For the most part, hip hop has been a male-dominated genre. Whether it’s western or desi hip hop, there’s a long-held prejudice that girls can’t rap. Grammy-nominated artist, Raja Kumari has defied such stereotypes again with her 2022 EP “HBIC,” proving why she is the “Head Bitch In Charge.”
On “HBIC,” I met a collection of songs that are catchy, energetic, groovy, and inspirational. The project has proven that Raja Kumari is one of the most skilled contemporary rappers and it showcases her versatility and lyrical prowess.
Raja Kumari’s approach of expressing her story or journey is constant throughout her music. She is a mainstream artist. Her music has a commercial vibe to it, and while I am not a major fan of that sound, I must give credit where it is due.
The Raja Kumari HBIC Review
The opening track “Manifest”, is a beautiful composition by Raja Kumari, Elvis Brown, and Humberto DelosRios. With rich Indian melodies, the soundtrack evokes a spiritual vibe and creates a wonderful image of a queen’s entry. Raja then proceeds to rap, talking about her journey while spitting some intelligent bars. Raja Kumari’s entire journey is chronicled in the song, from being signed to record labels for seven years to becoming an independent artist and founding her own record label, Godmother Records. The song’s audio and visual production values are both great, making it an excellent start of “HBIC”.
As with this EP, Raja Kumari is going completely independent and launching her music label, she has gone to great lengths to make it a classic experience with well-written songs and appealing aesthetics.
“Made In India,” without a doubt the most well-structured song on the EP, is an anthem for her Indian fans. Raja Kumari once again demonstrates her ability to hold her own on a melodious chorus with this track. She enhanced the celebration by featuring legendary Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit in the official music video. What makes the song even more significant is that it was her first endeavor as a director, and she did an outstanding job.
“HBIC,” the title track, is a groovy song about flexing and celebrating life as an independent woman. The beat on this track is something that one could easily dance to. This, however, was my least favourite song from the project. And it fell short of my expectations as a title track. Aside from that, the song is good, and NDS’s production is excellent.
The most anticipated song of the EP, “On” is a power trip packed with incredible lyrics and powerful music. The song features KR$NA and is surpassing all of the other tracks. Raja Kumari has done an excellent job on this record. Nacho Larraza produced a banger beat, while Raja Kumari amplified the intensity with her aggressive vocal delivery. KR$NA, on the other hand, ruled the track with his brilliant lyricism. Throughout his verse, he maintained his flow tight. His part begins with an elite rhyme scheme, rapping:
“Singles bhi dalu toh maaru eventually century/Aage hai hustle ye mentally/Inko toh chahiye bas sympathy, maut ki bajegi symphony If they gon’ mention me/Mujhse na bhidte hai enemies/Still got that pen on me, chahiye suggestion nahi/Laata main energy, you ain’t a friend of me/Dollar be dropping par ye koi recession nahi.”
Then he completely switches his rhyme scheme and demonstrates how proficient he is at the actual mechanics of rapping:
“Ye bante boss, par kiye hai dhandhe bandh ab boht/Kasam se god, yahan dhan ke karte bande fraud/Phir chalte karke kandhe chaud.”
Raja Kumari and KR$NA both did quite well on this song, making it stand out. The song is performing well in terms of streams and is a great track altogether.
Raja Kumari and Shah Rule first worked together on the hit song “Kaun Hai Tu” two years ago. “The Don” is their second joint record, and it’s as amazing as you’d expect. Raja jumps on the track glorifying her position as the queen of Indian hip hop. She talks about money, hard work, and success in her verse, and she drops some witty references:
“And I know it’s gonna make you sick/E-go is the hardest pill to swallow/Best know when I’m taking/This shit will get rockey, no Apollo.”
Shah Rule showed his A-game by ending his previous release “Game Set Match” with “Rule worldwide and to the top moon on some rocket ships” and starting his verse on “The Don” with “11:11, It’s my time to go to the moon,” Shah Rule and Raja Kumari both showcased their lyrical skills in their last verses while not compromising the song’s overall vibe.
The problem with HBIC is that Raja Kumari did not experiment with her sound or provide any new flavour on this project. She did, however, demonstrate her rap-singing skills and why she is one of the most talented rappers. Thanks to Nacho Larraza, Karan Panday, and NDS, the music production quality was just fantastic. HBIC appears to be the start of Raja Kumari’s new journey as an independent artist, and it was the first project she released under her own record company (Godmother Records). As she’s independent now, I’m hoping to hear some non-commercial music from her. Let’s wait and see what happens next.