In Conversation With D₹V, The Delhi Rapper Making Waves With His Debut Album

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With a massive 10-track debut album under his belt, Dhruv Rajpal’s name, or as he goes by the name D₹V, is soon becoming a staple name in the underground hip hop community. Born and raised in Delhi, Dhruv only started releasing music last year. With a sound that is a cross ever between commercially popular hip-hop and chill bass-heavy electronic music powered-by colloquial lyrical content, Dhruv’s peculiar vocal delivery shines through out the album as he raps in Hindi, Punjabi and even English. The album is in itself as varied sonically as it is lyrically, featuring tracks produced by well-known producer Sez On The Beat, upcoming producers Vneeeet, Skyie, Kreon and some tracks by Dhruv himself.

We got in touch with the artist to know more about his journey, his music and more.

Q.1 Where are you from? What do your parents do? Are they into music too?

I’m born and raised in Delhi. Lived here all my life. My dad is a business owner, mom is stay-at-home. A lot of music used to play around the house when I was growing up. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan used to be on all the time. My dad also learnt music for a while as a hobby but that was it. They definitely weren’t on board when I told them I intend to do music for a living – but that changed later. 

Q.2 Tell us about your childhood. How did you get involved into making music?

I remember my mom forcing me to take guitar classes over the summer vacation in 6th grade. I played guitars in a rock band from middle school through high school until I took a break for a few years to explore more genres. I got back to music making 1st year of college when they debarred me for non-attendance. I got into production and beat making heavily around early 2017. Eventually found my way to rap and I’m here now. 

Q.3 How did your debut release come about?

Music has always felt natural to me. It has to be organic and real before it’s anything else. I remember when I made ‘Chhote Tu Apna Dekh’ (Feb 2019) – as I was hearing it for the first time it felt like sounds coming from the future yet still so relevant. I completely devoted myself to creating a body of work and the album came together in a span of about a year. All songs were recorded at my home studio in a very personal and independent fashion – I controlled every step of the process from the initial ideas and writing to the final masters – I did it all. 

Q.4 What is your music all about?

The music is an imprint of figments of my personality. I’m very fluid with thoughts and expression – I let the ideas flow. Both sonically and lyrically, the album is spread over a spectrum of emotions. There’s something for everyone. 

Q.5 What is your music making process like?

I usually pick up beats online. Sometimes make my own beats or go through beats producers send me. I start by laying a hook or a verse and just let the song take shape, really. Sometimes I hit up interesting artists for features, sometimes it’s all me. I’ve gotten super into mixing and mastering lately so I do my own engineering. It’s fun being in control from start to finish. 

Q.6 Which are your favorite lyricists/writers/philosophers?

In no particular order – Jay Z, Kanye, Lil Wayne, Kendrick, Sikander Kahlon, Young Thug – to name a few. I only got into rap around 2016 so my influences are relatively newer. They’re constantly changing but these guys have got it on lock. I feel hip-hop is most definitely a philosophy and the philosophy I subscribe to is being true to yourself. 

Q.7 What do you think about the society we live in these days?

I feel increasingly conscious about class and privilege as I discover more realities about the world we live in. I want people to love and respect each other as well as the life and environment around them. I also think it’s never been easier for like-minded people to share ideas and connect – which is really good for the most part. 

Q.8 Which Indian bands/artists do you admire?

Apart from everyone I’ve worked with till now – Sikander Kahlon, Prabh Deep, Divine and so much more raw talent from the underground. The potential I see in my generation is insane. Exciting times ahead!