Shan Vincent de Paul, rapper of the ‘Sarpatta Parambarai’ anthem, on how he discovered his toes in South Asia
In a pre-pandemic 2020, music composer Santhosh Narayanan remembers being blown away by a person rapping to the beats of the mridangam at a music pageant. The two determined instantly that they need to collaborate in some unspecified time in the future.
A yr later, that man — Canadian hip hop artiste Shan Vincent de Paul, has launched ‘Neeye Oli’, with Santhosh. Part of the soundtrack for Pa Ranjith’s Sarpatta Parambarai, the thumping trap-inspired anthem ensures the adrenaline flows till lengthy after the boxing drama ends.
‘Neeye Oli’’s video, which premiered on maajja, is the third music on the AR Rahman-led platform for Tamil unbiased artistes. The video options Canadian Tamil rappers Shan and Navz wearing futuristic, avant-garde trend. “My vision is to strengthen the bridge between the Tamil diaspora and our motherland,” says Shan, sitting in his Toronto house, as he tears himself away from response movies to his music.
Shan’s raps are rooted within the feeling of displacement, alienation and resilience of the Tamil Eelam neighborhood, which can also be the theme of his upcoming album, Made in Jaffna. It was one of many causes Santhosh felt his voice was wanted in Sarpatta Parambarai’s anthem. “I felt that an authentic rap that understands the history of Tamils in India and Sri Lanka would be appropriate and would also connect with people,” says Santhosh.
When Santhosh despatched the observe (with Arivu’s lyrics penned in Tamil) to Shan, so as to add his English parts, he additionally described the character of Kabilan (performed by Arya) within the movie. “Santhosh told me about Kabilan’s story of perseverance and how the character had to restart his career. And I felt like that has been my story too, in terms of the trajectory my music career has taken. I have had to reset a bunch of times,” he says.
Commercial success got here late to Shan, effectively into his thirties. He began out as a part of completely different rap teams, then as a part of a duo, earlier than going solo in 2016. “It was a constant battle to find my audience,” he says. This, he did in 2019, particularly in South Asia, as his Mrithangam Raps sequence took off.
Shan’s music now’s typically about bridging cultural worlds with Tamil id at its core. In his latest rap ‘Savage’, he collaborates with Usha Jey, a Bharatanatyam dancer. The aggressive, swearing lyrics are channelled via the classical dance type.
“The term ‘savage’ was used against us by colonisers. They would point out to our everyday routine, like using our fingers to eat, and call it ‘savage’. So this is a tongue-in-cheek response to it. ‘You wanna see a savage? Okay, I will show you that savage aggression — ironically’,” he says. “It is a similar conflict even within our South Asian community (within different castes), that I wanted to tap into.”
‘Savage’ additionally premiered on maajja, simply earlier than the discharge of ‘Neeye Oli’. The latter is, nevertheless, Shan’s first music to be included in a film. “Santhosh is the first major artist from India to believe in me. That someone like him, who is at the top of his game right now, recognised my talent meant the world to me. I hope that his debut in the cinema space opens many more doors for independent Tamil hip hop.”