Rhythm of Wordsmiths: Shillong’s latest rap artist Shawn Gideon Rani


By Gabriel Momin

Be it the inspiration from gully boys like Divine and Naezy or the internationally famous Eminem, rap music is a huge part of the music industry today. It has broken across barriers of language and culture and is an ardent form of expression for many.

In India, many upcoming rap artists extensively traverse boundaries of socio-political issues and perform with the target of spreading awareness. This is how the rap music culture appealed to the youth of the ‘Rock Capital’ of Shillong and has never been more prominent as it is now.

From the rumble of the bass of rap songs in cars while they drive by, to even music lessons in schools accepting rap, it is the dawn of a new art form for the city.

TNT- The Northeast Today had the opportunity to catch up with few of the upcoming rap artists of the city to talk to them about their journey.

This week we feature Shawn Gideon Rani.

For Shawn, who already has a government job, the love for rap is still alive and kicking.

He also looks up to local rapping crews, whom he also treats as mentors, such as Khasi Bloodz, Shane, Dappest, Reble, Meijied Kyrpang and Leo Boys.

"I wrote my first lyrics on July 29, 2019. 'It's a 90's Boom Bap Beat' were my first lines as an emcee," says Shawn.

"What really inspired me to be a rapper were artists like J.Cole, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. They talked about the racial discrimination that their people faced. The way they wove their stories through their rhymes were phenomenal. Portraying what you see daily through songs is what caught my eye when it came to rapping."

Shawn, who has been part of an online competition amid pandemic, says, rapping has helped him to grow as an artist due to the fact that he got to closely observe a lot of different styles and learnt "how to adapt to the scene."

To his credit, he also has featured in a song with KRU.6 productions where he worked with a group called called S.O.H (Straight out the Hills) Cypher. His debut single "Shillong Mango" likely to be released this month.

When it's about composition, he says "it's on my mood".

"Sometimes I like to write a song just to get the crowd going. But otherwise I try to write about the things I've grown and gone through," he says.

"The rap scene in Shillong is in good hands. Artists like Khasi Bloodz made all of this possible. They paved the way for all these amazing artists who I named earlier and they definitely made a big impact on my music too."

"You get an accurate perspective of what's happening in different factions of the town and through their lyricism, people tend to listen and try to change the stereotypical way people have been viewing things."

Keeping in tandem with his inspiration and his journey so far, Shawn's message to the people is, "Respect the grind. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone has the same support. Keep pursuing your dreams cause everyone has their own time!"

(Edited by Anirban Paul)