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Hear New Delhi Rapper Naveen’s Timely Takedown of Current Affairs on New EP

The four tracks on ‘Mudda Kya Hai?’ pair clever sampling and nimble beats with unsparing bars

Anurag Tagat Dec 18, 2020

New Delhi rapper and lyricist Naveen Koomar. Photo: Ronick Buwadi

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It’s been a year to the day that New Delhi was in turmoil, with citizens taking to the streets to clash with police forces in different parts of the capital. A year on, a sense of unrest and unhappiness with the central government continues in a different form, but rapper Naveen Koomar doesn’t want anyone to forget everything that’s transpired. 

On his new three-track EP Mudda Kya Hai? (“What’s the issue?”), the rapper is enraged and sharing a collective sense of helplessness about corruption on many fronts — questionable T.V. news debates, frivolous Indian pop culture phenomenons and callous people in power. Ask Koomar if he feels he’s honed in on a very specific time period and he says it’s an important phase that stands to be documented. He adds about the tracks, “‘Kab Tak Sahengey’ talks about casteism which has been existing for centuries. Likewise, ‘Ranjha’ talks about the India we romanticize as kids, and the India now. So 20 to 30 years from now if this music inspires even a single kid to speak up or stand for their rights, my EP has done its job.” 

Watch the video for “Ranjha” ft. Harjot Kaur below.

In his sneering delivery, Koomar shines best on the Vedang Deshpande-produced title song, which is infused with rock riffs and a catchy hook. “Vedang always brings out that Indianized element in his productions and that’s what excites me to work with him […] I plan to do more genre blending hip-hop in the near future. Some rap-rock, jazz-rock kinda thing,” Koomar adds.

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Released in a piecemeal fashion, “Kab Tak Sahengey” received a shoutout from composer-singer and electro-rock frontrunners Pentagram’s Vishal Dadlani but then there was more. Koomar says, “There are messages saying, ‘I live in a village in a certain area down south, where caste exists blatantly. Your song gives me the courage to stay strong and fight.’ This was a school going boy. This is actually a positive takeaway for me.” 

There are more experiments on the sonic front now that Mudda Kya Hai? is out, with Koomar musing about “opera-inspired rap tracks or a completely metal rendition of something old.” He adds, “2021 will also see a lot of lo-fi coming out from my side. I’m beginning the year with a music video for ‘Kho Gaya,’ which is a lo-fi track in collaboration with [New Delhi/Boston vocalist] Agney Mulay from the Berklee Indian ensemble.” 

Stream ‘Mudda Hai Kya?’ below. 

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