OPINON: How Tesher and Jason Derulo’s ‘Jalebi Baby’ is changing the music game

Nov 19, 2021 | Arts, OP-ED, Opinion

It is fair to say the song “Jalebi Baby” has become a global jam and is enjoyed by people of all ages, on their way to work, school or anywhere else.

The tune is sung and produced by Canadian rapper Tesher and is a popular feature by the evergreen Jason Derulo. The Hindi-English chart-topper launched as a single, released by Tesher on Nov. 13, 2020. Shortly after, it received a lot of attention on the popular social media app “TikTok” as many content creators used the song to make their videos.

Derulo, who is active on the social media app, came across the song and created a TikTok video of himself indulging in the South-Asian delicacy “jalebis,” mentioned in the song title, while playing Tesher’s track in the background.

Tesher relaunched Jalebi Baby in May, but the revamped version included an unexpected feature: Derulo. Not long after the release of this remix, it was labeled as “the most used sound on TikTok.”

Many people were creating their own fun videos to the sound, and people from different ethnicities were coming together and enjoying the foot-tapping single.

The song has opened a new genre of music, and promoted inclusivity on a global scale. It brings diversity to the music industry as it introduces a hint of South-Asian music, mixed with a hint of pop to people of different cultures.

A few months after its release, the song was being played on radio stations. This increased its popularity in different ethnic audiences. The song portrays South-Asian culture in many ways.

First, it includes a famous South-Asian dessert that is enjoyed all across the continent, known as jalebis. Second, the music video boasts a heavy representation of South-Asian culture, as South Asian women are spotted throughout the video dancing to the tune in traditional clothing.

Derulo is also seen doing the traditional Bhangra dance, a popular dance in the South Asian community, particularly among those originating from Punjab.

There are several other representations of the sub-continent in the song and music video. The head-bopping track’s lyrics include many Hindi words.

This collaboration opens opportunities for other ethnic collaborations. The pathway to Bollywood-Hollywood alliances opened up in 2008, when Snoop Dogg appeared in Bollywood as a feature in one of the songs for the acclaimed Bollywood movie “Singh is King.”

The Snoop Dogg-Singh is King collaboration topped international charts as well. Akon also appeared in Bollywood back in 2011 when he featured in two different songs for Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s movie “R.A. One.”

Ethnic collaborations, especially in music, play a role in bringing people together and help raise awareness of other cultures.

Tesher, being a Canadian rapper and producer, grabbed the opportunity to create a song that would be loved by people of different ethnicities, knowing how Canada is known as an example of multiculturalism around the world.

It would be great to keep this sense of togetherness in the music industry through future ethnic collaborations, even developing new genres on the road to success and stardom.