“Main kar reha gaane,
Maa di tabiyat karab;
Main paise kamawa,
Industry di niyat kharab”
Prabh Deep is gifted with a musical sense of mixing instruments and beats with finesse. One might have to grow into his music but his lyrics make any listener want to explore further. Prabh Deep is well-acclaimed in the underground Hip-Hop fraternity. His music is a reflection of his deeply embedded Sikh roots along with how being a Delhi lad has influenced him.
In an exclusive conversation with Music Plus, Prabh talks about being an independent artist and how his creativity derives power.
His Hip-Hop acts have been witnessed at festivals like NH7 Weekender, Hip-Hop Homeland, ADE Mumbai and Crossblade. On being asked, why he chose Hip-Hop, he said that it was the closest medium for him to express himself. It was this genre that made a connection which no other could.
While we delved into our conversation, Prabh expressed his take on being an independent artist, he opined, as a creator, he should have total freedom in expression. Also, his association with Azadi Records, an independent label, since Class Sikh, his debut album released in 2017, has guaranteed it.
“I was with another label when Mo and Uday asked me if I wanted to stay with them or join Azadi. I said, of course, I want to join you.”
When you listen to Prabh’s songs, you will realise the importance he pays to instruments.
His work with producers remains intricate, like the one he did with Maya as an Executive Producer himself. He often works by himself.
His work with Hip-Hop artist, Sez on the beat, is one collaboration that sets Class Sikh as one of the pioneering albums in the Indian Hip-Hop scene. Prabh says his connection with a producer is integral to his music.
“We are all stuck with each other’s vibe. Personal relation is more important even though it’s a commercial project,” adds Prabh.
Prabh has majorly worked on individual projects and fewer collaborations. However, his work is more of a musician’s than of a rapper’s. To reiterate his strength in lyrics, it portrays how he takes his surroundings and people as major influences. His sense of making music and writing songs are varied aspects, concocted into one. Also, a rap and a song are two sides of the same coin which Prabh reflects smoothly.
Hip-Hop in India is the most-streamed genre after Bollywood. It did not happen due to a movie or an artist, Hip-Hop has always existed on the streets where people have voiced their lives time and again through songs. Also, Hip-Hop as a movement has a strong musical connect which is empowering to plenty.
Although what a movie based on Hip-Hop did was leverage the genre, the unity Hip-Hoppers have had is beyond the diss-tracks they throw now and then.
That said, Prabh deliberates,
“I think Bollywood producers are talented but I feel they are limited to making money. It’s just how scared they are in experimenting with music. There are very few people in Bollywood who actually care about art.”
Prabh has worked in one Bollywood project, which he says he was grateful for because it was with Anurag Kashyap. He mentions he liked working with Kashyap because he felt he was understood. So much so, that the song he made went unchanged for the film.
With Bollywood being the most dominant genre of music, the non-film genre, on the other hand, has gained momentum in India. Premium labels and OTTs are hopeful about signing new artists and creating a broader array. However, on the ground level, it might just be the contrary.
Despite Prabh’s songs being available on these platforms, he says he wouldn’t depend on the money that comes from streams.
However, I was more intrigued about what Prabh thought about the current lot of Hip-Hop artists.
“Everybody is finding their own sound. I think we are all learning and trying to better ourselves. We don’t have enough Hip-Hop producers, we’ll need them now.”
Rightly so, the Hip-Hop music in India has seen a surge but the fact still remains on how they fund themselves. How are the independent musicians thriving, also, how are independent labels helping them?
Prabh’s latest EP, King, is an amalgamation of hard-hitting lyrics and intense basslines. This EP again highlight’s Prabh’s versatility as a songwriter.
Of Late, the art of globalisation in music has been aced by Latin and Korean acts. Most of the people do not understand either of the languages but it disrupted the entire music ecosystem. The reliance on language in music is hardly a deciding factor today.
Prabh writes in Punjabi. His songs narrate more about people, himself and his struggles. The words that he uses only sets him apart from the rest because it reeks originality and strength.
“Good music is appreciated no matter what. Out of 7 billion people in the world, more than 1 billion are Indians. So, I am hopeful, we can break into the global domain,” believes Prabh.
Also, according to him working as an independent artist is how it is going to be. He believes the predicament of most labels in India is what should change. As an artist, he wouldn’t like to give out his rights to the label, which according to him are, “all for money.”
Currently, he owns all rights of his music which gives him the assurance of obtaining royalties as long as he or his beneficiaries live.
“I am genuinely happy making music and that’s what matters to me”
Prabh’s dedicated fan-base result in gigs selling out. They often run without sponsors and gigs mostly take place in Delhi and Mumbai. Prabh says he gets the most love from these two cities.
The madness Prabh brings forth can be witnessed by his fans in Mumbai on 13th of September at The Habitat.
While more projects and gigs are expected from Prabh, how he projects himself through his work is only what is going to count.
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