Rafiq Bhatia – “Hoods Up”

Rafiq Bhatia has lent his guitar chops to Son Lux since their 2015 LP Bones. Now signed to Anti-, Bhatia is gearing up to release his latest solo work, Breaking English, and we’re premiering the lead track today. “Hoods Up” is completely instrumental aside from a few breaths and low hums barely discernible among the many emotional layers within the texture. Bhatia explained what all of the layers truly represent:

“Hoods Up” was the first track I started on Breaking English, and one of the last ones I finished. Years in the making, with multiple discarded versions littering the path to completion, the piece is the result of me trying to push myself beyond my limits. That required wading into uncharted territory, but it also meant accepting myself for who I am. I think the music carries some of the struggle of its creation with it.

I started sculpting “Hoods Up” in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s senseless killing and the subsequent smear campaign against him: the systematic dehumanization of a young black teenager walking home in a hoodie. But as I worked away at the song, escalating current events began to add layers of meaning to it. The white hoods from our country’s past kept coming out of the woodwork, reminding us of the horrifying influence they continue to exert in the present.

Listen below.

03/15 Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern*
03/16 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge*
04/09 New York, NY @ National Sawdust
04/11 Chicago, IL @ Schubas
04/12 Indianapolis, IN @ IUPUI Masterclass
04/19 Warsaw, PL @ Poglos
04/20 Berlin, DE @ Acud Macht Neu
04/21 Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklang
04/22 Copenhagen, DK @ Ideal Bar
04/26 Antwerp, BE @ deSingel / Bouge B Festival
04/27 London, UK @ Shacklewell Arms
04/28 Paris, FR @ Point Éphémère
04/29 Metz, FR @ 7(7) Café
05/03 Nyon, CH @ LA Parenthèse
05/04 Luzern, CH @ Sedel
05/29 Los Angeles, CA @ The Moroccan Lounge
05/30 San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord
* – supporting Red Baraat

Breaking English is out 4/6 via Anti-. Here’s the album cover: