Hyderabad-based beatboxer Yung.Raj gives us a sneak peek into his upcoming album, Knoxxville
THE PANDEMIC MAY have put a damper on live gigs, but that hasn’t stopped independent artistes from making new and exciting music. “It feels like forever since I lastplayed on stage and in front of a real crowd,” laments beatboxer Raj Verma, adding, “Gigs were our primary income, but now we are creating more content.” As Yung.Raj, the musician boasts a prolific body of work. With over 100 songs on SoundCloud already, the Hyderabad-based artiste is now all geared up for his latest offering — an EP called Knoxxville, expected to release at the end of the month. Pondering on questions of time and everyday life, the EP brings together intricate syncopation, acid basslines and lo-fi programming.
Raj started beatboxing over a decade ago and taught himself the skill by watching videos online. It took three months of learning justthe basics, before he could experiment with sounds. Now, the artiste has a home studio where he makes and records his music and under his belt he has the beat tape, Covfefe, and albums such as Laced Loops and Recovery Package.
The genres that Raj grew up with range from footwork and jungle, to dubstep, trap, and of course hip-hop. “They’ve all had a big impact and influence on my music and continue to do so,” he tells us. The six-track album is textural and percussive. The slow build up on the first track, Who Really Cares, hooks you in for the more fast-paced mid section. “Who Really Cares is about just going and doing what’s on your mind, instead of spending too much time thinking about it,” Raj says. Another track, This Too Shall Pass, is a more introspective number and asks listeners to hang in there and keep it together through the ups and downs of life. Existential Bread, a wordplay on existential dread, tackles exactly that subject. “But ultimately, it’s best left to the listener to interpret what they want from these tracks,” adds Raj.
Knoxxville also features some notable collaborations. For the track Time, Raj has roped in London-based producer Jammz. The 29-year-old is the poster child for UK g rime and has produced albums such as Free Up The Riddims and Warrior. The song Who Really Cares features Nate08. “Nate08 is a good friend, and we’d often jam and make beats whenever I was in Mumbai for gigs. The song was the result of us sitting in one room and just letting ideas flow,” Raj says.
The album will be releasedunder the new record label 4NC¥. The label was started by Pav4n, a founding member of hip-hop act Foreign Beggars. The label aims to promote young artistes from the hip-hop, trap, grime and future circuits. “It’s been wonderful working with the folks at 4NC¥. They’re always on point and knowwhat they’re doing. I’m super stoked about the release and look forward to working with them in
future as well,” Raj signs off.
Available on August 28, on online streaming platforms