Aditya Lodha aka Adi born in Mumbai, the youngest member in a family of 16, was exposed to the melodies of Indian musical maestros such as Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar but also was heavily influenced by the likes of James Brown, Michael Jackson and hip hop artists such as Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Slick Rick. This genre-bending musical palette is exactly what Adi’s music sounds like, a concoction of eastern and western classics delivered in a new style of rap and Rnb music. PIGEONHOLED, his latest EP embraces a similar rhythmic atmosphere to his previous two EPs – Old Me, Knew You and Testing Waters, however, is much more diverse in production and the overall concept. ‘Pigeonholed’ means being restricted into particular categories of skill, the type of art one is known for or even expected to create time and again. However, on this project, Adi has been his most experimental by incorporating sounds of jazz, funk, RnB and Rap to communicate messages of self-doubt, love, protest, nostalgia through an extensive theme of feeling caged which is conveyed through his witty lyricism and infectious cadences.
The first track ‘Pigeonholed’ is a mature commentary on the music industry which sets the tone for the rest of the EP. Through this bouncy intro, Adi talks about how artists are often commodified by major record labels, and their image is often constructed to benefit themselves – “The end of the day man, if I’m just a product/Then what can I say? I guess labels will label”. While he is aware of the industry’s ways, Adi also makes it evident that he shall never compromise on his song-making process and is pleased to be represented by the people he trusts – “The cat’s in the cradle, my dad is my label/My friends are my reps, and I’m managed by angels.” He follows this up with an RnB flavoured slow jam “LOCKED IN” which is one of the most melodic and enjoyable tracks of this project. “COP CAR” is a hypercharged protest song featuring Kashmir’s finest Ahmer, which discusses the current social climate, specifically referring to the interlink between systematic racism/communalism and police brutality. “BACK HOME” is an ode to his family in Mumbai. Currently a music student in New York, he expresses that no matter how much he loves the grind of doing his own thing in the big city, he still continues to be nostalgic of his home back in India. It’s a track that will resonate with anyone who had to leave their comfort zone in order to try and achieve their aspirations in life. The EP concludes with a deeply introspective track called .22, Adi speaks of his own personal experiences of being in a constant state of anxiety and uncertainty while having to let go of relationships to prioritize his work. He talks about overburdening interpersonal dilemmas that have come close to pushing him over the edge. There is a mental health crisis plaguing today’s youth and Adi only seeks to normalize the stigma around it, he believes acknowledging our daily stresses and how immensely they might impact us can go a long way instead of shutting us out. The sound of this EP is also very diverse, sample-heavy with a creative mix of jazz, soul and Rnb type production by the likes of Versus, Sheil Mehta, BMTJ, MDHV, Kevin Clarke and mastered by Mumbai based 24Fret Productions’ Rahul Popawala.
Currently signed to Ruckus Avenue, a South Asian music company based in Los Angeles, Adi seems to have a found the ideal resource for him to stay true to his course which is making forward-thinking music. The innovative fusion of the eastern and western cultural and musical elements, both of which has shaped his life, and in turn has consistently been translated into his work. “I’d much rather have a slow come-up than a quick fall-off. So I don’t mind the slow burn, just means I get to enjoy what I do without any scrutiny for much much longer”, he says. It’s a refreshing attitude for a rapper to have in a scene which is saturating daily with call outs and disses being a staple weekly release by many artists for quick traction on social media. This infectious sounding EP will assuredly have to dive deep into his earlier work as well while we gear up for more, possibly a full length by this promising artist.