While rappers like DIVINE, Naezy, Emiway Bantai brought Mumbai ka freestyle Gully rapping to the fore, Bohemia, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Badshah, Raftaar and Badshah brought Delhi’s ‘desi swag’ in their songs. Joining their league is a budding rapper who hails from Nagpur, but has reached Dubai owing to his rapping! His name is Young Zwann and he has worked with music composer Amaal Mallik in his very first song Jung. While his want to explore and learn music did bring him to Mumbai, his rapping style grabbed international attention and landed him his next project Dubai Dreams for Young Thug Record Label (YSL). Zwann will be seen alongside Lil Duke in this upcoming song! In an exclusive interview with Music Beat, the budding rapper talks about Dubai Dreams, his debut collaboration with Amaal Mallik and his dream to make Nagpur – a hub for rap music!
For a new rapper to debut with an established composer like Amaal Malik and then collaborate with YSL Record Label’s Lil Duke, what did you eat before starting your career with such a bang?
Hahaha! Some tough lessons served to me by the Hustle and Struggle with a glass of orange juice (not to forget my hometown Nagpur)! Jokes aside, I find myself extremely grateful and life has been really kind to me so far. It's intimidating to have things to be on track at an early age but that doesn't carry any pressure as such. It only inspires me to work even harder and push the bar every time.
Let’s talk about your upcoming song ‘Dubai Dreams’ with Young Thug Record Label whose shoot you have recently completed? What’s the key highlight of the song?
Making 'Dubai Dreams' was an exciting experience. I have grown up listening to the music of Young Thug, to collaborate with his label's artist was like a dream come true moment for me. The song is an expression of my experiences in Dubai and my journey from a small beginning to international collaboration. We recently had a successful shoot in Dubai and it was quite fun to be on the sets with Duke and the team. I would also like to thank my manager, Mr.Medrock, who introduced my music to Duke and his efforts have resulted in this collaboration. We also have 88 Camino, one half of the Canadian rap duo 88 Glam in the video. Our producer Vilabeatz and songwriter - The Blackmen were also present on the shoot. It was quite an experience to be surrounded by such an efficient team.
How was your experience of working with Lil Duke on ‘Dubai Dreams’? Any key takeaways?
It was a great experience to associate with Lil Duke. There is so much to learn from him. We spoke about rap, music, poetry and his admiration for India. In the limited time that we met, I was grasping Lil Duke’s flow, passion for music and his presence inspired me to be on my toes and deliver my best shot.
Let’s talk about your debut song ‘Jung’ with Amaal Mallik. How did the project land in your kitty?
I have been staying in Mumbai since I was 16. I was meeting a lot of rappers and musicians in the city and hustling my way around. I happened to meet Amaal, and made him listen to my tracks and it was really kind of him that he agreed to be a part of my debut track. As a budding artist, there was a lot to learn from him, some lessons I made part of my music-making process.
If we compare Jung and Dubai Dreams, how differently did you rap for each?
I think Dubai Dreams is a step forward from Jung. While Jung is about my journey from Nagpur into the music scene, Dubai Dreams is about my journey into the international scene. I hope people like and appreciate DD as much as they have loved Jung.
When it comes to rapping, did you always wanted to become a rapper? Who has been your inspiration?
Yes! I always wanted to be a rapper, I have always been inspired by Tupac, Drake and every rap artist with an honest sound.
Have you trained with any rapper or learnt on your own?
Majorly I have learnt it on my own, reading the lyrics of my favourite artists, understanding their thoughts behind the song, internalizing the message and then eventually creating my own music with those inspirations.
What kind of genres do you want to explore?
I want to explore various genres, I keep listening to music across the globe and I am open to all kinds of music. A fusion at the international scene with an Indian Rap sound has been exciting me for a while. Let’s see as this would come around soon.
Rap has been a way to convey a message, which topics are you going to focus on?
My attempt is to showcase my journey. If my story inspires even a single person, I feel my job is done. My focus is always going to make such music, and tracks that motivate people to believe that there is light at the end of every dark tunnel.
Do you think the rap scene in India has improved and there is scope for rappers?
Absolutely! I feel the rap scene is only getting better. The kind of admiration that artists such as DIVINE are getting for his recent album, Punya Paap, is so inspiring! As a community, I feel it's our responsibility to support every artist. I honestly believe that it's not easy being an artist; a lot of things are at stake. Hence, we should do whatever it takes in every way possible to support artists, for the scene to flourish.
Have you learnt bbyoing, participated in cyphers or rap battles?
No, I haven't tried my hands at Bboying though I appreciate the works of cyphers and rap battles. I am not a freestyle rapper, my process is different! For me, creating music is a labour of love and I like to enjoy the process until I am totally satisfied.
Do you want to continue as a rapper or want to explore other areas of music like singing, composing etc.
Right now, my focus is on rapping but I am always open to exploring other avenues.
What other projects are you working on?