FAMILY is a collective of British Asians who skillfully combine
urban music with their own upbringing as UK Desis. The name Sona
Family means Gold Family, gold being an object of high quality,
also representing family. The family unit is the foundation and
an integral part of Asian life, which makes for a crew that produces
high quality music with a strong foundation for each member to pursue
their own solo ventures. Headed by producer/writer Harry Sona, Sona
Family consists of rapper/singer/producer Mr Riz, DJ/producer JC
and female rapper HardKaur. The group first burst onto the scene
in summer of 2002 with the original line up of cousins Harry Sona
& Usmaan with compadres Krazy King Shuks and DJ JC, causing a ruckus
amongst the Asian youth with their SONA KAANDAAN mixtape. This first
street release was filled with rap songs that gave the Brit-Asian
perspective on things, the two standout tracks being the harsh underground
classic "Hai Kuthi," and more significantly, their refix
of More Fire Crew's garage anthem "Oi," renamed "Oi
Who's that Asian Girl." By taking such a fresh approach to
rap by integrating their Asian background, the tape sold just under
700 copies up and down the country, and the "Oi" refix
quickly gained heat on the underground with in excess of 10,000
illegal downloads. "Oi" was primarily a street tune until
it was debuted on Radio 1's then fledgling Asian music show, BOBBY
FRICTION AND NIHAL PRESENTS, which exposed it to the entire nation.
Soon Kiss 100's DJ Luck, Choice FM's Mastersteps, and countless
pirates DJs were playing exclusive dub plates of the track. The
refix eventually landed on not only the Kiss Urban Compilation,
but also on the B-side of More Fire's second single.
the fire behind them, the Sona Family crew released more infectious
tracks like "Indian Style" to radio. With a rep for making
fun of situations, the track had Harry and Usmaan going back and
forth taking a satirical look at young Asian life. Then in early
2003 through a chance meeting at London hip hop night Kung Fu, Usmaan
and Harry asked like-minded Asian rapper/singer Mr Riz to join the
Family, feeling his singing voice added a new dimension to the click.
With this new member the crew threw the single "Bang Boogie"
to radio and the clubs, building their buzz even further. They then
teamed up with Asian superstar DJ Sanj for the Hip Hop R&B banger
"Hey Hey" which was featured on the URBAN FUSION compilation.
After gaining an impressive underground and industry following through
these tracks, the crew took their unique brand of urban music to
various clubs and Asian melas throughout the summer of 2003, causing
a storm - and sometimes mini riots - wherever they performed. The
family grew again when producer Tino and rapper Jamal Cooke came
into the mix to add their own flavours. Continuing the steady rise
of Sona Family, in late 2003 Radio 1's Nihal brought Usmaan and
Mr Riz together with Jay Sean and female rapper HardKaur to do a
Westwood Asian Rap special with Trailblazerz providing the beats.
It was through this meeting that HardKaur was introduced the to
all the members of the family and eventually became part of the
crew in early 2004.
a insatiable demand for all their hard-to-find white label releases,
Sona Family drew on the growing New York trend of releasing unofficial
street albums / mixtapes to satisfy the fans, and dropped FAMILY
HUSTLE THE MIXTAPE. This release compiled all of their original
tracks, along with some skilful "versions" of currently
popular hip hop and R&B tracks. It was released in February 2004
on their independent label Family Business, and sold just over 1000
copies in 4 weeks with no promotion. Towards the end of the summer
the crew solidified their current line up, with some members leaving
due to situations of their control, most notably Usmaan.
2005 Sona Family went from strength to strength, firstly earning
4 nominations in for the British Asian Music Awards (BRAMA). They
then unleashed the huge club smash "Glassy" onto the Urban
Asian scene, a catchy ode to shot culture and weekend binge drinking
Sona family style. Along with its equally infectious follow up,
"Glassy Pt2," it was released through Nachural
Records on THE GLASSY EP in August.
with the streets buzzin', b- b-b- buzzin' from London to Bombay
to New York, Sona Family are busy completing their debut album for
release early next year. With new members set to come through, watch
Sona Family explode internationally in 2006.