As Hip Hop has evolved through the years, it has diversified into multiple genres. From trap, to emo rap, this genre has branched out in all directions based on the life the artists live. Back in the day, the level of skill a rapper hones was prominently judged based on his/her lyricism, the use of witty metaphors, schemes and punchlines. It was very common for rappers back in the day to spend all their time sharpening their pens and finding the perfect syllable for every pocket. In today’s time, with diversity finding its place in the culture, the penman turned into a breed of his own, creating a niche for themself. They’re often referred to as a “rapper’s rapper.”
When I think of a “rapper’s rapper” in Indian Hip Hop, Mumbai based Akshay Jagdish Poojary aka Gravity is one of the first few names that pop up in my head. When you walk into a project by Gravity, you expect intricate schemes, bar-heavy verses and layered punchlines raveled with deeper concepts. You’re not looking for bops or largely composed choruses laid out on spaced out alternative beats. This particular expectation is what Gravity tries to challenge with his EP “Walls of Jericho” that he released a few weeks ago.
Chris Jericho, a Hall of Famer in the pro-wrestling federation WWE used to make his way to the ring to a song called ‘Break Down the Walls’. Even though he played the heel for most of his career, Gravity cites Jericho as his favorite wrestler. When asked why he called this project Walls of Jericho, Gravity told us about the walls people try to build around artists. How the audience expects a certain sonic aesthetic, and tries to box the artist into it. Gravity wanted to break down these walls. “To truly prosper as an artist, you don’t pertain to what people build around you – the cliches and benchmarks. But you create your own lane.” says Gravity.
This 6-track EP serves something for every taste bud. From braggadocio themes in songs like ‘King$hit’ to politically driven commentary on ‘Aakrosh’. Gravity delivers melodic verses on ‘Saazish’ venting about heartbreak. He experiments with his vocals on ‘Darr Kyu Lage’, a song that was warmly embraced by his audience. Taking assistance from long time crew mate Rhymix on Toss and a large array of producers like Swak, Fatboi Raccoon, Amtra, Pranshu and Rane throughout the EP, Gravity successfully brings variety to the table.
For as long as I have spoken to artists about making music that has commercial success, most of them are trying to strike a balance. A balance where artistic integrity and acknowledgement connects. With this project, Gravity moves one step ahead towards that balance and exhibits his evolution since his debut album ‘Prashna Chinha’. Walls Of Jericho is a project where the craft is uncompromised, and yet a casual rap listener is encapsulated.