The Artist: 'Hip hop is my vocabulary,' says North Carolina-born, Brooklyn-bred artist The1shanti, 'and I get pretty talkative.' For good measure, it should be mentioned up front that rapper/producer The1shanti is not concerned with whether or not his music will last on top 10 countdowns. He is more concerned with whether or not it will last forever. With that attitude, his vigor and undeniable talent contributed to the Dum Dum Project's smash-hit album, Spiritual Bling (Universal Music), with the international hit singles 'Punjabi Five-0' and 'Supafly Bindi'. A cultural entrustee, his work has garnered him the honorary title of India Bambaataa from hip hop's godfather, Afrika Bambaataa. It all makes sense upon unearthing the fact that The1shanti was a playground rhyme prodigy at the age of eight, and by 12 he had made his debut on stage with Doug E. Fresh and Ultramagnetics MCs. Raised in a strict hindu household, as a child The1shanti felt the alienation of both not 'fitting in' with mainstream American culture, nor that of his upbringing. For the child looking to belong, hip hop offered a home. At a time when hip hop is looking to distant shores for inspiration and the world is turning to hip hop to find a common culture, The1shanti stands at the crossroads as a truly universal artist, with a larger vision about the direction of music, hip hop and society as a whole. Topics on the artist's debut album, India Bambaataa (Flatbush Junction), range from social change and self-awareness, to party oriented b-boy fueled crossover selections for contemporary audiences. Thematically, India Bambaataa is a constantly moving journey through a virtual departure lounge. Influenced by living between New York, London, Bangkok, and Bombay for the better part of five years (2001-2006), the album documents the artist's sentiments and perspective in real time as the world began it's ultimate embrace of hip hop as a universal language and his gradual ascend to pioneering status. The Album: 'India Bambaataa', the album's title track has been described by BBC Radio as 'a Rajhestani wedding at an MC battle.' This self-produced selection carries with it the influence of Beastie Boy and longtime Dum Dum Project supporter, Mike D. 'I was on the plane to Bombay and had Paul's Boutique on repeat...by the time we had landed, the framework for the track was banged out on the laptop. The way I flipped the sample just makes you wanna party. I wanted the title track to open the album and formally say that I've arrived, but reach that through the sounds of celebration.' While 'Broken Promises' quickly takes the listener on an inward journey through childhood, the Sho 'Nuff produced 'C'mon Now' cleverly fuses a simple orchestral sample with the sung hindi phrase aja or c'mon and let's the emcee's wordplay shine as he encourages his doubters to test him. 'I'm a laid back character,' says the artist, 'I'm the deep end of the pool...this is what you get when you dip your toe in, this is just breaking the surface.' Continuing with the theme, the Dum Dum Project produced 'Hold' provides an instant dancefloor-ready crowd pleaser, with the emcee continuing with his braggadocio lyricism through the next song, a party anthem entitled 'In Here', produced by Elite (Ruff Ryders). One of the album's standout tracks is the western-tinged 'Sholay' (produced by Elite) which found it's inspiration in the Bollywood movie classic under the same title. As a film, the spaghetti western styled tale of crime and passion found a deep correlation in The1shanti's mind with that of his own artistic circumstance. 'Sholay did many things in Bollywood, but one of the major events was that it was the jump off point for Amitabh Bachchan [Bollywood's prized old-guard leading man], it established him and empowered him like no other. I did my thing for hip hop in India, and for my people, this might be the wild west out here but this ain't a movie...you gotta respect hip hop on a Sholay level...I'm the numba one runna of this.' 'Love and Longing in Bombay', another standout, was inspired by author Vikram Chandra's collection of short stories bearing the same name. On his first trip to Bombay, the artist carried with him a studio laptop, a change of clothes, and the book. 'The book was my blueprint for what to expect, but the writing changed me as much as the people and place...I fell in love. The only way I could love it back was to break out the TR-707 drum sounds used in old school breakdance records and really show people how in love I am. That place brought a new style outta me that I call Bollywood Breakdance. I own that style. It jumped off with this track.' Produced in his suite at hotel Pali Hill, the artist recalls an encounter with film director Kaizad Gustav, who incidentally had rented out the suite below him, 'I showed him the book and broke down the song, I don't think he got it 'cause I was just freestyling it to him at that point.' Noting the artist's enthusiasm, the director went on to secure 'Punjabi Five-0' for the soundtrack of the film he was working on at that time, Boom. 'Look At Me' addresses the subject of lyrics not being given proper emphasis, over a Bubo produced track worthy of it's heavy advertising and soundtrack licensing. 'Dizzy' and 'Save Me' are both guitar-driven tracks which the artist wrote, 'as a hip hop singer/songwriter,' which adds an element of deeper intimacy as The1shanti shares with his audience stories of love and loss. 'I had done an album a few years ago for Tom Silverman's ears [Tommy Boy], who put out Afrika Bambaataa's records among other artists I look up to,' says The1shanti, 'although we couldn't work things out, he did say someday he wanted to hear me try a song about who I am and use a mantra...that's when I came up with Save Me.' Comments the artist, 'Sometimes I just sit down with my acoustic guitar and start freestyling, and those tracks were created that way.' Closing the album is 'Flatbush Junction', named after the region of Brooklyn found at the end of the 2 train line. Feeling nostalgic for a sense of 'home' at the end of his journey, The1shanti recounts a list of minor details which contribute to the factors which always lead him back to Brooklyn. With the closing remarks, 'We can go around the world, but home is where the heart is...', the album concludes as triumphantly as it began.