Poetik Justis‘ long awaited debut mixtape, “Lifelines” is finally out! We have seen this cat develop rapidly, from being just one of the many out there with a pen and a pad and a dream, to being a force to fear in the Indian underground hip hop circuit.
Starting off with the tape, the promo track from it, “Underground King” had every man, woman and child, who had followed this cat through his career, perk up their ears to the fresh new sound he was making. And when i say sound, i don’t mean the jarring noise, and the messed up mix downs we see everyday up in our facebook walls, but something genuine, classy, and top notch in terms of technicality. Poetik Justis sure knows what he is doing.
What followed was exactly what one would expect of a guy who rolls with one of the best crews in the Mumbai underground. With tracks like “Monster”, featuring his crew, M.O.B-Minds of Beasts, and Covers of popular songs like “Coming Home”, and Lighters, Poetik has put the message up in waveforms loud enough.. HE is here to stay.
The Artists he has collaborated with, Brassic Bhai, Sandman, Dro Pesci, Trae Carter and Big Deal, all upcoming names in the Desi and international underground, have put in as much into this tape, as Justis himself would have. As Poetik himself said in one of his songs, he is here not to be just another ripple in the pond, but to start a movement.
EarthGrime caught on to this cat from Mumbai, in an exclusive interview, trying to get his side of the story. About Lifelines, about his life in Mumbai, about his crew, and all things Poetik Justis is a part of.
Egrime: So, Poetik, Lifelines is finally getting the attention it deserves, not something to be surprised over, considering how many months its been in the making. So, what do you think about the initial crowd reaction?
Poetik: To boil it down in One word, AMAZING. Its really awesome to see the people come listen to My mixtape and to get a really great response
Egrime: Ha Ha True that. 300 downloads already, and counting. I am glad to see that things are working out well for you.
Now talking about the tracks, especially“Underground King” which was the best Poetik justis number we have heard so far. You spoke of everything you are in this one, your struggles as a newbie, the long journey from being one of the many text battlers in the underground, to making a name of your own in the desi hip hop circuit. Can you tell us some more of the song?
Poetik: Well, Underground King is basically a rundown of everything Ive done being in the game as of yet, Ive talked about my initial days being a text battler, then switching on to Music and freestyling, I used to hold conference calls with local MC’s from mumbai and we used to cypher for hours on end, so basically thats what the song describes
Egrime: And what a way to describe it! That song alone made the entire mixtape worth the wait.
Talking about the mixtape, The Artists you have collaborated with on lifelines, all promising and well-established names in the underground, including artists from overseas, who made this tape all the more worth listening to. Tell us about them. How did you feel, being able to make music with them, people i believe, you looked up to back in the day?
Poetik: Well yeah, At first it was all doubtful, but I gave My time and devotion to the music and I put in rappers who I thought best would fill in the essential variety of the tape so to speak, I remember listening and bumpin Sandmans “Grown Up Loser” back in the Insignia mixtape, and to get him as well as Bigdeal and Dro Pesci [Who recently collaborated with Joell Ortiz] on Sound Off was really a good experience, and also, Brassic Bhai whos been a mentor to Me since Insignia is also on it so its all good.
Egrime: Indeed it is. Every other artist featured in the tape is serious about their work, and it must mean a lot to be the kind of emcee they would love to work with. And being able to collaborate with the guy who showed you the ropes at rapping must have been an awesome experience.
Something off the record (Well, not really!!) What do you think of the state of the Underground at the moment? What scope is there for a beginner in this music genre and culture in our country? Way i see it, hip hop still hasn’t hit the radio, or even the streets too much, for that matter. We have a long way to go, but do you have any ideas about how we are going to get there, you, as well as all of the rest?
Poetik: Well, I think the Indian underground Hip Hop scene is gradually growing to new levels, if not at a FAST pace, then at a good enough pace, for the beginners Id tell them to keep doing what they do, explore their weaknesses, experiment with their strengths and most of all just enjoy the Music and what you do for it, I see trains in Mumbai with graffiti drawn on em I see the development, it may take us 5-10 years but without a doubt We are expanding.
Egrime: Well, we will have something to show our children then i hope. Something of a legacy to leave behind as one of the first practitioners of the art .
Coming to your crew, Minds Of Beasts. Tell us about them. From what we have seen so far, every other man in the crew is an ill rhymer; talented emcees in their own respect. How does it feel to be able to roll with them, and make music with them?
Poetik: Everyone in the crew is Uniquely talented, PLUS we have a new member comin so stay tuned, It feels great to be in a crew with so much variety, and love us or hate us, you cant break Us. You can expect more from us hitting your speakers Real soon
Egrime: Another M.O.B member? Thanks for the early warning. We will be watching out for the new member in earnest, and all the new music.
Coming back. There’s a lot of stupidity being flushed down the sewers of cyberspace. Beef between artists who haven’t even seen each other in real life, the race to get the most likes and shares on their bandpage, It goes on and on. What do you think about all that? Do you think we can rely simply on the following we have on the internet to get our music across to the people?
Poetik: Well as long as internet publicity is concerned I gotta say it HAS been a boon to an artist no doubt, bridging the gap between artists, but People have taken advantage of the fact and due to that, the originality of an artist is kinda diminished seeing that there isnt a two-way connection between the artist and the fans, you wanna prove you a talented artist and all that you say you are?, go out, perform, and let us know. Nuff said.
Egrime: True words, hit the speakers and the stage, or go home. I hope people would follow that advice now, more than ever. Its so sad, its almost tragic, the way artists who dont even have a single song come begging for likes on their page.
People have been on the watch out for you ever since the days you reinvented yourself as Poetik justis, and came out with seminal tracks like your cover of power, and your lyrical version of Shadows, and you have never been one to disappoint them. So what’s in store for Poetik justis in the future? What should we be looking out for from you now?
Poetik: Well, I think Ive done a whole lotta covers and after Lifelines is on a roll, Im ready to start with more original production, maybe another mixtape and then an EP, maybe even some beats in the future, but certainly without a doubt, Quality Music. Everytime.
From re-inventing yourself into an emcee of formidable talent from text battling, and finally into production. Now this is the kind of career graph any and all emcees in the underground should be daring enough to try. Thank you so much for this interview Poetik! An eye opener indeed. I am glad to see that music that matters will finally be hitting out speakers! Peace.
Poetik: Thanks To YOU and DesiHipHop, One Love Peace fam