A Profile of the Rap Duo Bham City

They have made their home in the halls of Bronx Science.

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Gazi Fuad

“Racists eat rice. Activists eat rice. Rice has served as a necessity, and a luxury. BHAMCITY attempts to remind us of this staple of society which unites us in a simple, yet beautiful devotion towards a crop which has given us so much,” Baboucarr Gaye ’20 said about Bham City’s music.

“When we say Bham, you say City!” 

This chant riled up the audience during this year’s Homecoming before a feature performance from Bham City. Why did Bham City excite the audience so much though? 

Bham City is a rap duo made up of Baboucarr (Babou) Gaye ’20 and Arjun Mazumdar ’21. They made their debut with the song “Fried Rice” on August 8th, 2019. With lively lyrics riding on dynamic beats, the duo has gained an avid following among Bronx Science students. The name “Bham” comes from a combination of the words “Bhaat” and “Malo,” which both mean rice in Mazumdar and Gaye’s respective native languages (Bengali and Wolof). The name is also an acronym for “Babou Hyphen Arjun Music,” Gaye said. 

“Arjun and I began collaborating after listening to ‘Baguettes In The Face’ one day. When he was off-guard, I played a track I had recorded the month before without telling him it was me until afterwards. He then showed me some of his work from literally years ago and we decided to write together,” said Gaye. 

Bham City then came to be because of their mutual love for rap music. “We also wanted to find a fun way to address growing cultural polarization, and decided to make a rice themed album since it is a unifying factor between communities,” Mazumdar said.

From biryani to paella, rice is a staple in many cultural dishes and recipes. “Rice is meant to be enjoyed by all of humanity without regard for faith, color, creed, or any other form of divisive identification,” Gaye said. With their goal in mind, Mazumdar and Gaye set out to record the songs on the Rice Tapes. 

Each creative process behind their songs begins with the beats they choose. “Babou and I start free styling based on the vibe we get from the instrumental,” Mazumdar said. “Arjun is definitely the more melodic artist, while I tend to focus more on complex flows,” Gaye said. Mazumdar also likes to switch his flow and incorporate lyricism. 

“Fried Rice” was originally a freestyle itself. “We put it on paper, polished it a bit and recorded at a bedroom studio in Brooklyn; Other songs we weren’t even in contact with each other for an extended period of time but just kept writing and went over bars on FaceTime,” Gaye said. On the way to their debut, Mazumdar and Gaye “engaged in a social media campaign with help from Jack Tapay ’20, who designed our logo,” Gaye added. “The primary aspect was the comic-book-esque graphic behind the ‘BHAM CITY’ so I decided to spruce it up a bit by adding dots as the backing and giving the text a bit more depth,” said Tapay. 

Bham City’s goals for their music, meanwhile, are varied. “I still very much believe we are in the early stages of our rap careers and have yet to completely find our sound/style.” Gaye said. The duo is planning to incorporate more original beats along with branching out to other concepts, such as geographic locations. 

“In rare cases, modern day civilization can trace back its origins to a simple, humble beginnings. Rice. A unifying force, shared by all branches of humanity,” the Bham City manifesto states. Their manifesto outlines their main goals for the group and also how they want their music to impact people. Not only is rice meant to unify everyone, but so is Bham City’s music. “It’s two people from our school who managed to make something really good: their lines are funny and relatable and they have bars and really good flow,” Juliet Daniel ‘21 said. Their homecoming performance “added diversity to the usual homecoming pep rallies,” Jiawen Qi ‘21 said. By expressing a message of cultural unification through witty bars and punchy instrumentals, Bham City is a creative phenomenon sure to thrive in Bronx Science and beyond.  

Gazi Fuad
“I go dumb for the foreign like the car ain’t enough, that’s why I go home and give both my parents a hug.” “Arroz” was Mazumdar’s favorite song to record so far because of it being fun to record and write. “We did it spontaneously, and it has a great mix of melody and flow,” Arjun Mazumdar ’21 said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Tapay
In order to create the logo, “The whole process took about an hour on Photoshop. Most of that time was spent on brainstorming how I could improve their original logo,” Jack Tapay ’20 said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By expressing a message of cultural unification through witty bars and punchy instrumentals, Bham City is a creative phenomenon sure to thrive in Bronx Science and beyond.  

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