By the mid-1980s he had trimmed his hair and began to make a name for himself as a dancehall deejay, and he recorded his first single in 1990, "Movie Over India", initially a white-label pressing, until it was picked up by the reggae distributor Jet Star. The single mixed ragga and bhangra and was hugely popular among audiences of both genres. Two further singles followed in a similar vein, "Chok There" and "Don Raja", bringing him to the attention of the major labels, and in 1992 he signed a recording contract with Island Records. With the collaboration of his cousins Simon & Diamond (Diamond aka DJ Swami), he introduced the new hybrid sound of bhangra raggamuffin – also known as bhangramuffin – to the world with his first album No Reservations, recorded in Jamaica and produced by Simon & Diamond, Phil Chill, Robert Livingston, Bobby Digital and Sly Dunbar) in 1993. It was followed by Make Way for the Indian, (produced by Sly & Robbie, The Press, Mafia & Fluxy, Pandit Dineysh and Chris Lane), which featured rapper Tim Dog and spawned the hit, "Boom Shack-A-Lak".
By 1997 he had been dropped by Island and his next album, Real People / Wild East (produced by Harjinder Boparai) proved to be his most experimental album, and also featured more Indian elements than the other albums. In his heyday, he also made an appearance in the Tamil film, Love Birds, dancing alongside Prabhu Deva. Lyrically, Apache Indian usually sings in Jamaican patois, and is known for his sharp social criticism – ("Arranged Marriage" featuring Natacha Atlas; "Mention") as well as his party tracks ("Boom Shack-A-Lak", "Jump Up").
Links To Peel
Peel first heard Apache Indian through the Sure Delight label, that was distributed by Jet Star, who had several reggae artists on its label, that Peel often played. After Apache Indian got signed to Island Records in 1992, Peel rarely played any of his tracks, except on Jakki Brambles show, which Peel presented when she was on holiday in April 1993.
(The list maybe incomplete. Please add further information if known)
- 16 February 1991: Movie Over India (12") City To City
- 24 February 1991: Movie Over India (Maxi: Movie Over India) City To City
- 12 January 1992: Don Raja (12") Sure Delight
- 06 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Chok There (single) Island
- 07 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Chok There (single) Island
- 08 October 1993: Movin' On