Hear The ‘New Wave of Young Dravidian Energy’ on ‘Kumari Kandam Traps Vol.1’
Kochi-based producer Parimal Shais and creative director Akkeeran called on hip-hop artists such as Cartel Madras, HanuMankind, Navz-47 and ThirumaLi, amongst others
For those not in the know, Kumari Kandam (also known as Tamilakam) is a “lost, submerged continent with an ancient Tamil civilization” found in the Pandya dynasty legend. It’s also supposed to be the place where the first two Tamil literary bodies, Sangams, were established.
Kochi-based producer Parimal Shais – who’s out with his 15-track collaborative album Kumari Kandam Traps, Vol. 1 – is telling us about the importance of South Indian identity and he’s found a new way to show solidarity. Along with his friend and creative director Akkeeran (who was helming A&R duties on the record), they called on Tamil, Malayalam and English-speaking rappers and MCs from around the world.
Shais, who’s father is a DJ, started at the decks around 2013 and began trying his hand at retrowave, glitch and remixes on previous material. But when he called on Malayalam rapper ThirumaLi for the track “Swayambu” last year, it set things in motion for Kumari Kandam Traps, Vol. 1. The record features not just production that draws from Tamil and Malayalam folk music instrumentation, but also diaspora voices such as Navz-47 (“Thangam”), Cartel Madras (“Glossy”) and Malayalam/Kerala-based rappers such as Lil Chaathan (“Thotta”), Marthyan (“Glowsticks”) and Bengaluru-based MC HanuMankind (“Pharmaceutical”). Shais and Akkeeran note that a new Malayalam rapper like MC Couper made his studio debut on this album, while Chennai-based rapper Ratsun features on “Kaarirumbu.”
In the making for a year, the album highlights a staunch South Indian identity throughout, bringing slick production and flow even if you may not fully understand the language. Shais says, “Though sonically what we are dealing with is trap music, all of the artists are not just rapping about mindless, overused mainstream trap lyrics. They are all rapping about very conscious subjects, their anger, frustration, which are all very real in our youth down south, after years of repression and getting overlooked.”
Akkeeran, who also directed a music video for “Swayambu” last year, mentions that Shais was making a beat every day and sending it to artists to “feel the vibe and jump in the track”. He adds about choosing their collaborators, “We were very peculiar with the choice of artists, we were looking for artists with specific outlook on life and in their craft and so we went on a deep dive search online and asking all our friends who are familiar with regional music scenes in Tamil and Malayalam.”
Stream the album below and on more platforms here.