Published: 31st January 2019
Why everyone should check out Odisha-born rapper Samir Rishu Mohanty aka Big Deal's original songs
If you haven't heard rapper Samir Rishu Mohanty already, you totally should. From his confrontational-style video, Are You Indian, to his song for Skilled in Odisha, the rapper has come a long way
While novices like yours truly are still discovering what the Indian rap scene is all about, thanks to the hype around Zoya Akhtar's upcoming movie Gully Boy we got a taste of a different kind of hip hop when we tuned into Samir Rishu Mohanty aka Big Deal. From his confrontational-style video, Are You Indian, to his official song for Skilled in Odisha (directed by National award-winning director Nila Madhab Panda), the rapper has come a long way since his Darjeeling days, when he was bullied to finding his refuge in rap — especially in the words of American rapper Eminem and his movie 8 Mile. "I would listen to rap songs extensively and read a lot of books just to increase my vocabulary and rhyme better," says the rapper who was born in Puri.
And looking at Eminem openly speaking his truth gave Samir the courage to be vulnerable. Samir’s rap, infused with the same kind of honesty, connected with a whole bunch of people, and voilà, he clicked. And several listeners clicked too. On his videos! More than 25 lakh times to be exact. His latest video, Khusi Ta, which talks about the development of Odisha has a sizeable three lakh views. Clearly, videos are a very integral part of his music. "I work with a team across the country and the brainstorming is intense," says the rapper who is currently based out of Bengaluru. For Khusi Ta, the team decided that it would be a great idea to dance, which proved to be slightly difficult for Samir. He was trained by Harihar Dash of India's Got Talent fame and now that we've seen the video, we've got to admit he nailed it.
Samir also has his first full Hindi song coming up towards the end of February or in the first week of March
And when it comes to the writing, he internalises and then puts it in words which would relate to most. Considering Samir's rap speaks about several sensitive topics, in today's day and age where it doesn't take much to offend anyone, does he too, feel the dangers of wearing his heart on his sleeve? "Definitely. One does need to be careful. That's when my team comes in. I double check with them and they advise me about what works and what is likely to backfire," says the 28-year-old. He has even trained himself to take trolls less seriously.
Keeping count: Samir has uploaded 33 videos on his YouTube channel | (Pic: Samir Rishu Mohanty)
Speaking about the movie Gully Boy and what it could do for the Indian rap scene, Samir says, "It opens up several opportunities for all of us. Brands are already starting to approach me," he says. But the grey cloud within this silver lining is that it might open up a lot of competition. But to this, the young rapper confidently adds, "It all depends upon your music and the kind of artist you are, Gully Boy is just the beginning." And when it comes to this particular artist, make sure to save the date for February 8 as he is coming up with an amazing song, with an NGO, which will be about students. We know the wait is long, but at least we have his other songs to listen to while we wait.
Some of his songs which should be on your playlist:
- Mu Heli Odia
- Skilled in Odisha
- Udne Do
For more on him, click on facebook.com/IamBDeal