Three homies from Hicksville, Long Island are redefining the rap game. BBS, otherwise known as Brown Boy Squad, takes beats crafted in a bedroom closet and rhymes rapped in a bathroom, and compiles the two into what they describe as “defining and different.”
Middle school friends Saqib Ansari, a sophomore from Baruch College, Amrit Dhillon, a biology major from Stony Brook University, and Asad Jung, a sophomore from Fordham University make up the “Brown Boy Squad.”
Ansari, also known as “Swadbeats,” started spinning in the tenth grade as a hobby, making beats in his bedroom.
When he invited his two friends Dhillon and Jung over one day, the two began rapping over his beats and the Brown Boys were born.
“We all bring something different to the table,” Ansari said, “Asad is into Indian classical poetry and Amrit is more into hardcore rap.”
Ansari is a self-taught producer for the group, dedicating hours after school to mixing beats.
“There was a period of two or three years that he wouldn’t leave his house,” Jung said, “Then we found out that he would go home just working on his beats from going to school then going home. He kind of digs isolation, no one ever thought he was working on beats, but now we see the result of it.”
The group first gained notice when the song “The Memorial” circulated around the halls of Hicksville High School.
The group produced the song as a comeback to another rap group’s song dissing the Brown Boy Squad.
“That song overshadowed the other person’s who made it about us. You couldn’t go around the school without someone bringing it up,” Jung said, “We didn’t really wanna do any more diss tracks, we kinda just wanted to make good music.”
Today, the group produces music that is fun and inspirational without trying to preach.
With inspirations like rapper Kendrick Lamar and Heems, an Indian rapper from Queens. They try to bring a message across in their music.
The goal is to get their fans to give the songs a few listens to understand the meaning behind the lyrics and never take themselves too seriously.
They tie in their roots and culture, like in their new song “Little Indians,” which plays on their Indian-American culture and what being “brown” means to them, with lyrics like “Bless ya brownness and don’t try to stain it.”
“There’s sort of a caste system that used to be apparent in India,” Jung explained, “With that caste system there was a stigma of people with a darker skin color. I talked a lot about embracing your brownness and me being a dark brown dude I guess I just had a personal attachment.”
Dhillon said he does not like to force the message because he feels it is corny and does not want to be fake. Rapping is therapeutic to him and has helped him through life when he was in a dark place.
“People always ask are we trying to be famous,” Dhillon said, “ I say ‘I guess’ but deep down, as of right now I’m having fun with this, helps me deal with everything, and if I am doing it for my friends I don’t see why not.”
From their basement to Stony Brook, the group said a major goal for the group is to perform at Roth Regatta as one of their first live performances. Ansari’s mixtape, with vocals from Dhillon and Jung titled “Motherland Dirt” is coming out Oct. 10 on SoundCloud, featuring “Little Indians.”
“BBS is gonna blow up one day,” drummer Louie Sposato of the bands Oh Scatter Brained Me, Cancerous and Tragedy In Numbers said. “They don’t stop, they are always writing and trying to create music with meaning, not just noise about drugs or alcohol.”
Ansari said he has have crafted the mixtape with so much energy and so much of himself in each song.
“In tenth grade we were always like ‘We are gonna do this,’ Dhillon said, “It is pretty cool how we are making it happen.”