all words and photos: Ben Droz
Best know for bringing middle eastern music to the club in Jay Zs “Beware of the Boys”, Panjabi MC combines traditional Indian Banhgra with a solid hip hop beat, for music that makes you want to belly dance. Panjabi MC was in town for the Kennedy Center’s “maximum INDIA” and I somehow became his official photographer on Sunday.
The group consisted of Punjabi MC, his band of two drummers and a MC Trix, their manager Richard Mahvrick, liaison Mandeep Surah, singer/rapper named Chase with a giant Super Mario bling, a British model named Sofia, and myself.
But before we could get down to the music, we had to do what hundreds of others were doing on Sunday afternoon- stuffing our faces with most popular DC cuisine and reality show, DC Cupcakes.
We got to meet the founders, who brought us to the kitchen so we could see how they bake and serve hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cupcakes on a typical Sunday Afternoon. I was wondering where the reality show crew was, why they weren’t filming us being all like “look, there’s a DJ in a cupcake shop”. But instead, it was just me snapping away, probably looking like a paparazzi, but with mad swagger. Paparazzi are random people who don’t know how to take pictures but are given giant zoom lenses and hired to stalk celebrities. That’s not how I roll.
Then it was to the Kennedy Center, where there was a packed, family friendly show.
Despite the sound system also being family friendly (where’s the bass?) it was a great show that remixed several popular tracks with traditional indian samples. Hailing from Pittsburgh, my personal favorite was the Black and Yellow remix, but there were many other highlights. Plus, Khalifa has that H just like Bhangra, so that’s tight.
After the show at the Kennedy Center, I somehow ended up back in the hotel room sharing jokes with the PMC crew and guest MC Shizz Nitty. We ended up ordering pizza and looking through photos, drinking some beers and grey goose, and smoking Benson and Hedges. And it all happened from a single text message on Saturday night.