Recently, the Indian hip hop scene has been dominated by gully rappers like Divine and Naezy who sing in Indian and other regional language and brokeout probably two years ago. They gave us ‘gully rap’, which was their gritty, street-style-laced Indian offering. Then comes Tienas a.k.a. Tanmay Saxena, who most reckon is the finest producer/rapper to emerge out of the underground hip hop scene in Mumbai. A 22-year-old musician by Azadi Records—the record label behind hip hop star, Prabh Deep. He rhymes in English and his music is pretty different from the Mumbai rap prevalent now.
All my songs are experience based, about a situation or instance...incisive tracks about complex matter like consumerism and depression. ‘They are immensely dark and personal,’ he tells me. Indeed he is different from the peer rappers despite the heavy influence of Eminem, whose film called 8 Mile flipped Tanmay’s life around. ‘I dropped out of school at 15 because I Loved football. But after that I stopped playing that as well. After watching the film, I got a lot of confidence in life.’ He started dressing like his idol, got an identical hair cut. Coined Tienas that comes from how Eminem is a homonym for the American Rapper’s real name Marshall Mathers.
A pretty good wordsmith, his lyrics expertly navigate between the personal and the political. And his skills on the mic are even more impressive—given that he was born with a speech impediment. ‘It’s the rhythm that helps me. Nothing else. There is no magic here of God’s plan. It’s just the rhythm that keeps me going.’ The rapper’s debut mixtape that was released recently is called Unavailable and includes hard-hitting club numbers and even a couple of tracks with Drak-esque choruses. He is due for a full length album later this year.
TEXT Hansika Lohani Mehtani