Thursday, February 10, 2005

its a rap

despite the misleading title, this post still dwells on tamil film music. the hip-hop movement apparently started in africa, migrated to the New World and claimed New York to be its capital. setting base there the hip-hop nation started broadcasting its agenda and the whole world tuned in and now thumps and shakes its booty to the heavy beats and the rhythmic repeptive rap.

it was only a question of time before the ingenious men (mostly) of indian film music ,who liberally borrow and sometimes steal from the world over, saw this humongous potential for something that rhymes as well as gaal and chaal or kuruvi and aruvi . initially it found few takers in the formula-bound film world which still insisted on one fast song for the hero with his friends, one for the heroine alone on misty mountains, a couple of duets-one in a foreign locale with or without caucasian dancers and the other (u guessed it ) dancing around trees and one sad song that had the hero and heroine singing separately + give or take an item number here or there(remember i am talking of a while back before the formula was modified to permanently include this spicy hot ingredient). where is the melody in someone talking rhyme they wondered.

around the same time ini kamoze was hotstepping on indian MTV , there was a guy named Suresh Peters in tamildom who was trying to kickstart the concept of a music video. his was a new voice on the block and predictably it got picked up by A.R.Rahman .together they produced what was possibly the first tamil rap song. appropriately titled pettai rap, this new art form married the folk art of gana (a regular form of entertainment in colleges) with the international phenomenon of rap. it was a rage. i still remember that "emjaaru sivaji rajini kamalu , bagulu bigulu sevulu avulu all shows house fullu" was one of the few lines i was able to "sing". sadly that was the first and last of the true tamil raps. since then there have been some other english interludes which have been added more to give a western feel than some serious lyrical support.

the most notable occurences almost all happened on Rahman's albums. samba samba from Lovebirds and kalluri salai from Kadhal Dhesam both had some lines by this dude ,aslam mustafa (same chap who sung ho gayi hai a indipop song with shibani) who i have a faint suspicion also penned them. but my favorite lines are in Enrendrum - Alai Payuthey...possibly the best rap bit in a tam film song ever. vairamuthu could not penned those lyrics even if he were seriously stoned and the cassette i have does not credit anyone. the high energy / attitude in this song is reflected well in the's how it goes (am not so sure abt the part in italics..anyone who clarifies it will get a mention in a wall of fame page that may come up if my readership ever exceeds 5) :

Hey here we go
I'm lipped up on the mark
Just swinging with the hip, the hop
Once again in effect
Feel the constant
Slamming of the bassline
Never mess around with the funk
B'cos I'm sticking
peeking always finger lickin
I dont need halloween
Just to be trick-or-treatin
Cos I am always on the top
yo wiguda wagudu jiguda jagudu

outstanding rap in my opinion and the first time i heard it, i didnt know what halloween, trick-or-treating or wassup was. a clear demo of how much one (pop)culture rubs off on another in such an exchange.

In more recent times Yuvan Shankar Raja seems to have taken over the mantle of the rebellious youth, including rap and western rhythm in many of his songs. but Rahman for his part hasnt stopped experimenting. his recent offerings E20U18 and Boys were liberally sprinkled with the spoken word by some guy named Blaaze. while the competition between the 2 isn't exactly the same as a freestyle rap battle , it is throwing up some exciting sounds for the fans of tamil film music. being one i'll blindly follow them into any genre they choose to explore.

so what up y'all ? any other genres i shud know abt. do u know of a hindi song that has celtic flutes or a tamil one that fuses hamsadhwani with heavy metal ? whatcha waiting for..get the word out

afternote : what they giveth , they taketh away. i'm sure everyone also knows abt the thoda resham lagta hai fracas that had bappi lahiri flying to LA to sue Dr.Dre and if you haven't heard jayz and punjabi mc bangin away with beware of the boys, stop reading right away and find a legal way to download it. seems like they are tuning into us too.

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