It has been a minute since we heard from Smokey the Ghost, lately he has been spending a lot of time in the studio working on his concept album, ‘The Brahmin’ which should be out in February 2017. Smokey clocked more than 80 gigs in 2015, so seems like last year was about killing it live and 2016 has got Smokey back into music making mode.
I caught up with the former MWA member as he revealed how he is approaching this new body of work, what can one expect from the album, which producers is he working with and what sort of sound he is looking to go for. He also told me a little about what he thinks about Desi Hip-Hop scene as of now.
It is always dope catching up with the dude and this is how it went down this time :
Slyck : What is Smokey the Ghost up to these days ?
Smokey : Working on my album titled “The Brahmin”. It has taken quite some time to assemble the team that is going to be involved in the making of this album.
Although I do not have all parts of the puzzle, I’m still putting together ideas and verses. Currently, there are some beats with just a single instrument or two, stranded verses in most tracks, some of them have hooks, some of them have me mumbling and shit. It’s been very exciting for me, and since the beginning of this year, I have done some things I never did in my life.
Slyck : What is ‘The Brahmin’ all about ?
Smokey : I believe that there has not been any Indian rapper with a culturally relevant album. The recognition that I am not a Black dude or a white dude but a proud Brahmin boy from South India, I feel it is important to me. Many rappers and musicians have accents because westernisation made it cool for them to have it, I did too. The Brahmin is a concept album that will hopefully narrate my honest viewpoint as a person in the 21st Century, in comparison with the ideal values that the vedas ask us to follow.
The album in my viewpoint (exploiting the highest caste image) debates the very legitimacy of aspects like religion, caste, reservation etc etc which have affected me, guess you would have to wait to hear the rest of the story. Its probably very important to understand that SMOKEY THE GHOST itself is a larger umbrella for other personas, of which, Brahmin is the first. I plan to build henceforth.
A brahmin has always been the spreader of knowledge and wisdom in Hindu culture. Therefore, I feel more comfortable in this switch of style which is true to me.
Its not like I’m throwing a random carnatic solo or something or saying random lyrics for the fuck of it, everything is put in there for a reason, thats why its taking time.
Slyck : Who all are you featuring and who are the producers that you are working with ?
Smokey : Burning Deck & Aerate sound will play a major role, along Nikhil of N&S and many others on few tracks. I picked up the “To Pimp a butterfly” vinyl and saw the credit list Kendrick quoted. Its crazy, the amount of work put in, is intense, I wanted to do something like that too. Where we collaborate with a huge number of people and let the sound of Indian hip hop create itself.
Its never easy when ur not forcing it even a little, but the product that will come out will hopefully be interesting.
Slyck : Till when can we expect you to drop the project ?
Smokey : Hopefully this February. I won’t drop it till me and my comrades are convinced fully.
Slyck : Any upcoming videos or singles from the track ?
Smokey : Yeap, you will see a few dropping very soon. Excited.
Slyck : What do you think about Desi Hip Hop right now ? Any artists that you are feeling right now ?
Smokey : Prabh Deep is my favourite, Along with Naezy and Divine. I heard Brodha V’s new single, its fire. Desi Hip Hop is growing. I feel good and it motivates and inspires me to do better with my own music. Big props to all the rappers keeping it together, we all came from the same struggle, we didn’t have guns and bombs but we had our own kind of struggle.
Slyck : Any message for fans and followers ?
Smokey : I’m coming.