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Premiere: Cartel Madras and GWS Team Up to ‘Stay Up All Night’

Tamil, Malayalam and English blend together from the Canadian duo and Los Angeles-based artist over beats by Bengaluru producer Dan Pearson

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Anurag Tagat Sep 25, 2020

Indo-Canadian duo Cartel Madras' Contra and Eboshi with Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist GWS (from left). Photos: Courtesy of the artists

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Shot between Los Angeles, Toronto and Calgary, sibling duo Cartel Madras and Kerala-born artist GWS aka Glen Koshy George elevate South Indian diaspora music culture to a new level with “Stay Up All Night.”

Released on Vancouver label Snakes x Ladders and also marking the launch of Cartel Madras’ media house THOTNATION, “Stay Up All Night” follows Eboshi and Contra’s previous single “Working,” which showcased a wavy, house beat production to laidback rap verses. The duo say that the change in direction from the gritty, hard-hitting trap energy of their 2019 record Age of the Goonda is reflective of “emotional and mental temperament of the times” that the globe is living amidst. They add, “There’s so much left to unpack about Cartel Madras and we wanted to begin exploring those different stories and different sounds right as 2020 began.”

Cartel Madras, who have previously worked with Kerala beatsmith Parimal Shais, chanced upon GWS as they dived further into exploring India’s hip-hop culture. “He was in a song with [Malayalam rapper] ThirumaLi called ‘Kottayam Duke’ [2019] and it was just so fresh and innovative. Top notch production, lit songwriting, we sort of knew right away that GWS was going to grow into something big,” the duo adds. 

The new song is produced by Bengaluru-based Dan Pearson, who has previously worked with GWS, a Malayalam-English artist currently in Los Angeles. GWS says, “For this collab in particular, all we had to do was make sure the beat was something cartel could do their magic on. Dan and I cooked up a quick demo and sent it to cartel, they hopped on it immediately and it just took off.”

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While GWS is working on two albums at the moment, Cartel Madras had a few tours canceled owing to the coronavirus pandemic. They’re still not ones to let their energies flag, however. The duo says about 2021, “Ideally, the world has something of a better grip on this mindfuck of a virus and we can reschedule in India for our tour there, go on tour with [experimental hip-hop artist] CLIPPING in the States and proceed towards total world domination.” 

Watch the video for “Stay Up All Night” below. Stream here.

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