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‘Player NO. 1’ by Bagi Munda Hypes His Unique Approach to Commercial Sonics

Released on the 12th of January, ‘Player NO. 1’ by Bagi Munda is the Chandigarh-based rapper’s newest rendition and method in making commercial music. The EP contains 5 tracks and runs for 21 minutes and has features from Arpit Bala, Bhappa, Boyblanck and Jaskaran. With additional vocals from Tanmaya, the EP features Dox and fatboi racoon on the production and Circle Tone in additional post-production. The EP poses a storyline in which Bagi (intentionally or unintentionally) paints a new character. Now, the reason why I said ‘unintentionally’ is because most of what I perceived to be a “storyline” was my own interpretation and might not be the actual case. The reason behind this assumption is Bagi’s well-known habit of playing with new characters as if he were directing a film through his projects. Now, the character in ‘Bagi’s cinematic universe’ need not be an entirely real or a completely phoney one, Bagi draws inspiration from a lot of things very intricately while designing a character and this can be seen in this project as well as his previous project ‘Betaj Badshah’.

The first track ‘LDT’ gives an explosive start to the EP. It sort of sets the theme of the storyline and explores the character’s stoic personality. He boasts of his heroic nature and confidence in every possible endeavour. He further implies how his musicality and influence are way more than what mere numbers can describe. Very cinematic and the use of Kaala Patthar film dialogue. Bagi is known for attempting to create a cinematic vibe throughout a project, be it via dramatic one-liners, playing with plots and using cinematic references. The track LDT too, ends in a very film-like way as he uses a dialogue from the film ‘Kaala Patthar’ to further present the mindset of the character.

The second track ‘Player’ is easily the most vibey and loved track of the EP. It has verses from Arpit Bala and Bhappa, the duo who go by the moniker, ‘Foosie Gang’. Bagi further flexes his influence and the ‘supremacy’ he has as an artist. He defines and relates to the character of a ‘Player’ as he repeatedly continues the phrase ‘Like A Player’ and tells about the different acts that he puts up that make him one. This emphasis is further pushed as a continuous narrative is shown throughout the track as the featured rappers pick up the context and add their own perspectives. Arpit Bala once again proves why he is a very versatile artist, the way he adjusts to the sounds and themes of a track and then completely takes over the track boasts of a creativity that some well-known rappers can’t hone too. One can’t help but vibe with Bhappa’s segment as he executes a very catchy verse with three different flow switches and explains his understanding of what a ‘Player’ is, with subliminal humour.

‘Paper’, the third track sees Bagi and Boyblanck joining hands after their last collaboration ‘Evident Domination’, which received a lot of appreciation. The track serves as a sort of sequel to the 2022 track as it further emphasizes the ambience of it. Bagi has a very slow verse, something that seems a bit irksome. The hook finally gives way to the Noida-based boyblanck. With a faster flow and switches in his verse, Boyblanck makes his verse quite enjoyable. The way Boyblanck uses voice modulation to compliment his verses in his trap sounds is one of the best features of his musicality. However, executing the same in the sound of Paper is quite commendable. Towards the end of the track, the rappers exchange bars and give a very pleasant finishing touch improving the sonic experience.

The Cover Art of ‘Player NO. 1’

With ‘Touchdown’, Bagi finally shows his melodic sound and his style of rapping over laid-back tracks. The track tells the story of an instance where Bagi visits a different city to meet a girl. He talks about how he doesn’t believe in love, yet doesn’t mind occasional flings. He raps about how trusting someone enough to be in love with them is hard for him, especially now that he has excelled so much in music. With additional vocals from Tanmaya, the track is very well arranged and has different elements and instruments creating a beautiful soundscape.

The last track of the EP, ‘Fan Girl’ has features from Jaskaran. The last time these rappers collaborated, one of the best projects of 2023 was curated with the name ‘Sanju & Sallu’. With a guitar sample, fatboi racoon creates a perfect melodic backdrop for the theme to be portrayed in. Fan Girl further emphasizes Bagi’s ideology of love as he recalls certain instances from his past relationships and experiences. In the end, he repeats the line ‘I got no plans for love’ while following Jaskaran’s vocals. ‘Fan Girl’ completes the storyline or the character sketch of the ‘Player’ in question. With a very mellow and easy-going mood, the EP comes to an end.

‘Player NO. 1’ follows a story, LDT shows how he was before he was a rapper, more like his personal character. In Player, he talks about artistic influence and the ‘star’ life he lives. In Paper, he talks about money, flexes a bit and talks about how it affects his mentality. In Touchdown he brings the romantic essence of his life, now being a rapper, into the tape and finally ‘Fan Girl’ talks about how unfazed and apathetic he is as far as love is concerned. The EP yet again goes to show how good of a storyteller Bagi is, his style of weaving different incidents and stories into a full-length tape is worth talking about. Another noteworthy aspect is Bagi’s choice, or should I say ‘artistic instinct’ of picking the right collaborators and features as per the theme and the sound of a track. Although the EP isn’t Bagi’s best project, it will certainly be at the top with some timeless bangers.

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