One of Azadi Records’ best, New Delhi based rap duo Seedhe Maut has been one of the most interesting, vibrant and conscious rappers to have originated from the capital city. Not only have they been an influence in their local hip hop community, but also have been able to separate themselves into a league of their own. Sitting on two impressive projects, ‘2 Ka Pahaad’ EP and their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Bayaan,’ Encore ABJ and Calm have so far showcased their lyrical prowess when it comes to Hindi Rap. Thanks to the exceptional production, Sez on the Beat has given life to the duo’s verses in much of the album and their partnership has been crucial in defining the new school Delhi hip hop sound. It left many Seedhe Maut fans with high expectations for what was to come.
Since 2019, the duo has put out 8 tracks including three features with electro-reggae artist Delhi Sultanate on “Scalp Dem”, and Ritviz on “Chalo Chalein” and “Roshni” respectively. Through the introspective and reflective musical journey that they have been on five of their tracks — Saans Le,101, MMM/Yaad, Ball and Do Guna, they have demonstrated that they are one of the very few hip hop artists in India who are in this for the long haul and for the right reasons. With every consecutive release, the duo has proved that nothing is going to deflect them from their goal of self-discovery and enhancement.
To understand post-Bayaan Seedhe Maut it is important to understand what references the duo uses in their songs. Their lyrical content includes a variety of references from early 2000s pop culture, FIFA (the game), football (the sport), childhood cartoon shows to drug use. But it is their willingness to speak on the ills and issues of the Indian society, mixed with a commentary on the current political scenario that has clicked with the wide variety of hip hop aficionados across the country.
101, with over 600K views on Youtube, currently is one of the most popular Post-Bayaan Seedhe Maut track. Encore and Calm’s interdependence and cohesion as a duo are more evident than before. The way they complement each other and fill in each other’s flows on this track introduces you to the newer and more polished Seedhe Maut. They talk about coming out of deceitful economic and personal situations by being more street smart, knowing who and who not to trust in the industry and what they yearn for — which is recognition, not money. The lines “ye raha stage dikha wow wow factor, kiya phir naam, mara chaanta phenk kar” by Encore encapsulates just that, indicating that majority of the rappers in the scene would sell out if the opportunity comes. Calm’s journey has been one to focus on, from an English only rapper transitioning into rhyming in Hindi and further reinventing and improving on his distinctive choppy deliveries has been a coming off age tale in itself. It feels like without him, you would be missing a key element to the mix.
On “Scalp Dem”, the duo fearlessly calls out the controversial Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) by the central government which led to protests by citizens expressing their dissent. In collaboration with Delhi Sultanate, they have made one of the most badass protest music in the wake of the events that took place in the capital city and ricocheted all across the nation.
“Galti ki muslim hai, banda ye mujrim hai, ghar jaake phadega maas abhi, use pehle mare maata ko jagad lo utregi iss hi ki khal abhi”Calm on Scalp Dem (Exposing the ugly reality of mob lynching and anti Muslim sentiments that is prevalent in the country today)
On MMM/Yaad and Ball, they delve deeper into their mental makeup, while flexing their self actualized growth as individuals and their lyrical abilities. The production on both the tracks is phenomenal and fresh, a sound that feels international and rooted at the same time. It’s not common knowledge amongst Seedhe Maut listeners that Calm is more than capable of producing a track on his own, a taste of which we got on Ball, and on their latest release, Do Guna which in hindsight stitches complete, the post-album rise of this duo. The track pulls you right in by its production as they talk about the double standards that most of us engage in, whether it is betrayal in friendships or everyday hypocrisies by even the most seemingly progressive people amongst us. Encore also talks about having to come to terms with their newfound fame and ponders whether he is utilizing his potential for the good of society or for selfish reasons – a juncture that every artist comes across at a point in their career. They also hint on more graver issues in our country reflecting upon the marginalization of socioeconomically backward communities, caste and religious oppression, police brutality that have been further exposed by the escalation of the healthcare crisis that is COVID19.
“Aap mujhe haq se hasske chaska maarke muh pe camera rakhke bole hass do, me hass du kaise harr samay agar harr jageh pe das tarah kasht hain” is beautifully and aptly delivered by Calm. The song ends to the clips of the Jamia Milia attack incident, followed by the anti CAA protests, the migrant workers’ crisis brought on by the haphazardly implemented nationwide lockdown, followed by the George Floyd protests against systemic racism and racial profiling by the US police, led by the African American communities and allies. Fundamentally, it was also a call for humanity across the globe to crack down on all bigoted, corrupt, racist, casteist, sexist and any systematic discriminatory practices that have been normalized for centuries. Let the revolution never die, via action and music. Seedhe Maut.