‘Meen’ is the debut studio album of the Delhi based rapper Yungsta, and the powerhouse of a producer, Sez On The Beat, under his label THE MVMNT and Mass Appeal India. Although Yungsta has been releasing music consistently with his label mates at THE MVMNT, his last major solo outing was with his 2021 trap mixtape, Mehfil, which received mixed reviews from the audience and critics alike, making his latest highly anticipated new venture an important proving point for the rapper.
The title and concept of the album is derived from the rapper’s zodiac sign – Meen or Pisces. A Piscean is emotionally aware, is a lover and a dreamer, the exact feelings Yungsta tries to weave into an album. The concept is accentuated with the help of Vibhav Singh’s beautiful album art showing the conflicting duality of a Piscean. Through the tracklist posted on social media we understand that the album is divided thematically into three acts: Head, Heart and Hand used for thoughts, emotions and actions respectively.
Act 1: Head starts with the cinematic lead single ‘Ruhbaru’, Sez’s loud thumping drums give Yungsta the ideal atmosphere to let his pent up hunger out through hearty lyrics and a powerful delivery, in what could be considered his career best performance.
Second track, ‘Dilli’, picks up the same energy Aman Sagar’s electrifying guitar solo created in the outro and witnesses a solid chemistry between Yungsta, Calm and Frappe Ash. While Frappe gives one of if not the best verse of the album, Calm’s attempt falls short and feels very superficial and off from the theme of the track.
‘Sansani’ shifts the focus from personal talk to some social commentary. The track immediately catches your attention thanks to Sez’s brilliant incorporation of tabla in the beat and an interesting vocal sample. Even though the lyrical content of this track isn’t something out of the ordinary, the way Yungsta’s flows mingle with the beat is a treat to listen.
Next comes ‘Sukoon’, a track having little to no significance in the overall scheme of the album, other than being a palate cleanser for what’s to come next in the form of ‘Nascar/Needs’; which is an instant standout track where the ‘Presidential’ maker pens down his agony, making the listener feel his struggle with anxiety disorder through the metaphor of a Nascar driver. Yungsta’s vocals and Sez’s beats once again show some great synergy, one thing that is consistent throughout the album. While ‘Nascar’ is fast paced and angsty, ‘Needs’ gives the rapper a lot more clarity about his disease and ways to cope with it.
Act 2 is introduced with ‘Homecoming (Interlude)’ where the tense character of the album transitions smoothly into a more laid-back zone. ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam’ and ‘Savera’ come next, two half decent tracks with the traditional verse-hook-verse-hook structure where the melodic hooks work really well but the verses remain quite ordinary and forgetful.
As we reach the third act, our drowning piscean protagonist finds the strength to swim again and finally comes into his own.
The rapper channelises his ‘AM/PM Drake’ in ‘N.L.I.T.I’ talking about his foul encounters with the industry people and labels on a modern boom bap beat by Sez. Another big highlight of the project.
The penultimate track ‘Totka’ features Delhi underground’s darling, Ikka, who tries to add a bit of character (however icky it may be) to a fairly generic and and again a forgetful effort by Yungsta and Sez. ‘Hona Hi Tha’ is the outro this grand album rightly deserved. In addition to being a near perfect song, this collaboration also gives the album a very poetic ending, for the listeners and the rapper alike, as he reunites with the two homeboys (Encore ABJ and Raga) he started out and teamed up with 7 years back in ‘Sunno’ as a teenager. The trio is a testament of the fact that dreams do come true if you persevere and keep the family close. Talking of family, Yungsta’s work husband Frappe Ash gives a final adieu to the audience with a moving skit, making this a track that will hold immense sentimental value for the pioneers and early fans of hip-hop in India.
In a gist, ‘Meen’ is Yungsta, looking back to see how far he has come, reminiscing, learning, unlearning and celebrating through the process. While the album starts and closes out strong, the Yungsta and Sez project is a bit rough around the edges and is held back by the middle section of the tracklist. It may not be a spotless project but the rapper shows us glimpses of greatness which will hopefully be fully realized in the projects that follow.