Vedang 'Shastriya Hip Hop' EP Review
Each track on the EP has elements of various genres, from hardcore boom bap to west coast to EDM. Vedang achieves such a wide soundscape without borrowing too much from any one genre.
Vedang Deshpande, the producer behind underground hits like Gutter Rich, Nonte Fonte with Yungsta, and Izehar with Bawari Basanti, has released his debut EP 'Shastriya Hip Hop' on the 3rd of May. As the name would tell you, this project blends Indian classical samples with old school hip hop grooves. This 10 minute extended play is the peak of Vedang's signature sample-based production, which, by his own admission borrows from American producer Madlib's sampling style. But here, he gives us samples that he probably grew up listening to and hence, add a lot of individuality to the mix. Legends like Asha Bhosle and Pt. Bhimsen Joshi's vocals have been chopped over hip hop
The first track, Pahaat features a vocal sample by Asha Bhosle from the film Nivdung. The E-piano playing behind her vocals makes the track sound worn out and retro. The vocal phrase remains untouched, except a few chops and scratches to make the overall track more 'hip hop'. Everything from the minimalist bassline to the drum samples screams vintage. Even the fade out at the end reminds us of album intros in the early 90s.
Here's a snippet of the intro beat to the EP. This one's called "Pahaat". Flipped an Asha Bhosle classic "Kevha Tari Pahaate" in this beat :) Artwork by @doodlewaala Full EP out now!! Link in bio. You can also download full EP from the link, there's a pay what you want option there. (If you think these flips deserve some money, you can pay otherwise feel free to download directly :) ) #sampleflips #sampledtrap #sampledbeat #oldschoolbeats #oldschoolbeat #chillhop #lofi #lofihiphop #lofibeats #chillbeats #classical #fusion #hiphop2020 #hiphopmusic #hiphopbeats #rapmusic #rapinstrumentals #rapbeats #rapbeatsforsale #beats #beatmaker #beatstarsproducer #beatsforsale #beatsforlease
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The next track, Chandra starts off with a sample from Devaki Pandit’s live performance. The harmonium and vocal-based sample then transitions to a heavily chopped vocal phrase with drums that remind us of the early 2000s trap, with distorted 808s and orchestral synth pads. The panned hi-hats give the track space, which is occupied by a lush array of synths. The electronic lead and delayed vocals in the outro introduce a psychedelic element to the track.
Mendikot, featuring Mumbai based rapper EMF, draws parallels between life and the Maharashtrian card game of mendikot. Sampled vocal chops form the majority of the melody section, with old school drums. This is the only track with original lyrics and a familiar 'hook-verse-hook' song structure. EMF's verse had a flow that was rooted in Marathi folk music, with a layered vocal profile.
The next two tracks ditch the vintage sound for modern electronic instrumentation. Maaherchi Drip features a classic west coast, DJ Mustard style beat with a Moog bassline and snappy claps. The track samples Pt. Bhimsen Joshi's vocals chopped to showcase his intricate alaaps.
The closer, Radhika goes into the electronic zone with complex hi-hat rolls and bassy leads. Even though the sample used is sung by Aarti Ankilkar, it is heavily chopped and made to sound similar to something Major Lazer or Martin Garrix would do. The song ends the EP with loads of energy. The tabla sample meshed with the drums keeps the track rooted in India.
Each track on the EP has elements of various genres, from hardcore boom bap to west coast to EDM. Vedang achieves such a wide soundscape without borrowing too much from any one genre. This I think is due to his reliance on Indian vocal and instrumental samples, which glue the EP together and do not let it wander away from its central theme.
It's a perfect listen for a short drive, or when you're planning to go to bed. For rappers, this is nothing short of a beat tape. The spacious instrumentals give enough room for an artist to spit on. Every track (except Mendikot) can be used as a freestyle beat in itself if the tracks were a bit longer.
It's a pleasant deviation from the usual sound of Indian hip hop. I hope we get to see more producers dig deep and make music which is more rooted in their local cultures and sounds.
Shastriya Hip Hop is streaming on YouTube.