Chennai rapper Nigavithran’s Dishonored talks about the politics of independent music space

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Rapper Nigavithran’s new EP ‘Dishonored’ discusses rejection aspiring rap artists face in the now crowded indie music space

Eight months after the lockdowns started in 2020, Chepauk K rapper Nigavithran released his debut album Block 82 D, a well-rounded bag of eight songs about her memories of growing up in the neighborhood. It was the album that put him on the map.

However, a few months before the album’s release, Nigavithran was embroiled in an episode with the police for being the standard bearer of a protest that took place at Lock Nagar in Chepauk. He was on the lookout for two days, until it was proven to the officers in charge that he had little to do with the problem.

Nigavithran turned the anger and frustration he was feeling at the time into a catchy rap song “Pazhiku Pazhi” which is part of his debut EP, Dishonored, which was released recently on streaming platforms. But it was not this incident that prompted him to release the EP. Through Dishonored, says Nigavithran, he wanted to record the pain of the budding rap artists of Chennai and the price they pay.

He attributes this to how the indie music scene is now business-driven. “They [music platforms] only encouraged and publicized already established independent artists. Very little space is given to emerging rappers, ”he says, adding,“ If you have to make a big mark, you have no choice but to go through them. He adds, “I don’t blame anyone, it’s just how it works.”

Find your space

Like many independent artists, Nigavithran says his EP stems from the rejection he has faced so far. “I have performed in shows and musical events. There were times when I felt like they used me as a filler before the main performance.

This is why the first song ‘NIGA’ speaks for itself and serves as an introduction for those who might not know Nigavithran or where he is from.

Nigavithran is not ashamed of who he is and the distinctive voice he seems to have in the independent space, which forms most of the lyrics to “Black Panther”. Fan of Marvel and DC films, he says he could relate to Black Panther the most and therefore the song. Groovy “Peruku Hip-Hop” discusses the politics of the indie scene and how most talented artists expect this chance. But he ends the EP on a positive note with ‘Ondraga Payanipom’ which says something like: “I and my music will travel along.”

Rap artist Nigavithran

Produced by Dudez in Madras and marketed by RayApp, Dishonored marks Nigavithran’s first collaboration with other independent artists such as Stan, Nina Sam and Lenix. But life came full circle when he recorded D Vinoth, a sound engineer who inspired Nigavithran to become a rapper, for ‘Ondraga Payanipom; incidentally, a song about the trip.

Since his first album Block 82 D, Nigavithran has released singles on streaming platforms. But he says that the reception he received for Dishonored was encouraging. “Lots of rappers in town reached out to me via DMs and calls and said they could understand. After all, it was made for us.

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