Exclusive Interview | Baba Sehgal

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Baba Sehgal, who’s birth name is Harjeet Singh Sehgal might sound like a new name to a few but trust me, it’s not. Baba Sehgal is a Music Producer & is credited as ‘First Professional Indian Rapper‘ who made it big in the early 90’s. He became a household name after he released songs like ‘Dil Dhadke‘ (which featured Pooja Bedi in it’s video), ‘Baba Deewana‘, ‘Aaja Meri Gaadi Mein Baith Ja‘ & others. He has done recording songs in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and others.

“Doing a few rap lines in Bollywood doesn’t make you a Hip-Hop or a Rap singer”

Baba Sehgal

His latest releases like ‘Chicken Fried Rice‘, ‘Going to the Gym‘ & others have made people go crazy. Fans of rap music today debate on his existence as a ‘Rapper’, but, no one can deny that he was the first one who made it big and was credited for the same by many foreign magazines.

Rap music has surely changed since then but it didn’t change Baba at all.  His music is still fun and is not on the serious side of the life. There aren’t many other artists from south asia who can claim the catalouge he has along with the amount of time he’s been in the industry.

He gave answers to all of the questions that I asked him with a smile on his face & with no sweat at all.

Here’s how my chat with Baba Sehgal went :

San Cha – How did ‘Harjeet Singh’ became ‘Baba’? Where did it all start?
Baba Segal – Harjeet Singh Sehgal was always ‘Baba’. I always thought that Harjeet Singh Sehgal was a long name for people to remember so I decided to use my nick name ‘Baba’ & became Baba Sehgal. My dad was a little upset earlier but in 1992 when ‘Thanda Thanda Paani‘ became a huge hit, he was convinced & became happy.

San Cha – You were on a long hiatus from music. What made you come back?
Baba Segal –
I’ve been pretty much active in the south industry for the last 10 years. I’m  known as a ‘Power Singer‘ in Telugu industry. I’ve done over a 100 Telugu film songs, over 20 Tamil songs and a couple of Kannada songs. So, I was never away from music as such. But yes, I became active in Indi-Pop when I released ‘Going to the Gym’ on my own Youtube channel. That song became huge hit & crossed more than a million views in a few days. Then there’s no stopping after that. *wink*

San Cha – How would you describe the music you make?
Baba Segal –
Simple, funny and realistic.

San Cha – Bohemia is believed to be the pioneer of ‘Desi Rap’. You obviously started way before him. What are your thoughts on this?
Baba Segal –
I have not heard his music so I can’t comment on this.

Baba Sehgal Young

San Cha – I’ve read one of your statements where you said “Honey Singh & Badshah are not great Hip-Hop artists”. Do you still stand by this after the backlash it has received?
Baba Segal –
Doing a few rap lines in Bollywood doesn’t make you a Hip-Hop or a Rap singer. That’s what I said. There was no backlash.

San Cha -What impact do you feel you’ve done on the Desi Hip-Hop culture?
Baba Segal –
Rap stands for ‘Rhythm & Poetry‘, any song with no content and a story is not a rap song. Songs like ‘Thanda Thanda Pani’, ‘Going to the Gym’, ‘Chicken Fried Rice’, ‘Rihanna o Rihanna’, ‘Trump Ka Mania’ and the recently released ‘Tu Apni Dekh’ are all true Hip-Hop tracks with definite content and story. I do my stuff my way and I’m proud of the same.

San Cha – What do you think of the current Indian Rap Music scene?
Baba Segal –
There are some real good rappers. I mean genuine rappers but unfortunately they’ve no takers because Bollywood has been dominating the music scene and as such there are no record labels in India who can promote independent music.

San Cha – Do you listen to much Desi Hip-Hop? If so, who are you listening to?
Baba Segal –
I listen to a lot of stuff but I like Naezy as we’ve performed for ‘NH 7, Pune‘ last year.

San Cha – What are Baba Sehgal’s ‘Top 5 Hip-Hop Tracks’?
Baba Segal –
I love my ‘Dil Dhadke’, ‘Baba Deewana’, ‘Aaja Meri Gaadi Mein Baith Ja’, ‘Going to the Gym and ‘Chicken Fried Rice’.

San Cha – Whats next from Baba Sehgal? What are you working on?
Baba Segal –
I’ve turned into a villain in south cinema, so, my bilingual film in Telugu and Tamil releases on November 11, 2016. It is directed by Gautham Menon and the name of the film in Telugu is ‘Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo’ & in Tamil is ‘Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada‘. Music is done by A. R. Rahman.