Who is Onkar Sumal?
Onkar Sumal is one of the pioneers of Punjabi Rap, and helped shape the Bhangra scene to what is today. Based in the UK, he made his singing debut with his amazing new vocals on his debut single ‘Pichlee Galee’. His fresh new look and all round musical swagger is ready to take the industry by storm and his innovative style is set to raise the standards of the game.
Although he has only just made his singing debut, he is by no means a stranger to the industry. Fans will already know Onkar Sumal for his previous smash hits in the UK Asian Music Scene with his rapping skills. Onkar has performed on various stages both locally and internationally, and has now broken into the world of Bollywood. He was previously known as 'Lightnin MC', clocking up numerous hits since the start of the millennium. He is influential with RDB, Notorious Jatt and Heartless Crew, to name a few.
Onkar Sumal (Aka Lightnin MC) most acclaimed hits listed below in order of release:
‘Kamaal’ featuring Manak-e (Street Beats Vol 1)
‘Billo’ featuring Gubi Sandhu GI Jatt (Urban Flavas 3)
‘Putt Sardara De’ featuring Ranjit Mani & RDB (Unstoppable RDB)
‘Punjabanay’ & ‘Sum Next Auntie’ Both produced by the late Kully from RDB (Danger 3)
‘Aish’ featuring Notorious Jatt (Livin it up)
Various Songs on Play-az Lab Album produced by Jas Panesar
‘Pichlee Galee’ Prod by Jas Panesar (Pretty Boy Music)
Pichlee Galee Remix produced by Music Manny aka Illegal Demo feat Bushkin (Formerly Heartless Crew)
'1984' produced by Jas Panesar
'Ohle Ohle' produced by Jas Panesar
As well as an impressive portfolio of music, he is also regularly dubbed as the most controversial artist in the UK Asian Music Scene for his strong views and his bold personality, which makes him speak out against sensitive issues and corruption surrounding the UK Asian Music scene. These views have gained him lots of popularity and respect among peers and fans as he continues to demonstrate his no nonsense approach to real music, fuelled by his long term goal to revolutionise the UK Asian Music Scene and beyond.
As a current artist he has rebranded- now bringing his singing talents to the forefront along with the whole new 'Pretty Boy' image to compliment his arrival. As well as singing and rapping in 3 different languages, he writes his own lyrics and composes all of his own songs. Further to this, he also contributes to music production, direction, video production and script writing on all of his songs. He is a one of a kind artist in the Asian Music Scene who can boast many talents all rolled into one. For this reason he is now being compared to mainstream trendsetters such as Drake & Neyo.
Onkar Sumal? I hear you ask? – the name may not ring any bells to the new age listener or even the old but under his popular stage name ‘Lightnin MC’ he was evidently the 1st ever Punjabi Rapper in the world coming out in the year 2001. What happened? He left the music industry in 2007 for several reasons, but is now he is back with bucket load of material to prove himself as one of the original pioneer's of Punjabi rap and helped establish the roots of this genre which was relatively unknown back then.
As a business man who decided to give up on music in 2007, he was inspired to come back after his recent spat on Twitter with well-known rapper Raftaar. Raftaar accepted a rap challenge from Lightnin MC after a personal Facebook post was snapped to him through Twitter by a well-known UK radio DJ tagging the likes of Imran Khan, Raftaar, Honey Singh and many more music artists. Lightnin MC confirmed that he invented Punjabi rap and he would love to rap battle any of these artists for fun.
Not knowing his post had been caught by the media and posted to these artists, one artist made a provocative comeback. Raftaar accepted the challenge and the Twitter exchanges went on for a number of days, spreading over November and December. Raftaar eventually accepted, Lightnin MC kept chasing Raftaar for the official terms to be set, including the beat but Raftaar never responded.
The replies from Raftaar's team were very vague, and kept responding to Onkar that beat is coming. In reply, Onkar tweeted Raftaar, informing him that he will have a rap up in 48 hours and set the terms himself due to lack of credible responses to make the battle happen. Onkar then uploaded his rap video to YouTube, with 4 and a half minutes of street rap, completely raw and edited, completely going at Raftaar with personals, flow and conviction, proving that this is where the Punjabi rap game should be, and highlighting why he was indeed the inventor of this genre.
After the upload, Raftaar went missing for about two days with no reply, but he did eventually give credit where it’s due and described Onkar’s raps as ‘fire’. In a nutshell, Raftaar's excuses kept coming but his rap (to this day) didn’t materialise. Onkar Sumal took this positively and confirmed that no matter how many Bollywood songs Raftaar makes from this day forward, his street credibility as a rapper is zero. This spat also inspired him to get writing, and within the space of two months, whilst running his two business interests, he has recorded 4 songs, shot two music videos and is ready to start flooding high quality raps and songs back to the industry.
As well as an impressive portfolio of hits, his claim to the Punjabi rap crown and this spat with Raftaar, he was also regularly dubbed as the most controversial artist in the UK Asian Music Scene for his strong views and no nonsense personality. These views have gained him lots of genuine street respect among peers and fans as he continues to demonstrate his no nonsense approach to real music fuelled by his long term goal to revolutionise the UK Asian Music Scene and beyond.
So its now 2017 – he has already released several songs this year already, including 1984 and 'Ohle Ohle' which was released 21st September. Onkar has accepted he must rebuild his fan base from scratch and he is aiming to create waves through his content, not hype or media attention.
“I am starting from the very bottom and whether I get 10 fans or 1 million – the aim of this content is to simply show my abilities as a singer, rapper, lyric writer and composer and put content out which nobody in the industry can look at and say it doesn’t match the current standard – I aim to set trends and release music which I know is miles ahead of its time – I am hoping the listeners can pick this up and start the movement off so we can revolutionise the industry with game changers as opposed to everyone copying the last guy who made a hit."