Raise a Glassy
UK hip hoppers Sona Family all set to release debut album
It’s a late Tuesday evening, and Sona Family has just returned from rehearsal and arrived back at their East London recording studio, just days before they embark on their US tour. Singer Kazz and DJ JC are hanging out in one corner of the studio, while in the other corner Rapper Mr Riz is rolling a joint and passing around plastic cups of strawberry Kool-Aid. The studio is piled with old-school hip hop records and the Akai S950 vintage sampler in the far corner is hard to miss.Â One thing is clear: Sona Family is very chilled out. That is, except when they start talking about their music.
“Me, Harry, JC; cut our veins and you’ll see hip hop pouring out”¦ We are hip hop you don’t stop, simple, straight up, hip fucking hop from the get go”¦. we love hip hop, we eat, breathe, sleep that shit.”
Sona Family first made a name for themselves on the British Asian music scene in 2002 with their Sona Kaandaan mix tape. However, their big break came in 2005 with their song ”˜Glassy,’ featuring Hard Kaur. The song propelled the group to international success and earned them four nominations at the British Asian Music Awards. ”˜Glassy’ became a regular club anthem in India and the UK, and remained on the BBC Asian Network’s Top 20 Chart for an entire year.
Make Some Noise, already released in the UK, is laced from start to finish with infectious beats and authentic rhymes. The songs ”˜More Glassy,’ ”˜Crazy 4 Ya’ and ”˜Get on Down’ provide the signature Sona Family rhythmic hip hop dance numbers, while Riz showcases his rap lyrics in a more serious song, ”˜Kala Paisa.’
Singles from Sona Family’s latest album have already appeared in hit TV programs in the US. Their single ”˜Crazy 4 Ya’ recently featured in the US TV channel NBC’s Friday night primetime show Las Vegas, and was later heard on MTV’s hit show The Hills. As their videos garnered attention and airplay, R&B artists Jagged Edge and Mario recently invited the Sona Family to support their club tours in the UK. In fact, their high energy sound has been compared by the Wall Street Journal to the Black Eyed Peas.
The comparison to the Black Eyed Peas is an obvious one, as Sona Family’s sound is firmly rooted in hip hop and R&B music and is best known for their energetic, edgy, pop dance numbers. Like Fergie, Kazz is the only female member of an otherwise all male group, and exudes the same sassy sense of style and bold, confident sex appeal which comes across in the music.
Sona Family’s producer, Harry Sona, credits their achievements date to a lot of hard work and dedication, as they have no official manager and do everything themselves, from booking their own gigs, to promotion, to dealing with their contacts overseas. While this has been an incredibly busy year for the band, they show no signs of slowing down, as they are already starting to work on their next album. They are hoping their tour of the US this summer will provide some inspiration for the upcoming sounds on their next album.
When asked why Sona Family is so US-focussed at the moment, Riz replies, “Coming from hip hop, we need to go to America and show them what we are up to because we took from them for so long, we want to give something back now.Â We want to show some love, definitely.”