For someone whose memory resembles Swiss cheese (it is full of
holes), remembering everyone who has helped make this book a
reality over the past decade is a daunting yet gratifying exercise. I
apologize in advance to those I have forgotten to mention; your in-
fluence is nonetheless reflected in these pages. My biggest thanks
and praises go to each and every artist I met over the course of
conducting fieldwork and who agreed to take part in this project
at a time when many academics were unclear about who or what
“hip hop” or “desis” referred to. Many of these desi hip hop artists
have become dear friends and have shaped this project well into
the editing phases, particularly Bella, Chirag, Kiran, Sammy, Nimo,
Swapnil, Vivek, D’Lo, Roger, Asad, Fahad, and Joseph. Your words,
vision, and actions have inspired me for years and I hope that
inspiration and consciousness is reflected in this work. I also wish
to thank KB, D’Lo, Chee Malabar, and Sammy for granting permis-
sion to use their words in the epigraphs. I could not have completed
this project without the enormous guidance, support, and comedic
relief of my dear friends, colleagues, and interlopers, including my
dissertation writing group at the University of California, Berke-
ley: Aaron Bobrow Strain, Rebecca Dolhinow, and Susan Shepler;
my tireless dear friends and intellectual interlocutors: Carleen
Basler, Jinah Kim, Kristi and the quints, Heather Lee, Anastasia
Panagakos, Dana Petersen, Elizabeth Schainbaum, Cathy Schlund-
Vials, Zulema Valdez, and Andrew Yinger; and Laura Helper- Ferris,
who helped me get back on track. While I do not envy your task of
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