The Hip Hop Desis

Art is a golden source of expression for immigrants and is a weapon for those misplaced, misjudged, typecast and called a misfit. Hip Hop became home for many South Asians who were immigrants, whose families had moved to America. Nitasha Tamar Sharma explores the nuances and charts the lives of young desi hip hop artists in America through her book Hip Hop Desis. She throws light upon the global inequalities based on race. It also draws parallels between the minorities and the African Americans in the States and how racial discrimination has brought the two cultures closer and cultivated a brotherhood. The book talks about how the upwardly mobile and middle class South Asians from the second generation use hip hop as a form of expression to develop racial and ethnic identities.


Nitasha Tamar Sharma is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Asian American Studies at the Northwestern University. Through her book, she also examines groups that are called alternative desis, hip hop musicians who use South Asian languages and instruments in their hip hop production to give it a more desi feeling and an ethnic identity, also calling it ethnic hip hop. The genre of hip hop has become a platform of activism for all the South Asians. Natasha actually manages to pronounce the desi groups that also take up issues that are more relative to the Black community.

The book is an extension of Natasha’s academic profile which includes research and teaching about interdisciplinary, ethnographic and comparative approach to the study of inequality, difference and racism.