After his success with Gully Boy (2019) , hip-hop and rap sensation Naved Shaikh aka Naezy returns with his new album Maghreb. He talks about the current political climate and the odd Taylor Swift track on his playlist. Excerpts:
After your hiatus in 2018, you returned with your single Aafat wapas, which got six million views on YouTube. Tell us about your latest album, Maghreb.
Maghreb literally translates from Urdu as ‘West’. Even though I am so inspired by the West, my roots are here. So I am kind of stuck between the West and the East. Also my city Mumbai belongs to the west of India. The origins of hip hop belong to the West, so I represent that.
I started writing the songs after the break in mid-2019. One song, Khamakha, is about how people on the streets are crying more and laughing less. People today are more into their own troubles and not enjoying life. Then there are songs that touch on my personal life, and issues from the street. After watching Gully Boy everyone thought that being from the street is cool but I want to put it out there that it’s not. People don’t get meals on the table or clean drinking water. I have always been a conscious rapper and have used my music to talk about women’s safety and politics.
What’s your take on the current political scene in the country?
Things have been happening in India for a long time and I don’t see the political climate changing. In the title song of Maghreb too, there is a line that says Kal tak jo ladke goli chala re the, aaj desh chala re toh kya kare. But mind you, I am not pointing at anyone in particular. I let my music do the talking and I will tweet sometimes, but that’s it.
What’s on your playlist?
I listen to a lot of hip hop, jazz, blues and Indian classical music. I am into old school Bollywood, and ’90s Bollywood, but I also listen to Taylor Swift. It’s kind of hard to believe… I used to love her and when I share this with my rapper friends they laugh at me. But she’s good, especially her song Love Story, it used to be my favorite at one time.
What are your plans for the future?
It looks very exciting. Some more albums, international collaborations, tours, music videos are all in the pipeline.
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