Azadi Records, also behind breakout hip-hop star Prabh Deep, is betting on 22-year-old rapper and producer Tienas aka Tanmay Saxena. At a time when the Indian hip-hop scene is dominated by acts rapping in Hindi and regional languages, Azadi is vehemently backing an artist who rhymes in English.
‘18th Dec’ is the lead single from Tienas’s furious new, long time in the making, debut mixtape Unavailable. The Mumbai MC offers us an insight into his creative via a music video starring actor Krithika Iyer. Right off the bat, Iyer’s persona hits all the right buttons. The aesthetic channels Tienas’s growing angst as the track progressed. Barely anything here invites casual consumption.
A fierce internal monologue, Tienas’s initial chiding is stained by a remarkable coolness. As the track advances, he descends into cutting battles of the mind vs. the heart, of what we can vs. what we can’t, of the expected vs. the expecting. Set against a mellow yet booming beat, the track experiences a non-linear shift at the two-and-a-half minute mark that breaks down and rebuilds the sonic palette. This track seamlessly captures the essence of millennial foreboding in 21st century India. It’s lightning in a bottle.
Tienas brings to the forefront a Lo-Fi Nujabes inspired style. Quoting Eminem as the inspiration for not only his stage name but also his deep dive into hip-hop, Tienas teeters on the brink of the personal and the political. He tackles tough narratives; his bars are a scathing indictment of society and culture. With a full-length album due later this year, Saxena is all set to take Indian hip-hop by storm.