February 25th, 2012 | By NepHop
When you hear One Sun’s tone, delivery and lyrics, it’s impossible to deny the influence that the birth place of Hiphop, New York has had on him. Nephop.net spoke with the Abandon Nation rapper about his new projects, what he got up to in Nepal and his inspiration in life.
For those who don’t know you, please introduce yourself
My name is Sanjog Nirola and I go by alias One Sun. My nickname (Sun) was given to me when I moved up to New York. One day I was free styling and addressed myself as One Sun, it felt like the room changed so I stuck with it. I actually grew up in MD/DC where I used to have a Band. We were together for 2 years and then I had a falling out with them (we are all cool now). I decided MD wasn’t the place for me so I bought a one way ticket to NYC and left in a matter of days. Before that, I had always come to New York as a child. I remember my friends and I used to take trips every few months to Skateboard around the city. I fell in love with it ever since.
I was born and raised in U.S. My father moved here from Nepal back in 1968. That guy is my hero. He was one the first Nepalese to come to this country and was one of the founding members of ANA. He’s also a BAD ASS.. lol… He is the definition to the phrase “Living Young Forever.” I went skydiving with him a few years back and his last words right before he jumped off was “You’re not going first, I’ve been waiting for this my whole life” (he’s in his late 60’s). I feel blessed to have parents that truly are my role models.
How is the Hip-hop scene in New York?
It’s hard but DOPE! It’s tough out here because there’s a lot of competition. Especially since I’m not Black or Hispanic, I always find myself in freestyle battles to gain respect. At this point, free styling is all I do. Lol. I’m trying to get to the point where I don’t have to write anymore. I find that my mind works better on the spot.
Other than that, living here is inspiring. I mean this is the birthplace of hip hop so everyday I hear/read about epic events that have taken place and witness legendary spots. There’s TONS of history that has been made here and still being made to this day. Everyday I grow into a better MC because of my environment. Also performing here is dope as well.
Your raps consist a lot around story telling. Who influences you?
Yea, I love story telling, it’s a way to paint a picture with words. Stories will live on forever and there are so many lessons that one can learn from them. I can go on FOREVER with artist that influence me, but I got to give a shout out to 2Pac, Biggie, Immortal Technique, Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z, Lauren Hill, Kanye, Blackstar, OutKast (the list goes on)… They have impeccable word play and are great at executing them into stories or emotions.
I’ve loved hip-hop since I was a kid but I used to listen to a lot of different stuff aside from it (still do). My first favorite band when I was a kid was Greenday… lol… Kind of random but my sister got me into them and it was when their album Dookie came out. My first favorite rapper was definitely 2Pac though. I used to have his Greatest Hits and All Eyes On Me (albums) on repeat. As of late, I’ve been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar and revisiting Eminem. Both of them are lyrical geniuses.
You made a tribute track for Japan last year. What inspired you to do this?
I felt a great deal of pain from that nature disaster. A few of my friends were in Japan and so I was worried. I’m also pretty socially conscious. I kind of have too because my sister is a humanitarian (pretty much a modern day Mother Teresa). She was in the Peace Corp in Kiribiti (small island in the pacific), then went to India with my cousin for a maternal mortality reduction project (saving pregnant women’s lives) and now she’s in South Sudan eradicating the Ginny worm problem (killing a ring worm that grows in your body and kills you). She will also be going to Nepal next year to work in Achham to help the Nyaya Health Organization take care of the Maternal Mortality rate there (this regions has the highest maternal mortality rate in South Asia). She’s honestly my best friend and an even better sister. We actually made a promise to her (during a roots concert) that I would write about socially conscious issues and share this to the world. People need to hear about what happening in this world, that’s the only way they will do something.
Tell us the current situation with Abandon Nation.
We will be releasing tracks very soon. We have a few new artist to the roster, (Drew Delgado and Sajag(Joc)) whom will be releasing their tracks within the next month. After we collect a sufficient amount of material, we will be releasing a collaboration album and will throw a release party (this will also be a performance). I have a few solo shows coming up. My next one is this Saturday in alphabet city NYC.
Many of us this year have been exploring new genres and developing our sounds. P- Nice at the moment has been developing his artistry through intense vocal training and recreating his sound/image. I myself have been exploring my own craft and studying lyricism. I think music is an on going learning process and ones evolution is an important part of growth. That’s why successful artist do not stick to the same formula, they think outside the box.
What did you learn the most from your The Hype mixtape?
I have gotten very good responses from it. It was my first solo mixtape and it was a good first go. I decided not to promote it too much because during that time I was going through an artist growth spurt and was more excited about the new stuff I was writing.
The whole experience was INCREDIBLE though, every week I would go to the studio mix and master tracks while also putting together my music video. The Music Video was great too. The actor in it is my best friend who is doing BIG THINGS in LA. I was grateful for his involvement as a producer and actor, not to mention as a friend. We had a lot of fun with it, it didn’t feel like work at all.
You were in Nepal a few months ago. Tell us some of the projects you worked on?
Nepal was phenomenal! Between the family, music and adventures, I wish I could have stayed longer. When I was there, I immediately got in touch with Yama Buddha and Aidray. When I met up with Buddha in the studio he had been with producer Blu who was showing him beats. I didn’t really know Buddha well but I heard his mixtape and knew he was a dope rapper. Blu showed us this one beat that both Buddha and I liked and we just went in! Our verses were pretty much done after that first day but went back a few times to fix things up. While in the studio I met some of Nephops finest MC’s including Duke, Aidray and Dougie. When Aidray heard the track he immediately wanted to jump on. So the track should be releasing very soon, we are just trying to finalize everything.
As a Nepali rapper who spits in English, who do you see as your target audience?
Well, my short-term target market is definitely Nepalese (from Nepal and westernernized) but I’m planning to expand to the whole of South Asians. I feel that the westernized Nepalese might be more inclined to relate to my music because (like me) they were raised here. I would like to incorporate Nepalese lyrics in the future but I would only do it if the music/lyrics sounds good and genuine. The most important part about ones music is to be real.
There has yet to be a South Asian Rapper who has hit the main stream hard, so that’s what I’m in the process of accomplishing. A lot of these first generation South Asians are looking for rappers that they can identify with and the ones I have encountered are some of my biggest supporters. Together as a large community, we can put Nepal on the map! The great part about the entertainment industry now a days is it’s looking for individuals with unique cultures and ideas (like Prabal Gurung).
What does Nephop mean to you and are there any rappers you are feeling and would like to collaborate with?
“NepHop is home and I want to make it grow big… I honestly believe Nepal has potential to be an entertainment hub of Asia.”
NepHop is home and I want to make it grow big. We have a lot of talented artist out there that deserve shine. I was talking to Buddha about this and I honestly believe Nepal has potential to be an entertainment hub of Asia. Nepal is surrounded by 2 economic POWER HOUSES so geographically they are in the middle a lot of the worlds money. My guess is, within the next few decades there is going to be a lot of immigration into India and China so Nepal is going to have an opportunity to generate money through tourism while showcasing our musical talents. WE THE PEOPLE have to start the movement though (the government is not going to do shit until $$$ starts coming in). There is no STRONG music hub in Asia, SO WE CAN BE IT! Call me a dreamer but I am my father’s son. No one would have ever guessed that a boy from Kusaha Nepal (small village in east Nepal) would ever make it to America, let alone be one of the first Nepalese in this country.
As for who I want to collaborate with: Abandon Nation, Yama Buddha, Red Room, Duke, Aidray, Dougie, MC Flo, Mr. KC, Fuba, Mr. TMG, James Shresta, Loorey, Rap Temple, Master Mind, Unique Poet, Dbruk and anyone that I missed that can THROW DOWN… Shit, if it was up to me, we would all be on one hour-long beat where everyone has a 16…lol
What can we look forward from you this year?
Well, in the next few weeks I will be releasing some new material. I’ve been working on a few videos with Bcash that will be dropping soon. I will also be releasing a 10 track EP that will hopefully have many beats from AJ, B.E.A.S.T., and Blu.
Most recently I’ve been mixing it up a little bit, rapping over Dubstep beats and other genres of music. I don’t like being confined in one. I am really excited about the material I’ve been writing lately so STAY TUNED! I have a really good feeling about this year so I look forward to the future.