Exclusive Premiere: Rapper Siri Claims Her Space on ‘Gold’
Produced by Sez on the Beat, the New Delhi/Bengaluru artist sounds off in English and Kannada on her latest single
It’s just been a few days since Bengaluru rapper Siri Narayan (who goes by her first name) checked out of the hospital after a severe viral fever. Getting out of drip-feeding and being on a strict diet of home-cooked meals, she’s even got bottled water along to the McDonald’s we meet at amidst pouring rain.
The illness set back the music video release of her new single “Gold” (watch below), but Siri is hyped for it nonetheless. It was only in early 2018 that the rapper gained fame and acclaim for her English-Kannada song “Live It,” around when Siri says she started taking rap seriously. It’s not exactly been smooth sailing even then. “Last year was more of me writing and not liking any of it enough to put it out. I was having my own issues like anxiety and depression. It gets tough. You become a very critical person of yourself. Now if I look at it, I’m pretty dope,” she says with a smile.
Following a brief stint as part of hip-hop label Azadi Records’ roster (which ended earlier this year), Siri found a reliable collaborator in New Delhi producer Sez on the Beat aka Sajeel Kapoor. Born out of Siri’s flip of “Gold” by hip-hop group Brockhampton, Sez adds his own touch to rework the song into something equally slick. Siri says, “Everything is different here.” The title is the same, but Siri waves it off to say there’s plenty of songs called “Gold.” She adds wryly, “That way, I should sue Apple for Siri.”
In the video directed and produced by the rapper and shot by Vaksh Vimal, Siri wears her love for hip-hop on her sleeve. Featuring a brass section, Siri moves and emotes with the same conviction borne in her Hindi and Kannada lyrics. She’s singing about making her own rules, flipping off societal expectations and upping her own rap game. She says writing in Kannada came naturally to her but she didn’t know how it would turn out until she finished her songs. “I’ve found that I have more control over delivery and flow in Kannada, because there’s a certain way you use slang in Kannada and I guess I know that… You know when it hits the spot,” she says.
Involved in painting, Carnatic vocals and veena since she was 10 years old, Siri says she’s always felt creative and never felt excluded, even in the mostly male hip-hop scene in the country. She adds, “I didn’t really think of it… It’s pretty evident that there are hardly any female rappers, but I didn’t delve on it too much but just accepted it for what it is.”
With “Gold” out, there’s more singles and music videos in the works. Siri mentions working on songs with Sez now that she’s moved to New Delhi, but is also calling on Mumbai-based producer Har Man, who worked on “Live It.” Another song with Sez called “Beda Beda” has been a live staple at her performances so far, but Siri says fans will have to wait before that one comes out. “I’m saving it for later. It’s a banger. Both of us are sure it’s going to go big, so we want to save it for someone who can really push it. We want to make it big,” she says.
Watch “Gold” below. Steam the song here.