It’s been a while since we’ve had a Rage Against The Machine or a System of a Down standing tall and asking questions about society and the politics around us. Even the overt protestation style of Pussy Riot has now become an old thing. With the current environment around the world and specifically within in India, we’ve not really had any artist stand up and talk about the real ‘reality’ that surrounds all of us, not just what we are told or shown. Enter The Rolls Roy’s, a project initiated by the New Delhi based Rapper and Visual Artist Sumit Roy. Although they’ve been around for a short while, they recently came out with their debut single ‘Poorna Swaraj’ and ohh boy is it strong!
A UNIQUE SOUND
The Hip Hop scene in India has certainly been at a high for a while – with the release of ‘Gully Boy’ followed by an influx of artists with solid releases, but most of them have been following the classic structure of a Hip-Hop artist/Rapper i.e. a DJ playing the track with the artist up front spitting bars. The Rolls Roy’s are changing that. There is no DJ or backing tracks – but an entire 7 piece ensemble. This band concept behind Hip-Hop is something that has been spearheaded by International Artists such as Anderson Paak. and Kendrick Lamar (with To Pimp A Butterfly) but it isn’t popular in India. DIVINE has started touring with a band, but the band has not been on a studio recording as of yet. What this does is that it gives The Rolls Roy’s a unique and fresh sound in the Hip-Hop scene, making it a decisive move that is drawing listeners to this gritty, classic yet modern sound. The mix and master by Utkarsh Varma and Sidharth Gupta of the New Delhi based Electronic band Shoals makes this come across really well.
THE VISUAL IMPETUS
Not only is the song something that catches your attention, it’s the video as well. It’s astonishing that the entire video – right from the idea to the storyboarding, to shooting and editing took less than 24 hours. Talk about churning out top quality content in such a limited time. The video is a mix of visual messages in the shots supported by the insane illustration animation done by Gaurav Wakanakar and the type-LED style of Anirudh Hajare. The constant animation of key thoughts and words accompanied by subtle elements in the background, overlaid on a man rapping with a bag on his face create a powerful impact and deliver the message with undeniable force.
A STRONG POLITICAL MESSAGE
At it’s core, the song talks about the attack on the Freedom of Speech amongst other things in the country and tries to explain the importance of such Speech through it’s lyrics – why should you be afraid of talking or writing about something that is guaranteed to you by the Constitution of our country? This is only spearheaded by the partnership with Kunal Kamra and Peeing Human. It’s great to see that Political commenters in the country are taking notice to such content and promoting it on their platforms. This only shows further that the message behind the song is important and is catching the attention of the right people. And at the end of it all, with a catchy hook and groovy bassline, Poorna Swaraj is a song meant to stir your thoughts. What does the future of our country look like with our current leaders? What does the current state of our country tell us about our future leaders? How does the current affect the future and the future affect the current? And most importantly, how freely can you voice the answers to these questions? You can hold your own thoughts and opinions – but that’s the point of it all. Say what you want to say, challenge what you want to challenge. Ask the questions that need to be asked.