Under the moniker Sez on the Beat, Sajeel Kapoor is the go-to-producer for every Indian hip-hop artiste. The 25-year old producer from West Delhi has been an instrumental force in the rise of prominent Indian rappers namely Divine, Naezy and Prabh Deep, given his sleek production skills in their songs, ‘Mere Gully Mein’, ‘Asal Hustle’ and ‘Class Sikh Maut’, which have grown to acquire a massive cult following over the years.
I spoke to the talented music producer as he regales from the success of his Summer 2020 anthem, ‘Kahaani 2020’ which combines the best of Indian hip-hop and pop talents on-board, featuring Zaeden, Enkore, Lit Happu, Shayan and Yungsta. Besides that, Sez also spills the beans behind THE MVMNT, his latest project which he has founded with partner Faizan Khan.
How did it feel to work on a track featuring multiple artistes at once? Surely, each one of them had a distinctive style to bring to the table?
Sez: It was a great experience for me, everyone did bring something unique for the song and it was such a fun session for me to play around with as well because I had a lot to work with.
From working with the likes of Divine, Naezy, Prabh Deep, Seedhe Maut, Tienas, Siri to Full Power recently, how does it feel to be hailed as a reckoning force for Indian hip-hop? In retrospect, do you feel that hip-hop as a genre has been trivialized by a brand-driven music industry?
Sez: I still have a lot of work to do to even consider myself as a force in the scene, it’s been a fun journey and it’s going to get even better from here. Collaboration is something I love and it was such a vibe working with everyone I worked with and made great music with and I can’t wait to put out the new music that’s been brewing up in the lab for a while.
There is always a thing with music, if a genre pops up, everyone wants a piece of it. Same stuff happened with Hip-Hop in India. Everyone now wants a piece of it, and it is fair. Brands have increased the outreach of the genre, some of them do make fun of the genre and I do not appreciate that, but most of the times, it’s for the good and I respect that. Plus, at the end of the day, a brand will have to cater to masses because for them the end goal is to promote their product with the help of music and they’ll make sure the sound that’s promoting them is a massy sound and sometimes it has to be very basic so that it’s easier for people to digest.
How do you look back at your journey so far from the time you began making samples on Virtual DJ?
Sez: Oh, it’s been fun, I didn’t know the potential of music until I started working on it myself and like I mentioned earlier, it’s going to get even better from here.
You don’t necessarily deploy Indian instrumentals in your music. Is that a conscious choice?
Sez: I feel everything has its place in a piece of music and I don’t want to force different sounds just for the heck of it. As much as I love Indian instruments, I rarely use them but when I do, it’s not for the fact that “oh I need to add Indian instruments in it so that it’s acceptable” but for the fact that they can have their space in the soundscape and compliment everything else.
A word about your hip-hop collective THE MVMNT that you’ve begun with Faizan Khan.
Sez: The MVMNT is for the people, by the people. The community has given me so much and I just want to give back. When Faizan started managing me and when we discussed this idea, I knew that he understands what I want to do and he amplified it exponentially and came forward with the idea of The MVMNT as a partnership. It’s been a fun 6 months now, we released a lot of new music together, it was a great experience for us to experience a lot of new talent in the scene with the lease challenges that we did and it’s a feel good vibe when you do it for the people. I love it.
‘Kahaani 2020’ is now streaming on Radio City Freedom and Radio City Hip-Hop