Moksh At Your Service

Rapper MOKSH’s EP At Your Service could have been a lyrical win

Almost there

Shillong-born, Guwahati-based rapper, MOKSH, plants his feet firmly on the ground with a brand-new EP, At Your Service. The four-track hip-hop release is the artist’s musical offering to those standing tall with their work in the fight against COVID-19. 

The artist comments on the personal struggles he faced with COVID-19 and how the project came to be. In a press statement, he talks about life coming to a standstill when he tested positive for COVID-19 along with his grandparents, and how “the support of genuine, honest and generous people” came to their rescue.

“Music has given me a lot over the years, and now it is my turn to put my music to purpose. That’s At Your Service for you,” he concludes.  

At Your Service marks MOKHS’s third musical release following the 2019 projects Twenty One and Blackout. Much like these bodies of work, this EP follows the rapper’s signature style of fast-paced verses backed by supercharged trap beats. 

Characterised by politically charged themes, each of the four tracks on At Your Service explores and aims to expose the irrationalities of societal bias, and prejudice to one end–a simple celebration of the diversity our country is home to. While many of his references spotlight the discrimination faced by the people of the North-East, the larger theme speaks to the volatile political climate we’ve all had to reckon with in the past few years. 

Sonically, every track on At Your Service flows into the other. The beats and flow are familiar, while the production plays it safe. The writing, really, is where the salt of this project lies. The first track, ‘Rose’, poses as an apt introduction to the rest of the EP, but that’s about it. From here, it gets interesting.

Its successor, ‘Ghadbad Hai’ wittily exposes people’s cultural and political biases by flipping the concept of “the interrogation” on its head. You know the “where are you from?”, and “what is your surname?” questions that deviously really aim to ask, “what is your caste?” and “what is your class?”. On ‘Ghadbad Hai’, MOKSH turns this evil but common practice into a sonic experience. 

What follows is ‘Bharat’, the third track on At Your Service. An unabashed experiment in lyricism and, notably, the most layered and varied in terms of production on the EP, this one plainly calls for the removal of bias by bringing into question the legitimacy behind irrational prejudices. The refrain, “Hum hi se hai Bharat banta”, furthers MOKSH’s call for unity, or at least an acknowledgement of the potential of it. 

At Your Service ends with the fourth track, ‘Rehne De’, featuring Kabir Jamatia. However, after the high of ‘Bharat’, this one is an end far too comfortable for an EP of this nature. And, that seems to be where the problem lies on At Your Service. What MOKSH has to say is important and worth listening to. Had the words been crafted into musical arrangements more deliberately thought out, experimental and original, they would have stood out, and how. But in a crowded soundscape of familiar trap beats and safe delivery, the quality of his poetry falls behind.

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