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Review

ROCKSTAR BLOOD : Rocky Glock’s New Album is A Testament To His Honesty

A man sprawled out in a bathtub, an electric guitar propped up at his side, one hand covering his face, another holding long stemmed roses — shot on film, with the words “ROCKSTAR BLOOD” stamped in a corner — one does not expect an album that has these elements on its cover art to be a Desi Hip-Hop one. Or, perhaps it is a lesson in interpretation, because the rapper Rocky Glock, does channel the persona of a rockstar, playing on the stereotypes that one associates with it — intoxication, frustration, and his trials and tribulations with romance, pairing it with a distinctly “desi” grittiness.

Partha Pratim Das, or Rocky Glock, is one of Guwahati’s most famous exports to the Desi Hip-Hop scene. While he has released a number of singles and collaborations, this is only his sophomore album, it is evident that the artist is already secure in his soundscape. Using auto-tuned vocals, sharpened whispers, timed screeching and a sardonic sense of humor, he creates a tracklist that fits right in with most of his DHH contemporaries’ recent outputs, while also dropping in extremely personal anecdotes which turn into moments of self-historicization. The album begins with BHASAD, which is a culmination of all the aforementioned elements. Switching his cadence from raspy to intentional garbling, the rapper talks class difference, money, ambition, and intoxication, as he says “mere roti mein nahi hai makkhan, main roti nahi kha raha, main pee raha bas potion.” It is a common metaphor, bordering on overused, but the delivery of it makes it amply distinguishable from his peers’.

MATTER SERIOUS, the second track on the album, perhaps comes as the most obvious collaboration between the rapper, and Lil Bhavi of Section 71 fame. The two artists form an intersecting Venn diagram when it comes to their respective styles, with the grunts and the hisses making their prominent appearances on both their respective albums. INSOMNIA is a more earnest, gentle, and introspective track, in which the rapper addresses his sleepless condition the same way one would a lover. The production uses brighter, up-beat arrangements, before immediately transitioning into the gritty, aggressive tonality that DAQA DALA possesses. The rapper’s sense of humor seeps into his tracks, as he makes comparisons between pugs and Rottweilers, and his lacking need of Shilajit.

Insomnia — Music Video

R.I.O.T, featuring DRV, has the production style one would associate with the Opium squad of artists — something that one would expect from the reserves of F1lthy or Lil 88. However, the standout has to be the closing track, EMOTIONALLY DAMAGED — where the rapper reaches within himself and pulls out his most vulnerable. There is a brutal nature to the loathing that surfaces through the lyrics. The rapper takes his self-awareness and cuts through his conscience with it, as he bitingly states “main ek drug abuser/chhupa nahi paa raha in cheezon ko/main bech du apna aatma/mujhe accha keemat do”. The grief of his father’s death, the lack of sleep, the disheartened confession that living is merely an act of service for him are barely covered by a sheet of half-hearted resolve.

The only set-back the album faces is that it tends to get repetitive in its production and delivery after a certain point in time. While the lyrics deal with multiple narratives, and embed the artist’s struggles with himself, the people he loves, and the world around him, the constancy in the style of production tips over a little from being cohesive to slightly wearisome. There is a lot of space for the artist to experiment, as evidenced by his own track INSOMNIA. It feels almost unfair, that the rare level of sheer honesty that moonlights in DHH but features in such commendable doses on the album, gets impeded by the near-monotony created by the lack of diversity. It will be exciting to see the rapper step away from his usual tools and techniques that he has polished and perfected over time, and attempt to incorporate new sonic elements that stretch his musicality further into space.

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