Hip-Hop has cemented its mark in the Indian Music Scene. There’s no doubt about that – but that obviously has been a specific kind of sound. Artists like Prabh Deep, Seedhe Maut and Divine have created a unique ‘Indian’ sound that is resonating with a lot of folks around the country, but there’s been something missing in the whole crossover area between Hip-Hop/Rap and RnB. Enter Tienas. Another Azadi Records alum, his new album ‘O’ released on the 28th of June and ohh boy is it something I’ve been missing in the Independent Hip-Hop scene in India. With a variety of collaborations including Prabh Deep, Shiloh Dynasty, Quest, Seedhe Maut , Sez on the Beat and FTS, the album showcases the wide umbrella under which Tienas functions.
AN AMALGAMATION OF STYLES
The most striking feature of this album is the array of styles and sub-genres Tienas plays with. There is something in this record for every Hip-Hop fan: with the more classic Hip-Hop style opener Cyclone feat. Prabh Deep and Shiloh Dynasty, to the Weeknd type RnB vibes in the songs Dangerous, to surprising tape scratches, cassette stops and full on distorted vocals on tracks such as Peace of Mind, reminiscent of the late XXXTentacion. The first half of the record is quite interesting as Tienas experiments a lot with vocal effects, putting more focus on the featuring artists rather than his voice itself. It’s only when we reach 10 – 18 where we probably hear Tienas sing his effortlessly flawless flow. The song could easily be on a Brainfeeder Compilation record. The intensive use of Jazz and Electronic samples and tracks, meddled together with the modern production and bite gives it a really expansive vibe. This does not however, distract from the overall sound of the album.
SHORT & CONCISE
It might be cliched nowadays to write short songs just to ensure that people still keep paying attention, but the way Tienas’ tracks are structured on ‘O’ are very well done. There’s no song that exceeds the limit of 4 minutes (except for the last song that runs for 7 minutes – but could easily be three different songs) but that’s just not it, all the songs sound very complete and thought out. It doesn’t feel like any song is short or long. Every song gets the point across and transitions from one to the other seamlessly. ‘Of Queens and Kings Approximately’ starts the mellow decline of the record into it’s end. It’s certainly a roller coaster of a record but it’s a roller coaster that showcases solid songwriting.
A STRONG DEBUT EFFORT
The biggest takeaway from the album is it’s whole construction. I think this is the first Indian Hip-Hop record that really has an international sound – right from the style of production, to the song structures, to the subject matters. Whilst that might alienate some of the underground Hip-Hop songs, it’ll certainly grab the attention of a lot of new fans that might not have previously been deep into the Independent Hip-Hop scene but appreciate Rap and International Hip-Hop. Not much attention is paid to the entire package that ultimately goes out and its clear that Tienas and the people working with him have really honed in on every single aspect and showcased it exactly the way they want it to. It seems like a record that he is happy with, irrespective of what people might think when its eventually out. That being said, I highly recommend people check this out when it comes out because as I said earlier, there’s something for everyone in this record. This record is a solid 7.5/10.