Big Deal Gets Real and Comes Clean on Debut Album ‘Samir Rishu Mohanty’
The rapper-producer talks about including his bigger hits “I’m a Chinkey” and collaborating with singer Sunidhi Chauhan
Among the first things that rapper Big Deal aka Samir Rishu Mohanty opens his album with is, “Last year, I had the first of my panic attacks/Heart beating fast, sweating, scared, I couldn’t relax.”
Deeply personal and unfiltered, the song is also the title track to his debut full-length Samir Rishu Mohanty and Big Deal just lets all the confessions tumble out – where he was when his father passed away, addressing his girlfriends directly by their first name and apologizing, feeling distant from his mother and being sexually abused in school. The rapper says about not shying away or glossing over his experiences, “Although my journey and experiences have been on the darker side, I was clear right from the beginning that I wouldn’t want my album to be one-directional.”
The nine-track album — which follows his 2017 EP One Kid With A Dream — goes further in terms of being fun, braggadocious as well as openhearted, strung together with voice announcements straight out of an Indian railways platform. “Puri Toka” sees Big Deal rap completely in Odia and then have an even more dedicated song for Odisha on “Kalia (Jai Jagannath).” Although these were the most recent singles and videos from the album, Mohanty had been plotting his album ever since he released “I’m A Chinkey,” a song that was a popular takedown of racism in India, and “Shahrukh Khan Flow,” which was a starry-eyed appreciation of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in 2020.
He admits that it’s “extremely difficult to maneuver the album route” in the age of singles but he wanted a cohesive body of work where each track stood on its own as well. “Singles are the only way to hold people’s attention and not only singles but singles with music videos are quintessential to make an album a success, in my opinion,” Mohanty adds.
A surprise that he saved for the album, however, is “Sajna,” featuring singer Sunidhi Chauhan. The heartbreak song was written for his ex-girlfriend, but the hook was envisioned with a prolific, versatile singer like Chauhan in mind. Connected via his label, Chauhan came on board and genuinely loved the song. “I had this WhatsApp call with her where I was pretty nervous and I thanked her profusely for coming on board this project but she said, I should be proud of the song I created because it’s a beautiful song and she loves it. That really gave me a lot of validation coming from someone of her stature and success,” Mohanty recalls.
Also heard for the first time on the album are songs like “Mere Jaisa” and “Not Gully, Still Real” – two identity shaping and confident strides for the Big Deal persona. Mohanty feels it was a risk to put them into an album instead of releasing them as singles beforehand, but there are music videos coming up for these tracks as well. “They will garner the necessary attention. The music videos will in turn bring more ears to the album as well. I’m going all out, at least visually,” Mohanty says.
He’s in fact weighing out which video to put out next from the album based on which songs get more streams. Mohanty adds, “I have this melodic rap EP with a bunch of love/heartbreak songs that I want to put out by the mid-third quarter of this year.”
Listen to ‘Samir Rishu Mohanty’ below. Stream on more platforms here.