Sikander Kahlon has just released his eleventh studio album – Mikhail. However, he could sound like a new name to you. While hip-hop in India is still struggling for recognition, he has earned his reputation years ago. Sikander got his co-sign from Manj Musik back in 2015. Sikander has done Gucci Dress for the movie Jaane Kyun De Yaaron. His last Bollywood release was F for Fyaar from Manmarziyan.
Mikhail: The Singles
Sikander has always been dropping more albums/mixtapes instead of singles. Mikhail is a work of art. The album has 18 songs and three bonus tracks. First single that came out before the album dropped was 2019 Flow. Sikander remixed 2015 Flow by American rapper YG back in 2015. He named it 2015 Flow as well. Since then, he has always used the same melody differently every year to drop a new version of 2015 Flow.
Do Not Disturb (DND) was the second single that came out. The track was hardcore in terms of lyricism. Third single that came out was Joseph Stalin. The track is named after a controversial Soviet leader & Sikander has used him as a metaphor. Alone was the fourth single from Mikhail. Kahlon joined hands with Queen Desi Ma and created this Dance-hall/pop song. The album came out on August 15, 2019.
Mikhail: Features & The Sound
Fateh and Roach Kill are the biggest features on this project. Fateh has cemented his position as a hardcore Punjabi/English rapper over the years. He is Punjabi music producer Dr Zeus’ go-to rapper on his commercial music. On the other hand, Roach Killa is one of the oldest rappers in the Indian hip-hop scene. He switches between Rasta vocals, core hip-hop & pop rap frequently. Sikander has collaborated with him in the past as well.
Another surprise feature came with Mansheel Gujral. She has been featured on Yo! Yo! Honey Singh‘s album Desi Kalakaar in the past. Queen Desi Ma & BlitzKreig are another guests on the album. Abeer Arora is versatile when it comes to singing. He has released a lot of music already and his feature has created one of the best songs on Mikhail.
Basically, Mikhail has a very diversified sound. The album has samples of signature dialogues from different TV shows and movies. Dialogues from Peaky Blinders, The Scarface, The Untouchables and others are easily recognizable. The album has samples from Tupac & Dru Down as well. Furthermore, the album covers both boom-bap & trap hip-hop through a majority of songs. Similarly, DND brings the UK Drill sound to the front. Songs like Holi Holi, Alone, brings out the R&B side of Sikander.
Andy Grewal is a long-time collaborator of Sikander Kahlon. He is a part of Toronto-based electronic duo Bearded Bandits. In fact, Andy has produced a total of 11 songs out of 21 tracks on Mikhail. That is almost half of the album. Andy has a variety of sound under his palette. This has helped in shaping Mikhail significantly. His sampling skills are magnificent on this album.
JHayer is another producer on the album. Sikander has worked with him in the past but on selected tracks. Every beat that he produces creates banger. He has produced 4 tracks on Mikhail. Holi Holi is the most different one. JHayer has used Abeer’s vocals as an instrument on the beat and the rest of it is just drums & 808s. Just like JHayer & Andy Grewal, Harm Sandhu is also from Canada. Harm has produced 3 songs on the album. Each beat by Harm is either based on sampling or has used one for this project. New-Zealand based Sound Shikari has produced two tracks & England-based Manni Sandhu has produced Joseph Stalin on Mikhail.