Sanju Jaison, popular by his stage name San Jaimt, has contributed significantly in popularising ‘Malayalam rap’ among music aficionados in South India. Starting with ‘We’re sorry’, his debut independent single in 2013, to tracks in his latest album ‘Munvidhi’, Sanju has awed his listeners over the years. His latest single ‘Veendeduppu’, was released on YouTube on Saturday, is already garnering rave reviews for addressing mental health issues.
“The song talks about breaking free from the shackles of certain negative thoughts that many fall victim to; a person’s determination to fight depression and get out of it. It is my way of expressing that idea through a song in a cinematic way,” says Dubai-based Sanju.The hip hop artist believes that the ‘depression’ and other mental health afflictions need to be addressed in a serious manner. “I have gone through depression and struggled a lot to get out of it. I wanted to express my victory through a song and that’s how I wrote my first Malayalam rap song ‘Thee’. This was also the genesis for my second album ‘Munvidhi’. Depression is very underrated in India, many still don’t know how seriously it affects our state of mind. As an artist, I wanted to help those who have been down a similar road,” adds Sanju.
‘Veendeduppu’ is the sixth song in ‘Munvidhi’. The fifth song ‘Changala’ was released two weeks ago and has received around 68,000 views on YouTube. “I’m personally getting a lot of messages from many people saying they were able to relate to the song and that it has inspired them to fight back. The purpose of being an artist is fulfilled if your music has a positive impact on those who need help,” says Sanju.
The shoot for ‘Veendeduppu’ was challenging due to Covid-19 lockdown in Dubai. “The idea was to create an intense dark mood, hence we shot the video indoors. However, it was a new learning experience as we had limited resources.” The rapper, however, adds that the lockdown helped in polishing his creativity and thought process in making better music. “Being at home, I had the opportunity to explore different aspects of music. Learning, writing lyrics and brainstorming have been a major part of my daily routine.”
Sanju, who was introduced to playback singing by music director Alphons Joseph, has sung for movies like ‘ABCD’, ‘Koothara’, and ‘Mr Fraud’. “I’m open to playback singing. However, being an independent artist will always be my priority.” He has also completed working on the music direction of ‘Pill’, an upcoming Malayalam sci-fi thriller web series directed by Harish Chandran under Idiot Box Productions. “Also, a couple of solo projects are in the pipeline and a collaboration track with another Malayalam rap artist ‘Rzee Purplehaze’ is in progress.”
Though his rap songs are quite popular among music buffs across the country, Sanju believes Malayalam hip hop music is still underrated. “Even though there are a lot of artists coming with singles and albums back to back, still we are not getting the leverage and recognition rap deserves. Rapping is all about picking up the right word, creating your own unique flow. You have to keep on experimenting. When it comes to Malayalam rap, reading and researching is the only way you could pick up the right words. Whatever you do is pretty much new because there has never been a big hip hop scene in Kerala. It’s all about trial and error, you will eventually get to somewhere unique and your music instincts will tell you ‘there it is, sounds good, think we are good to go’. That’s how I do it.”