India, especially in today’s time, is in dire need of soldiers to further voice the ongoing revolution. Be it actors, musicians, role-models or social media influencers, the revolution has to take shape by tuning the masses into the harsh realities that plague India today. Enter Swadesi – a 5 piece rap supergroup consisting of bi-lingual emcees Mawali (Marathi/Hindi), TodFod (Gujarati/Hindi) 100RBH (Marathi/Hindi), Maharya (Bengali/Hindi) & Bamboy (DJ/Producer). Swadesi have successfully created a debut album that details, resists and revolts against the socio-political systems that affect India today.
With “Chetavni” – Swadesi has reflected the grim realities and the troubles of the Indian society to the world. The album is the theme music to the revolution. With the roaring success of their last single “The Warli Revolt” (a track meant to raise awareness to the plight of the Warli tribe and fight against the uprooting of the trees at Aarey Forest in Mumbai), Swadesi has now released a 9-track album that fuses protest poetry and conscious rap into folk-fusion boom-bap beats.
Kicking off with a mixed monologue about the current state of affairs – “Chetavni” lays the foundation to the rest of the album. It ensures that the listener knows the concepts they are tuning into from the word go. Followed by “Jung”, the album questions the very concept of war, exposing war-profiteering and societal oppression all forged in the aftermath of war. “Sau Taka Sach” (translating to 100% truth) stays true to its title and showcases the uncut, raw truths of today’s world.
Bamboy then reveals his inner emcee with “Sthiti”, blazing the track with bars on bars about his own observations about society in an innately ‘bambaiya’ style. He speaks of disparity, division and death. Touching on everything from the hard work of late night ‘bhurji paav’ sellers to religious partition to the unjust division of the rich and poor. He even calls out Mumbais double standards – for giving slots to the LGBTQ community all the while ignoring the calls or stories of the eunuchs on the streets. This is a song that sticks not just to the core messages that the album puts on display, but calls out society’s bullshit on almost every bar.
Turning up the pace and representing their neighborhoods “Galliyaan Bhool Bhulaiya” is a swingy, punchy and groovy track that provides an insight into the worlds that Swadesi reside in, they pour the visions of their neighborhoods into the track. 100RBH & Dr. Das then turn up the madness with “Aatank” – a track that has a quirky, almost nostalgic 90’s Bollywood rap song feel to it (but rest assured the quality of rap is top notch). 100RBH fits into that template in a way very few emcees possibly can. “Dikhati Sapne Sadke” is MC Tod Fod’s love letter to the street. A jazzy, soulful praise to the ups and downs and the lessons that the streets teach us all. With “Bhoy” – Maharya gets grimey as it gets. Expertly showcasing his proficiency as a Bengali emcee all the while calling out the (paid) media for its fallacies and flaws. He entails the atmosphere of fear that has been spreading its way around the world.
The last couple of tracks “Khabardaar” & “Kranti Havi” (featuring Delhi Sultanate) provide the album its fitting end. Raising the flag for the current revolution and cementing a version of refined revolution music – Swadesi has created an anthem of an album. “Chetavni” serves not just as a warning – but acts as a revolt in itself.
Make sure you check out the full album below.