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He was only eight when he started rhyming his sentences and adding rhythm to them. It was much later that he found out he had actually been "rapping". And, what better break into the industry could Jason Harrow have asked for than a chance to perform in front of Nelson Mandela. In 1993, he took on the stage name of Kardinal Offishall, which was inspired by the great French politician of the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu. The rapper behind hits such as Dangerous, a collaborative piece with Akon, and Tide is High, in collaboration with Keri Hilson, visited Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune to promote his latest album Allow me Re-introduce Myself.
"Back in the day, hip hop was more of an underground sort of music. But most of the time, new music or a new trend in music is actually just a version of something that has already been done before," he explains.
Harrow has been one of the few artistes to have kept a distance between his music and his personal life. None of his songs is autobiographical, though he plans on letting his fans in on some personal experiences through his latest album. "Though I've been in the game for a while now, there is always someone who has heard my name for the first time. I don't talk much about myself in my commercial releases; this is an insider," reveals Harrow. The album is in collaboration with Nottz, an acclaimed music producer.
In India, Harrow plans to dig into spicy curries and Indian desserts. "I grew up in Toronto with a mix of cultures, cuisines and music. I love spicy Indian curries, which is quite similar to the Jamaican dishes we have at home. I have a strong stomach," says the teetotaler, who is fond of kulfis and gulab jamuns.