“We want YOU to be the RJ”
It was early 2014 when Black Zang got a call from an executive at one of the popular radio stations among the youth in Bangladesh. At first, rapper Zang had no idea what this call was about. Assuming it was about getting some of his music to be played on air, he proceeded with the conversation.
“Man, I love your music, and I think Hip Hop’s about to make a huge impact in Bangladesh,” said Mr Rahman at Colours FM. He continued, “We want to start a new Hip Hop radio show on our station – the first of its kind on public FM radio.” To which Black Zang answered,”Sure, sounds great! You need some help picking out some music or something?”.
“No… we want YOU to be the RJ”
“But, I have never been an RJ in my life. In fact, I don’t really think I’m the best candidate for this. I’m not even sure what I would talk about, really,” said a confused rapper from one of the most history-laden neighbourhoods of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
But, Colours FM insisted… and insisted… and inspired… and insisted.
And finally, Black Zang said YES, and so started this remarkable story of Planet Hip Hop on Colours FM 101.6 – the first Hip Hop radio show in South Asia. The first episode aired on 4th March 2014, and since then Black Zang has hosted an episode every week until the end of last year – when he claimed was the end of Season 1.
Season 1 of Planet Hip Hop consisted of 2+ years of programming, 100+ episodes and hundreds of exclusive interviews. It marked one of the most inspirational movements in Bangladesh’s hip hop history.
The Show Must Go On
“Being a Radio Disc Jockey is a hard job, bro. You have to be energetic every time you go on air. Have to have the right positive attitude, the right mood. You have to know what to say, every minute that you are on air. This isn’t easy to accomplish every single week. Some weeks are tough, some weeks are tiresome. But, your personal feelings don’t matter – the show must go on.”
As with anything in life, Black Zang had to learn fast. He had to learn the hoops of being a radio presenter within a short span. And, after some trial runs, he was about ready to get on-air and talk about the love of his life – Hip Hop.
Before the glamour of radio life, Black Zang was a rapper. With his first album released via his crew ‘Uptown Lokols’, was completely focused on creating music for his fans. But he quickly realised that to host a Hip Hop radio show, he would have to be bigger than just a rapper. “This was even more challenging than being a musician, you are representing a worldwide culture, you are representing Hip Hop to the young people, and you have to share stories, and represent the scene as best as possible. This was the responsibility on my shoulders.”
“Nothing in this life happens alone. I owe it to my team, to my friends, to my brothers in Hip Hop.”
When I asked him what he learned, he said, “Nothing in this life happens alone. I owe it to my team, to my friends, to my brothers in Hip Hop.”
“No one can be a ‘pro’ at a new skill without the help of others. My ‘Bhai-brothers’ in Hip Hop continues to send me content regularly. Till today, they don’t only send me their own music, but music by other rappers and artist who are relevant for the show. This is true unity. That’s love & true support.”
“I had to become the host who pushes the Hip Hop Agenda”
Early on, Black Zang realised the importance of cultivating and sharing knowledge with Hip Hop fans in the industry. With that in mind, Black Zang started pushing a ‘Hip Hop agenda’ to the masses. “Making your own music pushes your own brand. But who will promote and push the genre? Who will push the brand of Hip Hop? We need more Hip Hop fans, & we need more fans to learn about the art of Hip Hop. So I had to become the host to push that agenda.”
Today, Planet Hip Hop’s fame has skyrocketed among the teenage audience in Bangladesh. His show is followed religiously week in, week out. And, with a 100,000+ social media followers, Black Zang’s plan to bring back season 2 is finally at peace.
Black Zang – King Forever and Planet Hip Hop-101.6 is back with its Season 2!
Posted by DesiHipHop.com on Monday, February 27, 2017
Tuesdays will never be the same again
Season 2 of Planet Hip Hop kicks off on 28th February, and his excitement level for the new season is awe-inspiring. Fans of his show have coined the phrase, “Tuesdays will never be the same again,” and it seems like that statement probably sums up the entire show in the most justified manner.
“Playing Hip Hop music for 2 hours on Planet Hip-Hop, and talking about Hip-Hop throughout the time was very special to me. Man, I miss it!”
Black Zang went on to say, “The new season is all about the next level – DesiHipHop.com’s Top tracks will be shared, contests, live events, live freestyles… live performance of songs on the show… All a that, and much more!”
When I probed about the partnership with DesiHipHop.com, he mentioned that this had a huge impact. “We got validation. When Planet Hip Hop started the partnership with DHH and started to play the top tracks from DesiHipHop.com, it felt like we were now collaborating with a brand that had a much bigger impact in the South Asian Hip Hop scene. It’s brilliant, it’s only gonna improve and gonna get bigger”
So what inspired Black Zang to take on this radio personality? What made him go from a rapper to becoming THE brand ambassador of Hip Hop in Bangladesh?
“We are the Genre’s Brand Ambassadors”
“I remember a while ago, A.B.D. gave me a book titled ‘The Gospel of Hip Hop’ by KRS-One. Reading that changed my life. I truly realised the real art behind the Hip Hop movement. And then, I went on a trip to the United States to learn how to grow the art – during that trip I truly realised the impact of hard work in my Hip Hop journey.”
“I realised that we were not just ‘recording artists’, we are the genre’s brand ambassadors. So, in the show, we push the agenda of graffiti artists, B-Boys, DJs, rappers, poetry, and anything that has something to do with the Hip Hop movement.”
From the numerous of conversations I’ve had with Black Zang over the years, it is clear to me that he had changed greatly over the span of the last few years. I am a believer of the saying: “To achieve something you’ve never achieved before, you have to become someone you’ve never been before” – Les Brown. And, to me, it seems like Black Zang did just that.