It may have been a minute since we saw rapper Srushti Tawade appear on our endless scrolls of reels on Instagram, singing mein nahi toh kaun bey? with her trademark swagger. But the star has been busy dropping hit after hit in the form of ecstatic singles, on various streaming platforms. The viral sensation has now released her latest single Breakfast Over Bae and the internet cannot stop talking about it. Having procured over 1.5 million views on YouTube, the music video has stirred up a fresh new take on dealing with break-ups and the role that food plays in heartbreaks. We also cannot help but gush over an exclusive scoop that the rapper gives us about her debut album which is set for release this month. As we sit down with the artiste and talk about this fantastic single with vibrant and quirky imagery presented in its music video, we also learn about her approach to creating songs, her experiences on MTV’s Hustle 2.0, and more. For Srushti, the general understanding of the subjects she presents in her song, along with her sense of humour reflects the most unique feature an artiste possesses within the hip-hop genre. Sharing insight on how she views rap, she says, “In whichever form I can put across my thoughts directly, that ends up becoming rap,” She adds, “Rap does not ask for a lot of romanticism. You can literally rap the way you speak,” while agreeing to the immense role that practice plays in perfecting the art.
Talking about her newest single, Srushti says, “Breakfast Over Bae might sound like a very childish and fun break-up song, but my initial idea behind the song was to create something that has not been explored much in the genre, at least by me.” She adds by highlighting that most artistes that she knows have not “delved into the quality of writing around break-up” as has been carried out by her. Subsequently, she reflects on her belief that “the work of an artiste is to simplify what is complicated,” hence avoiding the popular opinion of using too many words to explain a simple point. Thus, with a vibrant and upbeat score and a power-packed performance, the song has quite evidently struck a chord with the audience, as it continues to rope in the much-deserved appreciation and support. Srushti also elucidates further on the personal and ‘universal’ observations she has carried out in the song. “I have always heard people say that food is the solution to whatever sadness they’re feeling — khana khaliya? Ab apne aap sab theek hojayega (Have you eaten? Now everything will get better by itself),” she says. This belief seems to have turned into a reality for Srushti. “It makes a lot of sense to me as well because that’s usually how it has been with me,” she laughs. In addition, she reveals that many around her have carried a similar belief, hence creating more reasons to factor in such an approach to dealing with break-ups in her song. “Nobody has touched this subject in this way before,” she highlights. When asked about her general process of approaching the creation of songs, she explains, “There is no one specific way of approaching a song. It’s more about the mood I’m trying to create with the song and me trying to live in that mood for a while and consequently, the words naturally coming to me.”
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Srushti reveals the pleasant experiences she encountered during her time as a contestant on Hustle 2.0. “Everything was working in my favour throughout the show as I was putting in my best effort, not really caring about what has already been done. I was not trying to focus on what would work in general, but more on what works for me,” she expresses. Srushti also shares that her contentment with the show was due to its nature of being naturally flowing, nonscripted and “very easy going”. Calling the people associated with the show “very creative, original and real”, she tells us that the three months on that show went by breezily. Talking about her stay at a hotel with the other contestants she mentions, “We were so much like a family that koi bhi, kisi ke bhi room mein hota tha, aur hum raatbhar jaagke freestyle kar rahe the (anyone would be in anyone else’s room and we used to rap freestyle the entire night) and we just enjoyed those three months; it was not a competition at all. It was like living with friends.” Srushti further says that it was only after she left the show that she realised who would stick around with her, calling them “my people”. She highlights that they have also tried to help and guide her in any way possible. “The show has given me only positive things to remember,” she reminisces. She also reflects on the support that she received from the mentors and judges including rapper Badshah, and the four ‘quad bosses’ — King, EPR, Dino James, and Dee MC.
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Boht Hard, Srushti!
Srushti’s love for shayari (poetry) is not a new discovery for her fans. With her Instagram feed filled with creative writings moulded into shayari, Srushti shares with us how this form of creative expression has found its way into her songwriting process. Singling out her older song Chota Don, she says, “That song has come out of plain shayari.” She points out that practicing this literary art form, which has varied topics and emotions in its expression, has indeed enabled her to write and even perform songs on various stages with greater ease. While on the topic of performing, one of the most memorable and hard-hitting performances by Srushti remains to be that of Bachpan, which deals with the experiences of childhood trauma. Spelling out that it wasn’t a difficult experience bringing the song to the stage, Srushti mentions, “The incident is something I have been talking about forever. Everybody in my life, even before Hustle, knew about that incident. So, making a song about that incident was going one step ahead towards being vocal, even though I had already been so.” She adds yet again that “practicing being vocal” has played a major part in making it easier for her to express herself. Srushti’s most commendable advice for upcoming women rap artistes comes in the form of a thought-provoking quip, “Forget the fact that they’re calling you a female artiste.” She adds to this by shunning the gendered discussion of art. “You can only focus on the art when you stop focusing on the gender,” she says. Looking back at her career as a rap artiste, Srushti says, “It has been a journey of a lot of ups and downs, as it should be,” adding, “As long as I have something to achieve, I am happy with it.”
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While addressing the conversation around her fashion choices, Srushti says, “I prefer comfort over fashion.” She also presses on the importance of comfort while highlighting the reason to be the same for the quirky looks ‘popping out’ in the Breakfast Over Bae music video. In another revelation by the viral artiste, we discover that Srushti did not always intend to become a rap artiste. “Until I got into Hustle, I did not really call myself a rapper. I called myself a writer because I thought I am writing more than just rap songs. I was also working on other things like scripts, screenplays, dialogues, songs, and others.” She also clarifies that rap isn’t the only niche that she has picked out for herself, hereby hinting at more roles that she would want to take up in the future. “There are a lot of other hats I want to wear and I am going to,” she tells us. Talking about her inspirations, Srushti mentions three artistes — American comedian-musician Bo Burnham, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Christopher Nolan. “Apart from the format of artwork, what we essentially try to achieve through our work is quite similar,” Srushti says, adding that she is inspired by the ‘intent’ such artistes have with their work. Letting us in on her upcoming projects, Srushti says, “This month, my debut album is coming out along with a music video releasing the same day that the album debuts.” She presents the focus of the album by highlighting that the songs from the same would be “as far away as possible” from her Hustle image. “You can say that this album will let me wear one of the hats that I have wanted to wear,” she highlights. Also hinting at possibilities of future Bollywood collaborations, Srushti cleverly replies, “I am anticipating. You can anticipate as well.”
Breakfast Over Bae is now streaming on all audio platforms and the music video is streaming on YouTube.