In the last couple of years, Northeast has seen the rise of hip hop artists. It may have something to do with the fact that music lovers in this part of the world enjoy catchy music, but another reason could be that the region has seen a rise of mature listeners who appreciate thoughtful lyrics that is real and relatable. MOKSH, a young rapper based out of Shillong has been performing at different venues across the region and has gathered quite the fan following. After two years of work, he recently releasing his debut EP. We find out more.
How and when did you start rapping?
I have grown up listening to the likes of Eminem, Linkin Park, Tupac, 50 Cent, Shaggy and more. Local TV channels out here would play their songs all day. Friends at high school would also play the songs of similar artistes. I used to listen to them because I thought it was cool. But after I reached 10th standard, I delved deeper into the words and that’s when I actually discovered rap music. Fast forward to 2012, I started to pen down my first original. Ever since, writing my own rhymes has been an evolving process.
How long did it take to put the EP together? Are you happy with the way it turned out? Any challenges you faced?
I have been planning this album from the last two years. I didn’t want to put out something ordinary. Now that I have played these songs at a couple of venues, I figured that people are actually able to connect with my music and that’s what has been the purpose since day one. I am satisfied with how the tracks have been listed in the album and I hope that more and more people can listen and connect to it.
There were many challenges. But I, as a person, have matured in this process. I have learnt how to deal with these challenges. There are many constraints when you are belting out a body of work in the form of an album. Especially, if you are doing it independently, then you will have to keep track of your creative flow, your cash flow and also your pre and post release marketing.
How do you go about writing songs, is it spontaneous or do you sit down to write every now and then?
So this album has three extremely talented record producers, Yugi Beats from Aizawl, Stunnah Beats from Guwahati and AS Prod from Shillong. While Yugi and AS produced the beats exclusively for me, I picked one beat from Stunnah’s official YouTube channel. I am basically sharing my personal experiences through the songs in this EP. Thus, it came almost naturally. But I keep jotting down lines every now and then.
Why did you choose to sing in different languages and do you think that gives you an edge?
It’s because of the place where I come from. My locality Laban is nothing less than a cosmopolitan. I am most comfortable writing in English but I thought of proving the fact that Northeasterns can speak Hindi too, so I did a couple of tracks in Hindi and received a lot of appreciation. Now I am branded as a multi-lingual rapper and I am happy with the tag as long as people are connecting with my music. But honestly speaking, the toughest part is to write in my mother tongue Bengali because that’s where I face the most criticism.
Name some hip hop artists you look up to?
Rakim, Jay Z, Big L, Eminem, Divine, Notorious B.I.G, Mike Shinoda, Immortal Technique to name a few. But I am really influenced and motivated by American-Korean Rap/R&B artiste Jay Park. From being in a boy band, to starting two successful record labels of his own, to being an Asian artist signed by Roc Nation, Jay Park is a true inspiration.
The album is available on digital stores like Apple Music, Saavn, Spotify, YouTube music and many more.
By Meeta Borah
This feature was first published in Eclectic Northeast Jan 2019 issue