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Hip-Hop, Poetry and Musical Storytelling Come Together in Suyash Dasgupta’s Book ‘Chosen’

The 17-year-old writer aimed to get a “multisensory experience” for his first published work, creating two songs

Anurag Tagat Mar 22, 2022

It’s not very often that school projects will lead to publishing not just a novel, but also composing two hip-hop songs to enhance the plot, but that’s what happened with Singapore-based writer Suyash Dasgupta’s debut book Chosen.

A grade 12 student at Singapore American School, Dasgupta says he Chosen – which was published in January via Academic Foundation – took root in a project for a course called Catalyst. “[It’s] a class designed to give students time to explore passions they do not usually have time to participate in.” It led to the 17-year-old penning a novel that employs verse, lending itself the quality of a dramatic musical of sorts. Chosen follows the story of classmates Mason Green and Jordan Turner in the fictional Roscommon Middle School in Michigan, as they begin to understand each other and their turbulent family lives.

Where Dasgupta adds a new dimension is by incorporating two rap songs “Chosen” and “Till My Last Breath” into the plot, with an assist from producer Anish Denoon aka Kombat and rapper Vas Angelov. The buoyant, American hip-hop leaning songs aptly offer a sense of the characters and the setting of Chosen and they’ve already amassed over 30,000 streams on Spotify. Dasgupta adds, “I wanted to tackle issues that are, in my opinion, not being spoken about enough, and bring them into conversation through a novel, particularly the less spoken aspects of male mental health.”

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Bringing music into the book was also reflective of Dasgupta’s understanding of how younger people listen to songs more than they would perhaps read a book. “Many people my age do not spend their free time reading, but many still spend lots of time listening to music. I wanted to build a more explicit relationship between my novel and music. I decided to write and produce my own songs (that canonically are songs made by Mason’s father) and integrate them into the storyline of my novel, creating a multisensory experience.” In one sense, listening to the songs also may draw a listener into picking up the book.

On that note, tune in below to “Chosen” and “Till My Last Breath” and buy the book here.