In the South-Asian subcontinent, artists like Seedhe Maut, Ahmer, aleemrk, Maanu, Madara, superdupersultan, and JANI, to a name few, have already managed to pen down their personal experiences to bring attention to not just their own unique identities but also connect their accounts to a range of social and political issues pertaining the subcontinent.
The desi hip-hop independent scene is collaborative, self-expressive and here to stay and ranges from politics to young angst in love.
Karun, formerly part of the Delhi-based trio Teesri Duniya, is already well known for diverting from industry standards with constant experimentation and attempts at reinventing the format.
‘Qabool Hai’ is not bound by genre, it is a confessional account of the ever-changing nature of love — from the shame and guilt attached to its mere acceptance, to love eventually fading away. The album also marks itself as a game-changer as it places itself away from the ever-shifting industry standards with its free-flowing raw and conversational poetry.
The Urdu phrase, ‘Qabool Hai’ roughly translates to ‘I accept’. Karun’s perspective manoeuvres through multi-dimensionality of the phrase and of what we call ‘love’— how we accept love, how we deny ourselves love and how we let go of it. Mohabbat mein sab qabool hai (One accepts everything in love); Say it once, but don’t forget to say it twice right after.
The album is an intimate journey as it subtly subverts from self-expression. The personal account of Karun’s heartbreak, as an artist and as an individual gets so vulnerable that it no more merely expresses, but unabashedly reflects.
‘Kahaani-Intro’ — addresses the audience as Karun invites everyone to listen to the story of two birds on a branch; an account of his heartbreak.
It lays the foundation for the visual poetry in tracks to come and takes a turn to become some sort of a metaphorical conversation with a therapist reminiscing on a love that used to be, further exploring accountability in love.
The soundscapes he creates incorporate sounds from otherwise contrasting ranges and areas; the vocals, even the sobs, mimic sounds as they would sound inside one’s mind.
The 15 tracks are an amalgamation of multiple languages and unconventional soundscapes synchronising chaos into coherence. Each track diverts to explore love from a different perspective — love of innocence, of pride, of shame, of loss, and of guilt.
The tracks arranged in no particular order are a concoction of vulnerability and raw emotions as they come. ‘Maharani’ talks of the agency that comes with letting yourself go in love without any expectations while with ‘Batheriyan’ the protagonist finds himself in quest of multiple women but unable to love any. ‘Kinaare’ talks of yearning and habitual love while ‘Sharmsaar’ talks of vulnerability, guilt and shame attached to it. ‘DYK’, combines Shayari with commentary and ‘Chand Pe Kadam - Interlude’ allows us to intrude onto a gathering of some sorts and escape the chaos with two kids talking of stepping on the moon.
‘Batheriyan’ with its lyrics makes a subtle commentary much like Dagh Dehlvi’s ghazal which goes, “Tumhaare khat mein naya ek salam kis ka tha” (that new greeting in your note, from whom was it do say).
Perhaps the new age parallel of Dagh’s, ‘vo qatl kar ke mujhe har kisi se puchhte hain, ye kaam kis ne kiya hai ye kaam kis ka tha?’ (after having slain me, she seeks to know from everyone who’s to blame for this dark deed) is Karun’s, ‘gunehgar karti hai mujhe sabit, khoon mera par mein hi bana kaatil’ (She proves me to be guilty, the murdered becomes the murderer).
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