hip-hop fans), that yes, both of the artists are my inspiration who introduced me to rap. I heard most of their tracks but when I started learning RAP, I deleted all of their tracks from my laptop. Why? Because if you listen to your favourite artists too much you start copying their style unconsciously.

If you want to be among the top rappers you have to find your own style, your own flavour and your own vocabulary. Even Eminem’s first album “Infinite” was criticised over the allegations that Eminem had sounded like Nas. You hear Bohemia, you can see a version of Tupac in him, but the reason why I have massive respect for both of them is because they found their own styles. Both of them are original and pure human beings, not afraid of speaking out the truth. Always learn from the people who are ahead of you. Never listen to suggestions from people who are not in a place you want to be in.

The KJi: Tell Us About Your Journey Of Becoming Chen -K From Nadir? Who Is Better?

Chen-K: Explained the journey in the first answer, but damn! “Chen-K” is slowly taking over my personality. Kidding. I love the angry part in me, it made me who I am now. People think I am an angry person but that’s not the truth. I am a normal person just like others but I think I can express without thinking about the judgment because I really don’t care what people might think about me. I will always be true to myself.

The KJi: You Are Considered As One Of The Best Storytellers In The Pakistani Hip-Hop Scene. What’s Your Take On That?

Chen-K: I have been a writer since I was about 8, drawing mangas (anime comics), had books fully written by me at the age of 14 to 16. I don’t remember when I stopped writing but yes, “Yeh jo khoon nason me daure, is khoon me kalaakaari”.

The KJi: Recently, You Released A Diss Track “Beech Ki Ungli”. Tell Us More About The Track? Who Was The Target?

Chen-K: Yes, it was a half diss track and half motivational. The guy said some bad things about my fans and for me. My fans are everything to me. They keep reminding me how awesome I am when I go through tough times. So, it’s like an exchange of energies. When they are feeling low, I tend to inspire them and when I am feeling low, I go through the comments and I feel good.

The KJi: What Do You Think About The Current Desi Hip-Hop Scene? Who Is Your Favourite Rapper From The Current Slot?

Chen-K: I personally think desi hip-hop is going towards a good direction. Hip-hop will soon take over. A lot of people know what hip-hop is but the majority of them have no idea of what it actually is. The thing which bothers me a little is when I see people from the same country dissing each other and wasting their days on making their tracks and bringing the same guy down who is trying his level best to level up the genre. I think “desi hip-hop” is a family and we all are one. If we focus on some good topics, they will be more effective for the society. I would say no one is my favourite rapper from the current slot but I like specific things about different rappers. Let me name them alphabetically.

Divine: Man, I must say he is an amazing story-teller. I love his track “Jungli Sher”

Guru Lahori: I like this guy’s personality, he is keeping it all very classy.

Naezy: I like his speed and rhyming scheme. If you read his lyrics you can clearly see he is literally rhyming like a machine gun.

Rap Demon: His flow is dope and I see a lot of rappers failing to throw out the proper English accent but Rap Demon is killing it!
Young Desi: This guy is very dope, his flow is like a river, it goes so smoothly, and everyone who speaks Punjabi can clearly understand each word and his humour, haha!
The KJi: Any Indian Rapper You Would Love To Work With?
Chen-K: I would love to work with Naezy and Divine after maybe 5 years, depending on the situation.
The KJi: Tell Us About Your Upcoming Projects. Can We Expect Any Collaboration In The Upcoming Days?
Chen-K: I am not collaborating with anyone from desi hip-hop for now but about the plans… *ahem ahem*.
The KJi: What Message Would You Like To Give To Your Fans And Followers?

Chen-K: Some recent past years have been really tough for me, especially this 2017. There are some intense personal issues going on in my life and it has been hurting me a lot. Like I’ve said before, my fans motivate me. I am who I am because of them. Did my first live performance and that day I was very upset but the way they were looking at me, I felt the love they had for me.

I experienced heartfelt appreciation on their part. That thing distracted me from the pain and I literally forgot everything. Thank you for everything, without my fans I am nothing, no one would be there to value me. These are the people who will never leave my side till I stop. Whenever I even think of stopping, they’d bring me back up again for sure.