MADHEERA, a 26-minute long, 10 track mixtape, is the first of its kind in the abstract-experimental subgenre of Indian hip-hop. Being the first project to commit fully to the sound, it has laid its print in the underground hip-hop community instantly. Its genre-defining interpolations and samples that include Quentin Tarantino scenes, Marathi skits and sounds reminiscent of J-Dilla’s and production build a menacing and theatrical ambience. The production ranges from percussion heavy sounds to funk and soul. Its multiple themes and sonic concepts interwoven seamlessly produce a smooth no-skip listen.
The numerous counts of interpolations and references enrich the project even further. Art as Royalty in MADHEERA is highlighted by the plethora of art and cultural references like Guggenheim, Lozano Hemmer, School of Waldorf throughout the tape which places it in a cultured and well rounded space. Various nods to MF Hussain are seen in the cover arts, as well as the overall colour palette of the project. All these art references cohesively and coherently makes this mixtape feel like an impressionist painting. The mixtape includes film samples set to a vinyl crackle that is persistent throughout the tape, which adds to the cinema of it all.
The standout track of the mixtape,B.V.B Prelude, is a two-part track produced by Mumbai-based artist pakeezah which starts with an upbeat funk instrumental but turns its head around in the second half where it turns into a more theatrical sound, connected by a Marathi skit, that interestingly is a translation of one of the passages from Oscar Wilde’s only novel, Picture of Dorian Grey.
Words Nandini Chand