Rapper Dino James is ready to take control of the narrative with his debut album, D

The Mumbai-based rapper drops a full-length album that he describes as angsty, spirited, and authentic

Anagha M Published :  21st June 2022 03:23 PM   |   Published :   |  21st June 2022 03:23 PM
Dino James

Dino James

Mumbai-based rapper Dino James describes his new debut album D as ‘angsty, spirited, and authentic.’ The artiste’s unique style of rap, and his raw expression of emotions have garnered him a huge fan following in India, especially tracks such as Achi Maza Aayi (with 35 million views on YouTube) and Yaadien (with a whopping 44 million views). And now with a full length album, Dino is ready to make his mark on the industry.

Released under the label Def Jam India, D has 13 tracks. “People grow, evolve and change but this new album is about not forgetting where we come from,” Dino says. Social media is already in love with Afrobeat number Pyaar Pyaar, Lost, a bittersweet breakup song and Chosen, which has a music video shot in Kerala as an ode to Dino’s motherland. In our interview, Dino talks about the album and his evolution so far:

How did the album happen?
The album is a collection of thoughts and melodies that I've developed during the journey of making it. My style is usually rhythmic rap with storytelling. Most songs were written with a vision of a music video, but I realised it's not the most convenient way. Hence the album came to fruition.

How does it feel to create a full length album of your own? And what were the challenges?
It's a beautiful journey -- it feels like the birth of a baby. You go through a roller coaster of experiences and emotions --- from being satisfied to feeling empty when the album drops because you have constantly lived your album while it's in the making. The only challenge was wishing I could do a video for all of them. But my message comes through the music, so no stress.

Do you always write lyrics based on your own personal experiences? Was it the same for this album?
Sometimes it's about me and sometimes it's about what I wanna say. It's a balance between making people dance and making people feel emotionally uplifted with my stories. 

A Vice article once called you 'India's first incel rapper.' How do you feel about that?
I don't believe in that narrative. My songs like Dooriyan and Yaadein have always been female favourites and I've had my fair share of female fans who understand what I did and show continued support. 

Of course, hip-hop in general is a very male-led genre. Rappers like Eminem influenced me heavily which led to my earlier sound, but there is nothing less than respect and admiration for all the unfathomable female energy that fuels my sound.

Is your music and new album still along the lines of 'empowering men?'
Some of my early works came from a different state of mind and hence that sound. But I believe in women empowerment more than ever and feel the world should incline towards more loving energy that women give.

So, what's next? 
A lot of new ideas, music videos, tours but also some rest. I need to find the balance before setting out on this journey. It's like a fresh start from the album dropping and hence double the enthusiasm and double the work. 

D is available on online streaming platforms