Rebel 7’s new EP ‘Kaafi Kuch’ Features A Heartfelt Ode To Turbulent Emotions

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Rebel 7’s recent release, ‘Kaafi Kuch’, features a very emotional side of the artist as he talks about his personal life and narrates his experience with concerning instances and his distressful thoughts. Released on the 28th of July, the EP contains a very well-paced streamline of sentiments in a perfectly ordered collection of tracks. Other than Rebel 7’s sound, features such as Huzur, Sant, and Vyshakh further complement the theme of the EP with their introspective additions to the emotions the EP delivers.

The collection of 6 tracks, with a runtime of 13 minutes, takes a listener on the journey of walking through the artists’ inner selves and their views on certain incidents. The relatability factor from the conceptual and lyrical side of the EP is by far one of the best in the emo-rap genre of Hip-Hop. Throughout the narration in the project, there is something for everyone to personally resonate with. The production is quite laid-back and further commends the thoughtfulness of the project. Beautiful samples, easy-going drums, and a trap-like essence pave the way for the rhymers to convey themselves.

The Music Video for the title track ‘Kaafi Kuch’

An example of how pensive the creative process of this EP is is the first and the last track, ‘Daur’ and ‘Daur (Flip)’. The fact that the artists switched and narrated each other’s verses while adding a personal perspective is very rare to see in the scene. Rebel 7 showcases his vulnerability and desolate self in the EP, the whole soundscape revolves around his sorrow and despair. He raps about how patient he has been as far as success is concerned and the tiredness he feels as he talks about his musical career. Huzur appeared in every other song, except the title track, and contributed with his mature outlook on things and brought out his personal self while openly talking about his mental state. Sant’s Punjabi verses not only diversified the sound but also further added to the emotional essence the project carries. Vyshakh Prince didn’t hold back from going all out in ‘Naseeb’, a well-executed posse cut, as he rhymed about how he embraces his struggles and appreciates his distinct artistry.

The Cover Art of ‘Kaafi Kuch’ designed by Vyshakh Prince

Another peculiar aspect of the project was the cover art. Vyshakh, who curated the piece, was kind enough to talk to us and explain the thought behind the art. When asked about what the inspiration behind the piece was, Vyshakh said ‘It’s all based on Life. Especially life as an artist. People only experience the body of art, the artist lives the process’. Looking at the various elements it was evident that they combined to form a larger interpretation. Vyshakh further explained, ‘Well the elements convey a lot of different emotions and each one of those thoughts was a direct output of me listening to the project and understanding where those lines come from. The essence of this artwork is the truth and transparency of how we feel. The reason why the color palette is quite monochrome is because it represents our gloom, misery and strife. The colors toned it down, in fact adding the rough sketch added more roughness and grit to it.’

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Bhojpuri Soundwaves From Bihar and Jamshedpur Is Charting Up Recognition In The Indian Music Scene

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At the heart of India lies a city bustling with clanks of iron and steel, Jamshedpur. A city so busy and diverse that it has opened its arms to not only people from around the nation but also humbly accepted their values, cultures, and art. Historically, housing the first steel plant in India, Jamshedpur has also accepted and exalted the budding music scene. Exactly 378km north of Jamshedpur lies Bihar, a state blessed with a beautiful amalgamation of cultures and languages with the most prominent being Bhojpuri. Both Jamshedpur and Bihar boast a large Bhojpuri-speaking population. To be human is to have a culture that is transmitted through language that transcends time and space. Originating from Bihar and parts of UP, Bhojpuri with its melodic and eclectic modulation and rhythmic tones and vocabulary creates an enchanting harmony of words.

Hip-Hop blends into different cultures and languages, providing its listeners with a sense of belongingness and relatability while also enjoying a distinct genre of music in their mother tongue. Many Hip-Hop artists from Jamshedpur and Bihar have taken their talent to the next level by rapping in Bhojpuri and English and presenting their malleability.

In an intimate conversation with artists of Jamshedpur and Bihar- Raajmusic, Abhishek Roy, Dzire, Lit Trust, Harass, and Sanskaar, I was introduced to the exuberance of their art and their pride in repping their hometown and culture. Raajmusic, an artist who mainly raps in Bhojpuri is also the co-founder of Jamshedpur’s first HipHop collective, Jamshedpur HipHop TV. “For me, Bhojpuri is my comfort language and if linguistic music industries like the Punjabi music industry can make a mark why can’t the Bhojpuri music industry?”. He aims to break the stereotype that only Rap songs sung in Hindi and English can be popular among the masses.

The regional borders are not simply political but also cultural and linguistic and the Bhojpuri language, in the Indian subcontinent, has been termed “vulgar” and “cheap” and so is the character of someone whose native tongue is Bhojpuri. He has also expressed the insecurity that independent linguistic artists face in cities like Jamshedpur and Bihar state. The youth of such places are being hollowed out by the metropolitan ‘mahanagris’. Even then, Raajmusic and other HipHop artists of Jamshedpur like Abhishek Roy and Dzire have not given up on their dream.

Their first big-scale event was ‘Johar Jam’ in 2021 which boasted artists like Gravity, Rapture, and Shinigxmi. With no funds and sponsors, their event was a success, all thanks to the crowd-funding pan-India. For Abhishek Roy, being able to pull off such an event was a moment of pride for him. “I remember the event as if it happened yesterday- My city, My people, the fans who hyped the artists from other places as if they were family. That is what Jamshedpur is all about,” said Abhishek.

Battle raps have always been at the core of Hip-hop. The lyrical genre and the witty yet humorous exchanges between the two rappers are always an epic showdown. Unfortunately, the arena of Battle Rap has always been male-dominated, especially in the Indian hip-hop scene. Yet, in the heart of Jamshedpur resides Dzire, one of the most promising female battle rappers in India. When talking about the gender disparity in the Indian HipHop Scene she laughs and says, “I have been asked many times- How does it feel to be a ‘female’ battle rapper’ to which I never have the answer.

The city I grew up in and the people who surrounded me never made me feel that I needed to work harder to prove myself because I am a girl. Talent for me has no gender. My battle justifies who I am, my bars justify who I am and my artistry has always been welcomed and exalted by the people of Jamshedpur.” Her battles with Rapture, an artist from Mumbai in 2021, and her most recent battle with MC Kode is one for the books. Music has no language, it eclipses social stratifications yet, is bounded by its own sets of judgments and critiques.

Who defines what a ‘true’ language sounds like and what is ‘true’ music or ‘true’ rap music? Why is it that certain languages and music in certain languages seem to be accepted while some are looked down upon? “Music, I believe is one aspect that should not be bounded by pre-conceived notions but should be enjoyed by all. When making and listening to music, it should not matter where you come from. At the end of the day, music is music.” says Harass, a Bihari rapper who raps in Bhojpuri and Hindi, whose EP AAPAH has been lauded by the critics for a beautiful lyrical lifecycle and also paying respect to his idols- Tupac, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Rudaaki. Language not only is a medium of communication but also a medium of passing on stories and ballads. What better way of enjoying and enacting stories in your local language and immersing yourself in pockets of reliability.

For Sanskaar, an artist from Jamshedpur, language, theatre, and cinema have shaped his musical career to a huge extent. “Local cinema has inspired my rap, the theatrical experience and the story-telling lyrics have influenced my music to a huge extent.” On the other hand, Lit Trust an artist from Bihar who also raps in Bhojpuri and Hindi and also produces music under the name Sampliyaha. From opening for Ritviz’s show in Patna to releasing his first ep ‘Jhal Muri’in 2021, releasing his first album ‘RERERE’ in 2022 and recently dropping a banger verse on Dhanji’s most awaited album ‘RUAB’. Independent HipHop artists like Lit Trust who hail from smaller pockets of the nation possess an extreme hunger; an inviolable flame to prove themselves and gratify their home and culture.

‘Music is one, only languages and cultures are different.’ With this ideology, my beloved artists from Jamshedpur and Bihar strive to keep making music and re-construct the imagery of Bhojpuri music and their culture. “We don’t tend to victimize ourselves because of where we come from, we own our language and experience our culture and make use of all the resources we have to leave a mark in the music industry.” with this their feelings aligned.

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Bhojpuri Rap: A Tale of Reconstructing Imagery Of Bhojpuri Culture Through Rap

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At the heart of India lies a city bustling with clanks of iron and steel, Jamshedpur. A city so busy and diverse that it has opened its arms to not only people from around the nation but also humbly accepted their values, cultures, and art. Historically, housing the first steel plant in India, Jamshedpur has also accepted and exalted the budding music scene. Exactly 378km north of Jamshedpur lies Bihar, a state blessed with a beautiful amalgamation of cultures and languages with the most prominent being Bhojpuri. Both Jamshedpur and Bihar boast a large Bhojpuri-speaking population. To be human is to have a culture that is transmitted through language that transcends time and space. Originating from Bihar and parts of UP, Bhojpuri with its melodic and eclectic modulation and rhythmic tones and vocabulary creates an enchanting harmony of words.

Hip-Hop blends into different cultures and languages, providing its listeners with a sense of belongingness and relatability while also enjoying a distinct genre of music in their mother tongue. Many Hip-Hop artists from Jamshedpur and Bihar have taken their talent to the next level by rapping in Bhojpuri and English and presenting their malleability.

In an intimate conversation with artists of Jamshedpur and Bihar- Raajmusic, Abhishek Roy, Dzire, Lit Trust, Harass, and Sanskaar, I was introduced to the exuberance of their art and their pride in repping their hometown and culture. Raajmusic, an artist who mainly raps in Bhojpuri is also the co-founder of Jamshedpur’s first HipHop community for artists, Jamshedpur HipHop TV. “For me, Bhojpuri is my comfort language and if linguistic music industries like the Punjabi music industry can make a mark why can’t the Bhojpuri music industry?”. He aims to break the stereotype that only Rap songs sung in Hindi and English can be popular among the masses.

Raajmusic

The regional borders are not simply political but also cultural and linguistic and the Bhojpuri language, in the Indian subcontinent, has been termed “vulgar” and “cheap” and so is the character of someone whose native tongue is Bhojpuri. He has also expressed the insecurity that independent linguistic artists face in cities like Jamshedpur and Bihar state. The youth of such places are being hollowed out by the metropolitan ‘mahanagris’. Even then, Raajmusic and other HipHop artists of Jamshedpur like Abhishek Roy and Dzire have not given up on their dream.

Their first big-scale event was ‘Johar Jam’ in 2021 which boasted artists like Gravity, Rapture, and Shinigxmi. With no funds and sponsors, their event was a success, all thanks to the crowd-funding pan-India. For Abhishek Roy, being able to pull off such an event was a moment of pride for him. “I remember the event as if it happened yesterday- My city, My people, the fans who hyped the artists from other places as if they were family. That is what Jamshedpur is all about,” said Abhishek.

Abhishek Roy

Battle raps have always been at the core of Hip-hop. The lyrical genre and the witty yet humorous exchanges between the two rappers are always an epic showdown. Unfortunately, the arena of Battle Rap has always been male-dominated, especially in the Indian hip-hop scene. Yet, in the heart of Jamshedpur resides Dzire, one of the most promising female battle rappers in India. When talking about the gender disparity in the Indian HipHop Scene she laughs and says, “I have been asked many times- How does it feel to be a ‘female’ battle rapper’ to which I never have the answer.

The city I grew up in and the people who surrounded me never made me feel that I needed to work harder to prove myself because I am a girl. Talent for me has no gender. My battle justifies who I am, my bars justify who I am and my artistry has always been welcomed and exalted by the people of Jamshedpur.” Her battles with Rapture, an artist from Mumbai in 2021, and her most recent battle with MC Kode is one for the books. Music has no language, it eclipses social stratifications yet, is bounded by its own sets of judgments and critiques.

Dzire vs. Rapture Battle Rap 2022

Who defines what a ‘true’ language sounds like and what is ‘true’ music or ‘true’ rap music? Why is it that certain languages and music in certain languages seem to be accepted while some are looked down upon? “Music, I believe is one aspect that should not be bounded by pre-conceived notions but should be enjoyed by all. When making and listening to music, it should not matter where you come from. At the end of the day, music is music.” says Harass, a Bihari rapper who raps in Bhojpuri and Hindi, whose EP AAPAH has been lauded by the critics for a beautiful lyrical lifecycle and also paying respect to his idols- Tupac, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Rudaaki. Language not only is a medium of communication but also a medium of passing on stories and ballads. What better way of enjoying and enacting stories in your local language and immersing yourself in pockets of reliability.

Harass

For Sanskaar, an artist from Jamshedpur, language, theatre, and cinema have shaped his musical career to a huge extent. “Local cinema has inspired my rap, the theatrical experience and the story-telling lyrics have influenced my music to a huge extent.” On the other hand, Lit Trust an artist from Bihar who also raps in Bhojpuri and Hindi and also produces music under the name Sampliyaha. From opening for Ritviz’s show in Patna to releasing his first ep ‘Jhal Muri’in 2021, releasing his first album ‘RERERE’ in 2022 and recently dropping a banger verse on Dhanji’s most awaited album ‘RUAB’. Independent HipHop artists like Lit Trust who hail from smaller pockets of the nation possess an extreme hunger; an inviolable flame to prove themselves and gratify their home and culture.

Lit Trust
Sanskaar

‘Music is one, only languages and cultures are different.’ With this ideology, my beloved artists from Jamshedpur and Bihar strive to keep making music and re-construct the imagery of Bhojpuri music and their culture. “We don’t tend to victimize ourselves because of where we come from, we own our language and experience our culture and make use of all the resources we have to leave a mark in the music industry.” with this their feelings aligned.

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With ‘Kaal Ke Pukaar,’ Raaj Showcases His Resolute Nature & The Aggressive Essence Of His Artistic Vision

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Hip-Hop culture has always been about being authentic and unfabricated in all aspects. The genre itself serves as a form of art one can utilize to convey their thoughts, feelings or narrate an incident if need be. Rage Hip-Hop and Gangsta rap have a lot in common, mostly being a sub-genre about presenting yourself as powerful and violent too, in some cases.

However, Raaj’s “Kaal Ke Pukaar” is a fresher concept while being relevant to Rage or Gangsta Rap. It is aggressive but all for the right reasons, rather than unnecessarily bragging about being a big deal, he answers back to the ones who think too less of him seeing his regional background. Released on the 10th of July, the album features 8 tracks including an intro and a skit. The Sasaram-born Jamshedpur-based rapper can be seen rapping his heart out in belligerence while he talks about life in his area, the potential they have, and how proud he is of being from Bihar.

The Cover art of “Kaal Ke Pukaar” designed by (thetribal_kid)

Everything, from the cover art to the sound and the lyrics, projects aggressiveness. The aggressiveness is intended to achieve it all and prove people wrong. He raps about how classists behave with his people, the discrimination Biharis feel and his determination to be the best and represent his community. “Jha Ji(Skit)” features the voice of Kat Jr., a fellow Hip-Hop artist, who rants about the atrocities he has faced being a Bihari, and how he is still persistent towards working on his art and changing things through his art. Raaj’s style remains the same throughout the album; he intends to deliver an effect that makes the doubters reconsider. While his rhyme schemes are simple, his hostile flow carries the vocals of the album.

Sonically, the album poses a refreshing version of grime sound. Produced by Sampliyaha, Harxhit, and Laudrup, the album has features from Harass and Arj Aman apart from a skit by Kat Jr. The overall soundscape seems sinister, there are a few mosh-worthy tracks in the album too, especially ‘Ka Marde’. Simple samples with drums and well-structured elements contribute towards delivering a fierce experience.

“Kaal Ke Pukaar”, Raaj’s sophomore album, sees him curate a project in Bhojpuri for the first time. This is also his first project completely created in the grime genre. His past works, including Ginti with MC Kode and Inquilab with Sez on the Beat are quite different from his musicality on this album, hence this piece speaks of his versatility too. Overall, “Kaal Ke Pukaar” is a callout to all the people who look down upon the people from the Bihar-Jharkhand belt, and a testament to the artistic caliber they have.

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Dhanji Celebrates Newness And Sonic Diversity With His Much-Anticipated Debut LP “Ruab”

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“abru is extrinsic
ruab on the contrary
ruab is intrinsic”

RVAB – Dhanji

With the end of pre-Ruab, and what might be considered as one of the most revered album rollouts in the underground/alternate Hip-Hop scene, Ruab, released on the 8th of August, is undoubtedly the most anticipated non-mainstream project of this year. Dhanji has been teasing the album for a couple of years now, but according to the artist himself, it has been in the making since he was aware of it. Running for a quarter to an hour, the album features 11 tracks.

Personally, I found Ruab as an acknowledgment of Dhanji’s artistry and an ode to his experiences. Ruab is a very personal project to Dhanji and his core supporters, it is a meticulously arranged collection of tracks whose sounds tell a story of their own. I saw Ruab as a film, a non-generic one, a film that not only has highs and lows, entertaining values, and a turn of events but also contains an underlying meaning that is confined within layers of interpretations. The reason why Ruab will stay close to the audience for years to come is the disparate uniqueness and novelty it brings out.

Thematically, I feel that Ruab talks about money, but not as we perceive it, it poses a question of what should be concerning an artist more. Should one choose to be a sellout, are they an artist anymore? And If one retains his integrity, how long shall they sustain in this game? A lot of instances in the album suggest the debate between Paisa and Shaurat, until “1 Khabri / 2 Numberi’. The track starts with a quarrel between Paisa and Shaurat, Dhanji narrates this story as the scene appears to be set in his imagination. Starting with a coin flip, both perspectives debate over the point of what’s more significant for one. This dispute ends with Paisa proving actual existence in the society, but does this end the age-old debate? I believe, Ruab might give you a perspective of an artist in this dilemma, but to be or not to be, is all up to you.

Ruab also features different aspects of Dhanji’s self. A way to put it is the artist is scattered throughout the album, each track features a story of its own, a different outlook while still incorporating a suggested interpretation. It presents his events in Amdavad, a city so close to him, the album also manages to contrast his artistic persona with real-life nature. I found Ruab as a transition between Jayraj Ganatra to Dhanji and vice versa in a few instances.

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7 Indian Hip-Hop Projects That Defied The DHH Norms

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Hip-Hop by brown people popularly known as ‘Desi hip-hop’ has quickly become the most sought after genre of music in India, so much so that it has given the country it’s biggest music superstars of recent times. Artists like Divine, King, MC Stan, Badshah, Emiway, all have had humble beginnings and their rather early rise to fame has given millions of youngsters the hope of ‘making it out the hood’ via music. The downside of this exponential growth of DHH has been the formation of an archetype to success. It has led artists to follow a set template and a set sound — the one defined by their predecessors or the artists in the west, that they know would woo the listeners. This expectation of having similar career trajectories as their idols has given rise to an uninvetive new generation of rappers. Because of this lack of innovation, I’ve had a love hate relationship with genre and it has led me to dig deeper into the underground, searching for sounds that defy the norms and bring forward the authentic ‘Indian’ hip-hop music. Featured below are 7 projects that went against the wave and brought something fresh to the table.

1. RUAB – Dhanji

The Gujarati enigma, Dhanji recently dropped his much anticipated, long due debut album RUAB, bringing a much needed freshness to the scene marred with redundant trap beats and unoriginal rap performances. The concept of creating an orchestral soundscape was perfectly realized by a great ensemble of producers and Dhanji himself, his persona shined through all the surrealism, unconventional enunciations and flows. In a project where style takes the front seat, there’s usually a lack of substance but RUAB is an exception, we see Dhanji talking about his early life, the class divine he experiences on the daily and how he aims to surpass all the economic and social obstacles to uplift himself and his peers through his unadulterated and unapologetic art, becoming what he intends to be—a gujju Shawn Carter.

2. SUPER SHAKTI – Yash Raj Mishra

Singer-songwriter, producer and multi-insrumentalist Yash Raj Mishra’s debut studio album, Super Shakti dropped earlier this year which had Yash and flautist, Abhi Shakti amalgamating their slowcore hindustani rock music sensibilities with the skills of rappers/songwriters Shikriwal, Rohan Vohra, Vishal Bhadauria—establishing a subgenre that is completely their own. The use of indigenous percussion instruments on guitar and flute based beats, created a chaotic dark atmosphere, embodying the existential crisis of an artist who is trying to stay true to his art in this world of commercialisation. This album is brilliant dichotomy of instrumentals that are loud and mournful and the calm, aplomb rap verses.

3. Kaamam – Guru and Regis

Multigenre producer, Guru and rapper/singer-songwriter Regis’, Kaamam EP came in as a revelation when it dropped back in 2021. It took forward the novel sound, they like to call, ‘Dharmic-Hop’, that was birthed in their debut project Somras. This new subgenre fuses bhajan inspired singing and rap with atmospheric beats as a celebration of the Hindu gods and goddesses. A rigorous journey involving Regis’ multiple readings, attempts to understand and later writing in context of the Shreemad Bhagvat Geeta and Guru’s several failed attempts to create a perfect meditative, atmospheric dharmic soundscape, preceded the making of this timeless underground classic, Kaamam.

4. AZLI – Ahmer

The winner of ‘Best Hip-Hop Release Of The Year’ award in the 2023 edition of TIMD Awards, Azli is one of the only few albums in the scene which have had a massive cultural impact on the people it was targeting, in this case, the youth of Kashmir. The producer-rapper, rejected conformity when he decided to incorporate traditional Kashmiri folk music and musicians in the album. He gave them the space, liberty and respect to let their Kashmiri essence become the soul of the project. Ahmer stood as a stalwart for his culture, rapping about the reality of his chronically turbulent region and it’s people. He pleaded to the god for the betterment of his people, gave them strength to fight and with whatever he had left, celebrated the beauty of his hometown.

5. Kuchh Bandishein – Raghav/Kuns

Before Raghav’s magnum opus Satya Sakshaat came into being, he had already established his prodigy status with the debut album, Kuchh Bandishein. It was one of the earliest albums in the underground scene which flipped and brought justice to the hindustani classical and bollywood sampling. Raghav who went by the name Kuns back then, didn’t confine to the trending lyrical rap or rap with a ‘hard’ flow. Rather, he came about with a more accessible style of rap having minimal, simple vocabulary and basic rhymes. Through his verses, he seeked answers to very relatable, existential and observational questions. This style of musicianship (also carried by the other two members of teesri duniya—Karun and Nanku) has since influenced a whole new generation of upcoming artists and their peers.

6. Tadipaar – MC Stan

MC Stan’s Tadipaar has already established is cult status in the history of Indian Hip-Hop and is ageing like fine with more and more listeners recognizing and appreciating it’s uniqueness and artistry. The highly influential debut album released amidst all the negative attention the rapper was getting at the time and miraculously managed to turn most of the DHH community and listeners into hardcore fans. MC Stan gave a complete makeover to the atlanta trap music using marathi and old Bollywood samples, over-the-top noises, sound effects and adlibs to create an industrial music inspired dark soundscape. He also went all out with his lyrical and vocal performance spitting unapologetically vulnerable, slang heavy bars with unconventional flows, multiple flow changes and a passionate delivery. A performance unlike anything the country had witnessed.

7. Tabia – Prabh Deep

What makes ‘Tabia’ a major milestone in the history of Indian Hip-Hop isn’t just it’s genre bending sonics but rather the time and state of India Hip-Hop during which it came into being. Prabh Deep and his team took a major risk of putting out an existential Punjabi hip-hop album to an audience allergic to experimentation (at the time). He broke the trend of spoon feeding of concepts and emotions to the audience and made something that required conscious effort to understand and experience. It would be safe to say that ‘Tabia’ was THE album that started the wave of innovation in Delhi Hip-Hop and woke up other major artists, pushing them out of their comfort zones.

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Singles Roundup #69 – Hip-hop Heist, Indie Folk, Afrobeats And More!

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A fresh month calls for a brand new roundup with the freshest of tracks here at The Indian Music Diaries. In this edition, we bring in songs from varied genres by artists old and new. We have got a lot of artists blurring the lines between genres and blending them beautifully together. Put your earphones on and tune into these hot releases!

1)Bhussi – KSHMR, Seedhe Maut, Karan Kanchan 

Indian American DJ Producer KSHMR and Delhi-based favourite rap duo Seedhe Maut released their latest single ‘Bhussi,’ a track that talks about a protagonist embodying a hustler-like ambition. With its bouncy yet unforgettable, menacing hook and clever Wordplay, ‘Bhussi’ is the second single from KSHMR’s upcoming album ‘KARAM.’ The action-packed music video that shows the protagonist assembling a crew of trusted aides for his first heist elevates the song to another level. It is inspired by the bank robbery scene from the Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Aankhen.’ What will definitely catch your attention is, however, the use of the flute in this unforgettable track. 

2) Mamma Africa – Kreon 

Released with Backdoor Parade, Kreon’s 6-year journey as an indie artist is marked by ‘Mamma Africa’ – a lush new single that is the artist’s sonic love letter to the rich African culture. Right from the start, listeners get into the African groove with its ambient bird sounds, captivating rhythms, rich vocals and soulful melodies. The track is fun but also soothing to anyone who listens to it. The Amapiano record is something you definitely would not want to miss.

3) Tu Kahaan Hai? – Akanksha Sethi

Featured on Spotify’s Artist Radar for July is Mumbai-based Akanksha Sethi and her latest single ‘Tu Kahaan Hai?’ She captures the sense of clarity you have when you know you’ve fallen in love with the right person through her fresh and uplifting voice. The familiar dilemma of choosing between two lovers is beautifully showcased in the track as a journey from confusion to clarity. Using live instruments and guitar melodies serving the purpose of rhythms, the song teases you into liberation. It will keep you hooked with its soaring melodies and Sethi’s golden voice.

4) Antidote – Inspectah Gracious, Mc Kode 

Mumbai-based rapper Inspectah G and Delhi-based rapper Mc Kode released their killer track ‘Antidote.’ With its powerful and energetic flow and smooth delivery, the track talks about the struggles of breaking through the noise of the music industry. While Inspectah G proves to be a promising new talent with her hard-hitting rap game, Mc Kode slays equally hard with his Hindi rap all complemented well with some good old beats. 

5) Rosemary – Sunflower Tape Machine

This cutesy indie folk track was recently released by Sunflower Tape Machine and portrays a character who collectively represents the people you desire but cannot be with. With the usage of traditional folk elements, and light and fluffy vocals, the track proves to be relatable and has that cottage core aesthetic all along. With an intro that feels like a stroll in a garden, the song is soft yet radiant like young love.

6) Wajah – Shubham Kundu 

Shubham Kundu, a Nagpur-based artist recently released his single ‘Wajah,’ as a tribute to a person whom he holds dear. With soulful lyrics and powerful melodies, the song has a sort of delicate tenderness, reflecting the vulnerability and the depth of emotions, all of which are expressed through the electric guitar. The layers are added further to represent his growth and transformation due to this said person. The rise and fall of the melody, an idea to the ebbs and flows of the heart makes this song quite intense until there’s clarity.

7) Infinity Loop – Harish Budhwani

Pune-based artist Harish Budhwani expresses his passion for positivity and spiritual happiness through his latest track ‘Infinity Loop’. It is an instrumental track with percussive fingerstyle, harmonies and meditative notes. The journey-like song takes you on a rollercoaster-like emotion and makes you feel the highs, the lows and everything in between. With beats that have an out worldly effect on its listeners, it will surely make you put the song on the loop. 

8) Paisa – Notreal, Hashparker

This track with its punchy drums, pumping melodies and a groovy hook is the second track in Notreal and Hashparker’s upcoming album ‘Ye Duniya Tumhari Hai.’ It showcases the middle class to the affluent life cycle and the artist’s struggles to find a route out of this money-ruled world. The hallucinatory melodies fit perfectly well with the theme that talks about being caught in a timeless loop.

9) Maze/Haze – Murtuza Gadiwala, Shai

Mumbai-based Murtuza Gadiwala and the UK-based Shai released their killer dance-pop track ‘Maze/Haze’ recently. It steadily captures a conversation between a girl who has kept her guy confused and almost made him feel as though he’s lost in the maze that’s her love. The song has a certain calmness in all the chaos with an unforgettable chorus. The pop/Afrobeats track is dreamy with both the artists’ vocals blending perfectly well together.

10) Tu Hi Meri Jaan (Need You Here) – Maddbayy 

If you need a taste of the essence of true love, Maddbayy’s latest release ‘Tu Hi Meri Japan is for you. The track that blends EDM and R&B with touches of electro – kissed pop effectively captures the quest to find the ideal means to convey the commonly used phrase ‘Tu Hi Meri Jaan’ that has almost become a cultural expression. The Hindi/English track has an amazing hook with bright guitar melodies that keep you on your toes.

11) High for a While – Basho, Shilpa Natarajan 

This vocal/piano house track released by Bangalore-based Basho and Chennai-based Shilpa Natarajan will keep you grooving even after it ends. While the heart of the song lies in the piano chords, Shilpa’s vocals become, it’s safe to say, the pull factor. It is well balanced with some mellow tunes in the background and has tons of musical layers embedded in it. 

12) Hawaayi Yaadein – Khevna 

Encapsulating his journey of confusion and self-discovery is Mumbai-based Khevna’s debut track ‘Hawaayi Yaadein.’ A song that portrays the disorienting emotions and sense of displacement he faced after moving back from Los Angeles, the track is a beautiful blend of dreamy vocals, atmosphere instrumentals and introspective lyrics. With such a killer debut, Khevna proves to be a one-of-a-kind, promising young talent that we should all watch out for.

13) It’s not over, I love you – Reyaan Luthra, Kaxi

Motivated by personal experiences, Hyderabad-based Reyaan Luthra released his latest single ‘Its not over, I love you’ recently. The 20-year-old pours his heart out in this melodic hip-hop track with light hums and dreamy synths. The slow yet catchy beats coupled with a rap that gets you hooked is one you wouldn’t want to miss. 

14) Door Creep – Chugtea 

Delhi-based Melodic house/ techno producer released his latest killer track ‘Door Creep,’ an instrumental techno track that will surely get you moving. The track makes use of ambient sounds of a door creeping and an unforgettable beat drop. 

Go listen to this melody that you can blissfully drown in!

15) Your Love – Issamood, Meba Ofilia, Dappest

If you’re looking for the perfect summer song, Issamood and Meba Ofilia’s latest track ‘Your Love’ is for you. A song that beautifully blends R&B Soul and Afrobeats, this track is capable of making you feel young again. Produced and mixed by Issamood and mastered by Grammy-nominated Chris Genringer, the melody sensually moves along the song with the Shillong-based Meba Ofilia’s vocals.

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A Glimpse Into Sambata’s Life As A Marathi Rapper

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Sambata is a talented Marathi rapper who has taken the music industry by storm. Born and raised in Maharashtra, he grew up listening to a diverse range of music genres, which greatly influenced his unique style. Sambata’s lyrics are a reflection of his life experiences, blending personal narratives with social commentary. His flow and dynamic delivery captivate listeners, making him a rising star in the rap scene.

With his sharp wit and thought-provoking lyrics, Sambata has become known for his ability to address important issues in society through his music. As he continues to gain popularity, Sambata strives to use his platform to shed light on social injustices and advocate for positive change. His passion and authenticity have earned him a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim within the Marathi rap community.

In this interview, we get a closer look into Sambata’s journey as a rapper. We explore his early influences, creative process, and the impact he hopes to make through his music.

1. How did you begin as a Marathi rapper? What are some of your earliest memories with rap?

At first, I was as inspired by Hip-Hop from the West as anyone else. However, when I truly began to grasp the true meaning of this genre, I realised that I necessarily don’t need to leave my identity as a ‘Marathi’. I have always loved my culture and grew up with it. For me, I want to represent my people and inspire them… not everyone knows how to rap in English or even Hindi for that matter. We’re all born with our unique vernaculars. I am just expressing it through rap. I started putting together words and turning them into a rhyme, then a verse and a track when I was 14. I guess that’s when rap took control of my perspective. 

2. How do you keep yourself in the creative flow? 

For me, personally, it’s practice. I work on my writing and always strive to do it with a sense of purpose. That helps me to stay in it. However, I would admit that there are testing times for all of us and I’m no different.  At times, I do disassociate myself from rap and just sit back with my people. I always bounce back though.  

3. What’s your favorite project so far, and why? 

All the records I’ve made are truly close to me. With four very successful singles in, I’ve tested myself and worked hard on all of them. Apart from my music, there are various albums by Nipsey Hussle and YG which top my favourites. 

4. Most of your songs are a social commentary on impending issues. How did you come to realise that this needs to be spoken by you? 

I’m not the first one to do it and certainly won’t be the last one to. For me, to raise my voice against injustice and represent an India which is very different from the one you see in a boujee hotel room is an inherent part of what I do. It’s not me, it is rap. Hip-Hop rose from poverty, racism and social injustice and caused a revolution around the world. I’m just a product of that revolution. If I have a platform, I must use it for the greater good of the people too. The vanity comes and goes. 

5. What have been your best and worst memories on stage? 

I feel like I’m yet to hit the road. I haven’t performed that much as well… I was focused on the music. However, since you asked, my performance at Antisocial in Mumbai was dope! The crowd was so hyped and vibed with my tracks, I’ll cherish it for a long time. 

6. Who are your biggest musical influences? 

Man, there are so many! However, if I had to name a few since you asked, it would be Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, Sidhu Moose Wala, Tupac Shakur and YG of course. 

7. What interests or hobbies do you have outside of music?

More often than not, I’m writing music or staying close to it. However, I hang around with the boys whenever I want a breather. We usually play basketball or roam around our city. However, rap is a huge part of everything I do. 

8. Where do you think the future of the hip-hop industry lies?

Not sure about Hip-hop but Sambata ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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