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Why Dhanji is the Emissary of Multi-Genre Experimentalism and Segues in Indian Hip-Hop

Dhanji Kumar, an Amdavad-based eclectic artist, is known for his charisma and the undying strive to be different and phenomenal. The rapper has released seven mixtapes in his career that vary from each other and are a statement in themselves. Dhanji’s influence in the Hip-hop scene is well-known thanks to his vibrance and the energy that his tracks carry. Identifying himself as the “Gujju Shawn Carter,” Dhanji’s art boasts about his dedication to the craft and the disparate zest that he preaches about in his songs.

Experimentalism and Originality often go together, and Dhanji is a testament of this statement. His immaculate approach to different sounds, styles and sub-genres with each project or single released is commendable. He is quite literally no less than a “melodic alchemist” when it comes to the tunes and sonics that he introduces, one can never spot him seeking a mainstream and largely acceptable sound, rather he brings out his original artistic self with each track. His love and respect for the art is quite evident, the way he gives way to unknown or lesser known artists and features them on his major projects.

A glimpse from Dhanji’s Performance. Shot by Dhhruv

In 2020, Dhanji released five mixtapes based on different themes and sounds. His tracks featured a unique approach to flows and song structuring; a few of them were hookless and just long verses of his with discrete rhyme schemes and flow switches. The tape “Boy-Cut” was one of the most talked about projects following the growth of Dhanji’s reach and fanbase. The project saw Dhanji painting a vibrant perspective of his own in the pop genre.

Following the tapes, Dhanji released “Guru” in July 2021, celebrating his success and his new artistry. Guru was a phenomenon in itself, and the track is still one of the most played ones by the artist. The song’s structure and delivery stood out for the audience. Soon after, Dhanji released ‘Bagmen,’ a 4-track EP with two skits. The EP was produced by Unfuckman, and initially, no other rapper took up the beats until Dhanji decided to jump on it and create a different sound. Bagman is the epitome of his musical sense, the way he creates a beauty of a project out of “scrap beats” that some other artists might call it.

Dhanji’s tendency to never stick to a particular sound, flow, style, or a genre makes him different from the others that aspire to be like him. An example would be the contrast between his eminent “Guru” and his latest drop, “Thaltej Blues”. The difference is so dominant that one might find it difficult to believe that both of the tracks are made by the same artist.

“Thaltej Blues” the first single of the album “Ruab”

Dhanji’s upcoming debut album “RUAB” is the talk of the hour right now, as it’s one of the most anticipated projects of the year. The hype, although not new, stems from the “Pre-Ruab” campaign that he has been running for around a year now. The campaign had tracks collaborations, projects, and shows that have rolled out throughout since the announcement of the album.

An excerpt from Dhanji’s live performance

The end of “Pre-Ruab” will be marked by Ruab: Live, happening on the 2nd of July. It is a live experience presented by Dhanji and The R.O.T.F (a musical band). The show is aimed towards Dhanji presenting Ruab with music backed by the band. The show’s early bird and Phase 1 tickets were sold out within minutes of the announcement, and this further indicates the desperateness of his audience to enjoy and feel the “Ruab.”

RUAB, simply put, is a statement. It is a lifestyle, a feeling, an essence, an experience, or whatever one might term it, and it is celebratory to put it in a word. The funk and jazz sound he has teased is already loved by the listeners. For Dhanji’s core audience, the album is already the best to roll out this year, and for the ones who are missing out on him, it will be.

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