Half Hour With Osama Karamat
You’ve heard it all; you look just like Jason Momoa – Khal Drogo in GoT and Aquaman – what is the wackiest thing someone has said about your persona?
I had this hilarious encounter with two teenagers at a French fries stand, when one immediately freaked out and instantly asked ‘Bhai bhai, such a huge fan, how did you get here though? Did you park your shark somewhere?’ And another time, among many DMs on Instagram, this one young lady insisted that she mothers and rides my dragon.
How fed up are you with this question and why?
I’m not fed up with it because all my life I’ve idolised superheroes and warriors and wanted to become one – my all-time favorite hero is Superman. Once this whole Aquaman/Drogo phenomenon took off, my inner child was finally satisfied – If I couldn’t be Superman, I could at least hangout in the same DC comics fraternity!
What music have you created most recently as Osama Com Laude, your professional entity?
I released my latest single ‘Dil’ across all digital platforms on Valentine’s Day 2019. It was an experiment as a hybrid Urdu/English song, and it received positive reactions, by and large. The big mystery now that am I doing the video is: Who’s going to star in it?
You grew up in the States where you began your rapping career. We also remember you from ‘Desi Thumka’ (DT) (2011) days. What’s a favourite you produced at that time?
After DT I decided to finally put out a full blown solo single with a music video called ‘The Balance’ and it still resonates with me to this day. In it, I speak about the difficulty of managing two completely opposing lives and that too being a young Pakistani Muslim male. The standard we’re expected to live up to and just the overall struggle of trying to please everyone around you is complex.
You took a hiatus from rapping to complete your medical degree. What are your future career plans as a doctor?
It’s funny because right now I’ve switched it up and I’m on an official hiatus from medicine for a few months. Medicine is always there, I can go back to it anytime, it’s never too late. With the way I’ve planned it out I want to tie in my fitness brand – which I have launched recently with some of my closest friends – and my medical expertise together and obtain my license as a sports physician and carry those side by side.
Name three top musical inspirations?
Three is not enough but if I had to pluck out a top order it would go Eminem, Nelly and the Backstreet Boys.
Three favourite words that you like to use in your rap lyrics?
They’re probably all slang terms but gonna (going to), wanna (want to) and tryn’a (trying to).
What is one thing that would people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m actually very laid back and even shy to some extent.
What’s next for Osama Com Laude?
I want to separate the artist from the person. OCL is going to remain forever and be there to annihilate any sort of musical project that he gets to be a part of, but Osama Karamat Ali Shah is gonna venture out into new lands and take his stab at the small and big screen and see if the man can live up to the dream!
Your debut EP ‘PaKing’ is finally out now. Tell us a little more about this. The inspiration behind the four songs.
Honestly, early 2019 I was close to hanging up my mic. It wasn't until a few key moments took place with some key names and close friends that I realised this is my true calling, my plan A, my forte. So just like that my brain waves started resonating and ideas started churning. Being constantly influenced by great kings/warriors of the past, I came up with the concept of a war-trodden king who was beaten but not defeated who was ready to rise up yet again and reclaim his throne, hence the title paKING (an amalgamation of Pakistan + King). I wanted the whole tone of the EP to be edgy, in your face and motivating. I've never made music that I can play in the gym when working out so that was something I wanted to nail with the four tracks on this compilation.
How long did the process take?
Conceptualizing music doesn't take very long, I have hundreds of concepts always floating around in my head. I have the pleasure of being friends with people who are also great artists in their own way. I managed to pull off a lot of firsts on this EP. All in all it took over three months since there were a lot of features involved but in the end it's all worth it when you see the adulation and undying love of the fans appreciate the art you spent so long making.