Following the phenomenal success of his debut album, the maestro of Sri Lankan hip hop and the undisputable king of the island’s music industry, returns with his fantastic second album – Aloke Chapter 2. Currently holding on to the record of fastest selling debut and fastest selling album in Sri Lanka’s history, the last few years has seen the structure of the island’s music industry radically altered into a course that has been termed nothing but phenomenal. Iraj has been in the forefront of this change, driving the industry from ‘small island’ to ‘big world’ – breaking record after record and shocking music analysts by his success.
Iraj has been the success story of modern Sri Lanka. Blending not just East with West, but the languages of all communities of our troubled island, to make music that can be nothing but truly international. His remix of best friend Ranidu’s Ahankara Nagare and Ran Ran Ran became the first Sri Lankan videos to debut on both MTV India and Channel V. Following their massive success, Ahankare Nagare became the island’s first single to be released world wide in both Essential Asian R n B and Asian Flavour: Volume 1 albums. His continuing success saw his next single, Aloke, hit the No.2 slot in the Asian Chart on BBC One Radio, where he remained for an entire four weeks. Aloke’s success led to its release in India through internationally renowned DJ Nihal’sBombay Bronx album – another number one best seller.
These records are but a fraction of the phenomenal success of Iraj, who has developed over the years into a brand itself. Dubbed by analysts and critics as the Revolutionary of the Sri Lankan music industry, Iraj’s success saw him drawn into a record breaking series of merchandising and marketing campaigns. Today he hosts his own radio and television shows on two of the island’s most successful stations – Y FM and Derana. The Hip Hop Partyrecently broke ratings records as the most listened to teenage radio programme in the island, and his television breakthrough – The Iraj Show, continues to top viewer ratings in the entertainment category.
The change of Iraj’s image, from maestro to icon, has seen Sri Lanka experience technological breakthroughs in his many videos and the establishment of a truly household name. His sold out world tour over the last year has seen Iraj in venues all across the island and in some of the world’s most celebrated international platforms. The tour saw Iraj performing to packed audiences at the Sydney Opera House, London, New York, Cyprus and Dubai – strengthening his fan base and promoting Sri Lankan music the world over.
With fifteen No.1’s already under his belt, Aloke Chapter 2 will feature seven of his biggest and most recent hits, including Sirasa’s 2007 Song of the Year – Hitumate, and twelve other songs that have never been released to date. The long-awaited and highly anticipated second album is expected by analysts to surpass the records set by his debut – that sold over one hundred thousand copies within four weeks. Aloke will be the first album in music history to introduce Sinhala rap and will also set the stage for Iraj’s Maldivian venture with the archipelago’s biggest star Shani and his highly anticipated Tamil album. Other productions in the pipeline are a collaboration album with Ranidu and Killer Bee’s debut album, produced entirely by Iraj himself.
Aloke is a shining example of a true masterpiece of Asian hip hop that has so easily blended people, their cultures and languages. Featuring a huge chunk of the star’s number one hits, it will set the benchmark higher for a music industry that owes a lot to its beaming icon of modern hip hop.