Talking about hip-hop, not a lot of people can differentiate between hip-hop and rap. Can you break it down for the audience?
- To be a rapper you need to understand basic things like rhyming, writing, spitting over a beat, knowing about the relation between kick n’ snare, and the many ways that you can play with it. Basically, someone who raps; is a rapper. But hip-hop is a lifestyle, it’s a culture. Hip-hop is further divided into many subcultures or subgenres: DJing (beat production), graffiti (street art), street culture, b-boying (dancing), beatboxing, and of course there’s rap… to break it down, rapping is a part of hip-hop, while hip-hop is a lifestyle, you live, eat, and breath hip-hop.
How do you think an artist should deal with “industry promises”?
- Well, if you are in your early stages or if your career is on the rise, you need to make a set of rules and restrictions, more like core values for instance “these are things I won’t compromise on”. You see, the industry is full of glamour, they’ll attract you no matter how honest you are with your art, they will try to confine you in a cage. To the point of no return, that you won’t be able to make it out. Keep reminding yourself constantly about the dos and the don'ts or the parameters that you’ve set for yourself. Industry promises are a bad joke, industry feeds off you, they consume you till the point you become hollow, and then they will get rid of you. As an artist, you should not rely on the industry and rather rely on your art. If you rely on external factors like industry or people, or market or the audience, you’ll break down, and might have expectations, do NOT expect, make art for the sake of making art.
Quality or quantity: what do you prefer?
- Ah… it’s a very complex question and a very interesting debate as well. Since it works both ways, sometimes quantity helps better in reaching out to the masses, and at the same time if bad content reaches out, quality content gets cornered, it’s quite obvious. It’s about maintaining the quality. If we rely solely on quality, then music might suffer as it won’t be consistent. Since Hip-hop is still a booming industry, it’s taking baby steps to go mainstream, in 4-5 years hip-hop might take over. There’s so much happening. If you compare it with the past, let’s say, 5 years ago only 3 or 4 tracks would be released in a month, but today, at least 5 tracks are released daily, on an average(smiles). Surely, there are more tracks(songs) in numbers but the quality has declined to some extent. I know there are people who’ll neutralize it with their good work. Shout-out to all the creators!
What comes first for you – melody, lyrics, artwork, or takhayul (concept)?
- It can be anything, there’s no pattern, there are some projects which start off as artworks, I keep them with me whenever I start to put in effort on them, sometimes it starts off as a melody or a tune that inspires me to create something. Sometimes I’ve got a rhyme scheme stuck in my mind. So, basically, it’s unorganized chaos. I've always followed my instincts with music… yaar… there are some tracks where there’s nothing but some concept where I build a whole wall around it to make it a building, it’s still unorganized chaos(laughs).
Do we need conscious art? As it is not entirely market-friendly.
- You see, I have a very simple formula: make the type of music that you would prefer to listen to. I’m all in for conscious art. My early inspirations are like Michael Jackson, Winnie Paz or Nirvana, their art came with a message. But again, there is a way to do it. One should not hide behind the curtain of consciousness and cry for being negated by the audience. There are many examples, like Childish Gambino, or Kendrick Lamar, their art has a message, but they know how to present it. Both are acclaimed artists, and quite popular in that regard. You must respect the listener’s experience. Do not sugarcoat your words, just present it well.
How to sustain or what is the way forward according to you?
- That’s where creativity comes into play. Many artists quit because they cannot sustain themselves by merely making art. Music or art alone won’t pay you initially. You must have a backup plan, or you can be reckless like me and jump in to play (laughs). But trust me, one day all of it pays off. You just need to be patient. Also, patience alone won’t help you, put in your effort, show progress. Re-evaluate and reinvent yourself, go back, keep a check on your shortcomings. Any independent artist should be a good observer since you have to do everything on your own. Observe the changes: in flavor, in style, or in the behavior of the audience, or trends. Keep exploring and learning.
Thank you for your time Sunny, hope we did not bother you, well it’s been a long day, precisely 10-12 years, do you think you’ve made it?
I don’t think any artist can say that they’ve made it, or they are “there”. I think life is an ongoing journey, until you’re making art, or you run out of breath, it’s a little unfair and way too early for anyone to think of it. At least, it’s unfair for any artist’s growth or their cause. To respond to your earlier question, no man, I enjoyed the conversation. Thank you for having me.
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