Blaaze (pronounced Blaa-zay) might not be a familiar name to many of us. But the rap song B to the A to the B to the A, BABA from the movie Baba is something that you would have definitely heard. The song, which was sung by rapper, Blaaze.
A regular rapper based in Mumbai, Blaaze was called by A R Rahman to sing for the Tamil movie Boys. ''After working for the song in Boys, I was going to return to my room when Rahman stopped me on the way and asked if I could rap for Baba. I had not heard of Baba before and asked if it was for Sai Baba. He just looked and me and said 'Rajnikanth is Baba'. I was shocked,'' says Blaaze, who could not believe what he was offered. He then rushed back to the recording room and penned down the lyrics of the rap. Rahman gave it the green signal as soon as he heard it.
''I went back to Bombay and when I returned to Chennai a few days later Rahman told me that Rajnikanth had listened to the track and was very happy with the way it had turned out. I was kicked,'' says Blaaze.
Blaaze, a Chennaiite, left for Zambia in 1979 with his parents. He later went to the UK to do his O and A levels. His interest in rap began while in school. His big break came when he rapped a special song during the election of President Chiluba. ''While watching TV during the 1991 elections in Zambia, I was moved by what the Presidential candidate was saying about democracy and human rights. I immediately wrote down a song. My dad's friend saw it and took me to the TV station. They heard my song and I got my first video!,'' he says. After that he, along with his friends, started performing in South Africa. But still Blaaze's dream to see his song up on the charts did not materialise.
''I did not want to waste my time anymore, though rap was still my passion, and decided to pursue film-making. I left for Columbia University, where I did my honours in Cinema. I tried to get a job there but it did not materialise,'' says Blaaze.
He returned to India in 2000 and landed a job with MTV as Production Incharge. After two years, he quit to join Radio City. ''Everything went smoothly for two months as radio had become the big thing in Mumbai,'' he says. But overnight they decided to shift the broadcast language from English to Hindi, putting Blaaze in a fix. ''I couldn't host shows in Hindi and knew that I was going to lose my job. And that was the day I got a call my A R Rahman's office asking me to come down to record a song. I have always believed in destiny,'' he says.
We will get to hear Blaaze again when Boys releases. In the movie, Blaaze has sung a song with Vasundhara Das. Now, if you are wondering what his name means, here's what he has to say. ''My name is actually Rajesh Raman, but as a rapper I could not go around with that name. So I called myself Blaze. That's when my friend told me to add an accent on top of 'e', which he said would be more stylish!''