In this new millennium, America is in the midst
of witnessing the awakening of a whole new generation of American-born
children of immigrant parents--the second generation. As they negotiate
novel experiences in an increasingly diverse nation--racially, ethnically,
religiously--this generation has succeeded in creating new forms
of artistic expression. Spearheading the movement is Karmacy, and
their independent label, Rukus Avenue, is building the platform
from which an increasing number of artists can find and express
their own voices.
Comprised of completely original intellectual
property, the music of Karmacy represents the everyday realities
and philosophies of diasporic individuals. Producer and one of the
four members of Karmacy, S. Ceez explains, "there's a certain
nurturing that we all did together that evolved our mind, spirit,
thought--everything towards this diasporic direction." The
evolution of a diasporic sensibility among the four members of Karmacy
has included the articulation of a genre of music--fusion hip hop--that
simultaneously utilizes the specificity of their background, such
as the incorporation of four different languages on their album
including Gujurathi, Punjabi, English, and Spanish, while embracing
the universality of the human condition by commenting on issues
which affect us all.
One especially striking single which highlights
the philosophy and expression of specificity and universality among
the second generation is "Blood Brothers," which is found
on the Rukus Avenue compilation Passage to India (2001). Live is
the best way to experience this linguistic and emotional exchange
between two brothers--one located in India and speaking in Gujurathi
performed by Swap and the other brother, performed by Nimo, who
is speaking in English as an immigrant in the US. One needs only
to understand half of the exchange to realize the awareness these
men have of the experiences of first generation immigrant parents.
The gratitude of Nimo and Swap for their parents' sacrifices is
implicit, yet forceful, and is in no way limited to the South Asian
Fusion music is perhaps the best way to describe
this genre of music which is, in actuality, impossible to pigeon-hole.
Notable for lyrics that are exceptional with their insight and social
commentary, KB explains: "we are in a new phase of communication.
It's a new phase and form of communication that's beyond labels
and categories. It goes past boundaries." The music of Karmacy
doesn't lose authenticity with its incorporation of various linguistic,
instrumental, and philosophical elements. Indeed, fusion music creates
a new form of authentic music which can only be judged by its own
standards. Experience Karmacy's Movement (2002) for yourself.