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‘Shikshan’: A Dose of Optimism from Rising Pune Artist Nerak

Every now and then, the Hip-Hop scene in India gets saturated with repetitive and substandard music that some artists tend to feed their audience with. Hip-Hop has sadly become a medium for every Tom, Dick and Harry to make unworthy music that they aspire to get limelight from. But, thankfully, within this environment, some flag bearers come through to remind us of what the genre was truly about. And today, we will be talking about one such project that brings freshness and novelty to the otherwise crumbling scene.

‘Shikshan’ by Pune-based Nerak is a 4-track EP that lasts around 6 minutes. While the duration of the EP is quite short, considering it is a project, Nerak’s approach stands out as he wastes no time with fillers and unrelated chatter. The EP isn’t your everyday tryhard aggressive cuss-heavy and forgettable project that gets a few heads banging for a short-lived duration. It portrays a simple but important narrative while also offering a peek into Nerak’s introspective feelings.

Cover art of “Shikshan” – designed by @saharshpng

The EP starts with “Shuruaat”, the production features vocal samples and fast-paced drums that demand spotless lyricism. Nerak’s lyricism features a lot of Urdu terms and references; it presents the poetic nature of the EP. He recalls his grandmother’s tales about when she used to be inclined into music but couldn’t pursue it due to priorities and responsibilities. Nerak then talks about his constant strive not to go down the same path of regret. What follows next is “Sapne (Interlude)”, where Nerak further emphasizes the conflict of passion and responsibilities. The next track is “Farz”, which starts with film dialogue and features an ancient school sample and soundscape. The track talks of struggle, and Nerak vents about the responsibilities he has to take as the man of the house, especially being from a middle-class background. But, this track doesn’t just highlight his responsibilities, it also has a mini-skit that foreshadows the negative and downgrading nature of rap, or one can say the nature of such rappers that perceive Hip-Hop as a platform to showcase disgraceful behaviour. It is worth noting that the project revolves around the idea of education and, while Nerak does make use of Hip-Hop as a medium to convey or portray his ideologies, he openly points out the evident flaws of the scene in general and the substandard nature of particular artists that consider themselves as a part in it. The last track “Waaghinicha Dudh,” takes inspiration from the great social reformer B.R. Ambedkar’s words “Education is the Milk of Tigress. Who will Drink, He can’t stay without Roaring.” In the melodic piece, Nerak talks about the importance of education and its significance in one’s life. Amidst the new social media trend ‘school is a matrix’, Nerak’s initiative of showcasing the importance of knowledge and upliftment is beautiful. 

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