LITTLE KID, BIG DREAMS

Azadi is on fire! Literally. If Tienas’ debut album wasn’t enough last week (read our review here) this time we have another boy wonder coming in with the dutty tunes. Ahmer, a relatively newer artist on Azadi records just came out with his debut album titled ‘Little Kid, Big Dreams’. A boy from Kashmir who made his way to Delhi, Ahmer is certainly out to make a solid stance in the Indian Hip-Hop circuit and guess what? I think he will.

AHMER x SEZ

If you know what Sez On the Beat (Sajeel Kapoor) does, you’ll have a general idea of what this record sounds like. With his previous works with Prabh Deep and Seedhe Maut, Sez brought a unique, interesting sound to Indian Hip-Hop. This album with Ahmer seems like the perfect blend of both those styles. When it comes together with Ahmer’s absolutely insane phrasing and flow, it sounds like a completely different monster. Like any other album Sez has worked on, it sounds like there was some serious teamwork on this – both of them get each other and it’s more than evident. As far as that goes, I can go into the nitty gritties of the songs but I don’t think it’s important. It’s as simple as this – this record is how they say in the London East End, ‘ARD. Ranveer Singh might proclaim that there’s no one as hard as him, but he’s clearly wrong. There isn’t one second on the record where there is any let down from Ahmer. It’s also interesting to see Sez go further with his vocal production and experiment with some stereo vocal effects. The inclusion of more instruments – especially acoustic instruments (which are probably samples) is certainly welcome. It blends wonderfully with Sez’ modern day interpretation of classic J Dilla type beats that filled with Jazz sounds, really gets you going. He only has another feature on this album courtesy Prabh Deep and although he’s been releasing much more Anderson Paak. type songs recently, it’s nice to see Prabh Deep back to his natural game. ELAAN is an absolute machine of a song.

A STRONG MESSAGE

Not only does the album sound good, it only gets better because of what’s being talked about. Ahmer’s writing diversity on this album is really nice to see. Although you might feel that a lot is being talked about in a comparatively shorter time period, it does leave an impression on you. In a time in India where the question of absolute free speech is a scary concern, Ahmer is not shy talking about where he comes from and the issues he had to go through in a place like Kashmir. The track ‘Roushan (Skit)’ featuring MC Kash really tells about the absurd conditions in Kashmir and it really gets to you. The message is strong and it’s in your face, and the music goes hand in hand with that. This is what Azadi Records Co-Founder Uday Kapoor had to say,

“Ahmer’s album marks a significant point in Azadi Records’ journey. When ew set out our goal for the kind fo stories we wanted to tell, Kashmir was at the top of our list. Having worked with the Repeal AFSPA movement in college and having heard the kind of obstacles artists such as MC Kash faced while trying to speak out, it was paramount that we as a label helped younger artists over there.”

In the song ‘Uncle’, Ahmer talks about his real Uncle to lost his life in the insurgency and he beautifully imagines Kashmir in the light of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, which in his own words he calls “the Kashmiri translation of Macbeth.” Essentially, if you’re expecting a fun loving hip-hop record, you’re wrong. But if you’re ready to strap yourself in for a half an journey of introspection and solid political art, you’re in for a slobber knocker.

WORKING THROUGH DIFFERENT IDEAS

Sez mentioned that Ahmer was initially keen on rapping mostly in English in the track ‘Galat’ and that he pushed him to incorporate more Kashmiri into the song. That was a smart decision as the small use of English lyrics here and there really give them an extra ‘oomph’ factor, whereas the wordplay between Hindi, Urdu and then a bit of English really creates a unique perspective on the way you interpret the songs. There are some English ad libs that could have been done away with, but other than that – it’s probably the first record to my ears where both Hindi and English lyrics from a rapper work and gel together. That is rare. The album in the way it’s structured is also like that. The title track ‘Sifar’ is an introduction to the world of Ahmer, and it slowly develops and plateaus on the title track ‘Little Kid, Big Dreams’. But I would say this record goes further. This record shows that Ahmer is really not little anymore. I’m sure he still has big dreams, but his a big boy now. At least he sounds like one. This album is a solid 8.5/10.

You can listen to it here

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