Rap has been a passion for me since I was 12. It has taken me a long time to develop my craft, and it feels incredible to be in a position to write and present my music to my listeners in a way that I see best. At the end of the day, we all create art we like to consume, and I’m excited for further releases. It is my goal as an artist to make songs that are immersive experiences; songs that are pensive at times, at other times funny, sometimes sad, and at other times humorous. I’ve doted on writing and the lyrical aspect of music for as long as I can remember, and I want people to experience my music in the same way I have experienced some of the best pieces of work, be it music or books or movies.
There’s a sense of home in every story, and I hope that someday I can help you find your own in mine
Anatomy of the Genre
If I had to introduce someone to hip hop, I’d start by playing them some of the songs that I like personally. I suppose that's a good place to start. That way, they can see for themselves whether or not it's for them. Rap, as a genre, has always been interesting to me. I’ve always felt like the balance between the music and lyrics in rap specifically, is really well done. You can say a lot more over a beat than you would singing, I guess, and rappers have a lot more liberty to flesh ideas and concepts out than they would if they were to, say, hold a note or stretch their lyrics out to make them fit a particular melody. So where in pop or RnB you would have two lines, in rap you could have four.
Push Comes to Shove
I’ve always been interested in music, since very early on. But I knew I wanted to do it the first time I heard Eminem in 2009. I remember listening to some Linkin Park songs on my iPod, when Drop The World came on (it was on shuffle). I was familiar with Eminem’s music, I’d heard some songs of his when I was a lot younger, but back then I was more into rock than rap (hence, Linkin Park). But I remember seeing his name and thinking “Oh, I remember Eminem. I haven’t heard him in pretty long.” And that was it. When his verse came on, it was possibly the greatest thing I’d ever heard at the time. I didn’t know what it was about it, or why I liked it, all I knew was that it was different, and I wanted to do that. I went through his entire discography. Each song was better than the last, and I couldn’t get enough of it. So that made me want to do it. I wanted to be that good at something. But I don’t think I can be as good as him, of course. By the time Recovery came out, I was convinced that there was nothing possibly greater than this. Goosebumps, man. Goosebumps.
The latest single to Drop
“Poindexter” was part of an EP that I was trying to write back in 2017. I struggled with that EP, a lot, but I made my peace with the fact that I could not write it. I was still finding my sound at the time, and I didn’t want it to sound like anything in hip-hop. I was trying to find my own way of writing and rapping, but at the time it was more of an ideal than a possibility. I watched that EP die, and slowly, but I’m happy with the concept and I might work on it again sometime in the future. Let’s see. I generally start with a title, and write a song around it, and I think that’s kind of what happened with Poindexter. The first word that came to me was ‘Poindexter’. I looked up the meaning, it said “a boringly studious and socially inept person”, and it fit the vibe I was working with for the EP. I took the liberty of adding satire to the meaning, making “socially inept” mean “antisocial”, and added gore and crime scenes to ironically pose the question, “why won’t you accept me as I am?”
So, I had a cool, fun beat and I had a concept. I figured a hybrid between “bars” and subject matter would be the perfect way to tackle the song. But I didn’t write it at the time, because I couldn’t. The song idea stayed with me until I wrote it in 2019, and I think I did pretty decently.
Challenges to an Album
I suppose getting enough people to hear it. And it being good enough for people to want to come back to it. That’s always going to be a challenge. Executing the idea well, is another one. Writing enough songs to make the album a good experience, and the usual nightmare of having to decide which songs to discard. Marketing is another thing, and it’s always difficult. I don’t have a solid fan base yet, so I don’t know whether or not I want to release an album anytime soon. I’m taking it one step at a time, so I’m looking at releasing singles and just getting people familiar with my sound.
Streaming services like Spotify are great for reaching a wider audience. Playlists and music preferences have become personalised thanks to Spotify, and with their feature of curating playlists for their listeners according to their specific tastes is really helpful. It means that anyone who listens to rap can access my track and give it a listen. It’s good because people have started to make their own playlists as well that their friends can listen to. So if I listen to a playlist that a friend of mine has made, and it’s got a range of songs that isn’t specific to one genre, I can tap into genres outside of hip hop. It’s pretty interesting to see how streaming platforms have grown so much.
Not to sound diplomatic, but every performance for me has been a good one so far. I’ve enjoyed all my live performances, but they’re mostly blurs from the time I get on stage to the time I get off, mainly because of nerves and the spike in adrenaline. It gets easier over time, but you’ll never not feel like you’re fighting your flight response.
An Ode to the Roots
I’ll say this, being a rapper in India is always going to be an interesting thing. For one, the amount of people who rap in general, around you, aren’t too many. But on the other hand, you know a lot of people who listen to rap. So there’s always a pipeline for feedback, but never a space to share your music entirely. I had a friend who was a rapper too, but it isn’t like sports, you know? Everyone plays football, and follows the sport. Or even basketball. Not everyone raps, or follows hip hop as closely as you might. There’s no seasonal transfer window to discuss, or friends to call and play with every evening.
I’m still in my nascent stages with respect to being a professional artist. I’ve released my debut single as of June 10th, and I’m looking forward to releasing more music soon. I hope I can gather enough support in doing so, and I’m excited and scared for lies ahead.
I’ll say this, it’s therapeutic. Nothing beats expressing yourself and having it be considered art. That’s pretty crazy to me. It’ll never get old, I don’t think. Expression aside, I feel like working on having a career in music is something that’s helped me grow as a person. I’m not one to talk much to people I’m not familiar with, so it’s helped me polish up on my communication skills. It’s made me extremely patient, and learning how to be patient is learning how to put yourself to sleep in the middle of a caffeine high. It’s painful, but it’s something that helps you mature. Taking it one day at a time is the best thing I’ve learned to do making music and writing. It made me understand how efficient I can be when I’m not focusing on trying to be the best, but being the best I can be in this moment right now, and work with what I have rather than wished I had. And lastly, I guess, that nothing comes easy, and if it did, it’s not as enjoyable (ask me to say these words again in five years, when unemployment really starts taking its toll).
I’m really impressed to see the way India broke in it’s very own kind of rap, like UK’s Grime. Gully rap is holding its own a lot better than I thought it would, and with rappers like Divine and Seedhe Maut, we’re definitely seeing some brilliant lyricists at work. Their ability to put words together like that in Hindi is unprecedented. I’m used to listening to English as a language get twisted and turned onto its head and every other direction, but listening to them do the very same thing in Hindi really took me by surprise. It’s amazing, the things they’re capable of lyrically. Then, on the music front we have producers like Sez On The Beat, Karan Kanchan, among others who are bringing their own sound, and a very diverse sound at that.
I think we’re saying a lot more as well. We have a higher number of strong lyricists that can WRITE, and focus on their lyrics well enough to at least say something. The American hip hop scene, though definitely more global, lacks in substance. I’m happy with the Indian rap scene.
On the Anvil
More singles. I have a lot of song ideas that are just waiting to be written, and I’m in the middle of one of them at the moment. I’m excited for my next few releases as well, and I really hope I can get them out soon enough. They sound a lot different from Poindexter, and I’m quite happy with them. Apart from that, I’m in the early stages of what I think is a larger project but it isn’t an album, I know that already. It’s still too early to say, and I can’t say anything substantial just yet, but I hope it grows into something worthwhile. That’s all I have coming up for me down the road, really.