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Yashraj Teams Up with Karan Kanchan and Dropped Out For Fiery New Single ‘Raakh’

The Mumbai hip-hop artist, known for his chill, breezy songs, gets heavy and intense like never before

Anurag Tagat Nov 15, 2021

(From left) Karan Kanchan, Yashraj Mehra and Dropped Out come together for "Raakh." Photo: Courtesy of the artists

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Yashraj Mehra has a reputation for delivering affable and openhearted rap with his material over the last two years, but he lets loose to shatter that preconceived notion on his latest single “Raakh.”

Teaming up with go-to producer Dropped Out aka Rishi Thakker, the topsy-turvy bass-heavy track also got a shot of adrenaline with beatsmith Karan Kanchan co-producing. Kanchan goes back to his bass roots after a while, teaming up for his first collaboration with both, Dropped Out and Yashraj. “It was fun coming together and jamming on this one. This one is for the headbangers,” Kanchan said in his statement.

Where 20-year-old Yashraj has usually been playful and shown off his resolute flow on tracks like “Galat/Sahi,” “Hausla” and “Azaad Hu Mein,” he was also tapped by electronic/pop artist Zaeden (“kho gaya”) as well as Lost Stories (on remixes, plus “Fire In Me”) for songs which catapulted him to wider listenership. But by the rapper’s own estimate, the angstier side was a long time coming, as heard on “Raakh.”

Yashraj raps about the “selective manipulation of individuals in the country, by those in power.” He adds, “Like the energy of the track, there was a lot of pent-up energy that was going to come out. There were a lot of things I wanted to say and say in a certain way.” There are references to death on newspaper frontpages as well as government incompetence, foretelling the anger of the public that can arise from quelling free expression.

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The hip-hop artist’s only precedent to this sort of mood on a track was his song “Khel,” but he doubles down on “Raakh” with bubbling frustration going over dizzying, aggro dubstep production from Dropped Out and Kanchan. The track came about at around 3 am one night, right after Dropped Out and Yashraj had finished a prior track. “I remember telling Dropped Out that there is so much I want to say and put out in an aggressive way. So the first draft emerged at Rishi’s place at that time. I remember around 4:30 I was screaming on the mic and Rishi was like, ‘Bro thoda aaram se, maa-baap so rahe hai.’ (a little gently, my parents are asleep),” the rapper says with a laugh.

Then, the duo even sent Kanchan the track and tried his number in the wee hours, thinking he’d pick up.  “Then he woke up to that and loved the idea, so that’s how we came together. The energy that the first draft gave out was so vintage Dropped Out… he used to make dubstep. Karan still is one of the best producers in the country and this was his soul. We knew that there was no one else we wanted to feature on this, we needed Karan,” Yashraj says.

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The single is accompanied by a music video that channels the rage of the trio, plus an additional cameo from Mumbai rapper D’Evil. Yashraj recalls they shot some of the live footage at Kanchan’s co-founded gig series NeckWreck in Mumbai. Sore necks and backs notwithstanding, the trio brought their angst to the video shot by Bhagyesh Rajeshirke and Siddharth Ahuja and directed by Yashraj. “Everybody showed up and put all their energy into it,” the rapper adds. 

Watch the video for “Raakh” below. Stream the song here.

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