Even as one manages to assemble the entire lot in the same room, they remain an excited bunch. A day ahead of the release of their debut album Hiphop Tamizhan, everything about the members of city-based Tamil hiphop crew Hiphop Tamizha is excessively dramatic. As they speak about their newest eight tracks that figure in the album, they insist that they be listened to in one go.
“All eight songs are connected,” explains frontman Adhi, the founder of the crew. “Right from the intro – a skit, which is very uncommon for a regular album – there is a connection. The album first talks about the Tamil tradition and why we should be proud of the language,” begins Adhi, “It then explains how we’ve come to be ashamed of being Tamilian.” That’s where Clubule Mabbule, their song that went viral world over, comes into the picture. They did lose some fans after the song for being sexist, as some aggressive fans chose to put it, but the boys clarify, almost in unison. “We do like girls,” they grin. Adhi takes over, “Our reply to all that is the song Senthamizh Penne. It talks about the kind of girls we like.” And when there is love, there is obviously heartbreak, which is the next aspect of their album.
The next track on the CD — Iraiva — talks about how love is not the end of life. “Two people might really be in love, but because of things like caste, they might not be able to be together. This, we feel, is because of lack of education and awareness,” Adhi introduces their song Karpom Karpippom, dedicated to education. “And then there is us, our Hiphop Tamizha track – Hey do what I say.” The album has tried to include all five elements of hiphop — graffiti, B-Boying, beatboxing, MCing and DJing.
Adhi sums it up, “When you listen to our CD, say in a car, it will be like you’ve watched a movie – a real good, inspirational movie. You’ll be a changed person, a revolutionary.” Neil, the instrumentalist, manages to get a word in, “But it shouldn’t be a 10-minute car ride. To listen to the entire album, you’ll need 40 minutes.”
Crew members Jeeva, Siraj, Fenny and Bharadwaj aka BBB, don’t talk too much, but readily agree with everything Adhi says.
Releasing a CD when free downloads are available on the Internet is a huge risk, but someone needs to take the first step and give independent artistes a new lease of life, Adhi says, and the rest of them immediately nod. “You need to give your fans a reason to buy your CD,” says Jeeva.
This is why they have what they call fan cards in each CD. “It will give fans access to exclusive hiphop material, including videos, new tracks and discounts on merchandise,” adds Jeeva.
“Be the change for the change,” says Neil. “August 15 will also be the Independence Day for independent artistes,” Adhi confidently adds.
Hiphop Tamizha is releasing their album Hiphop Tamizhan, in association with international brand Remy Martin Hiphop, on August 14 with a concert at Sathyam Cinemas at 9 am. Entry is free for all.