The rising hip-hop juggernaut raps on the pressures, expectations and realities that artists face in today’s day and age
New Delhi, August 9th, 2022: Hip-hop artist Shayaan Bhat aka Shen B has dropped a powerful, new single called “Cassette Freestyle.” Hailing from Jammu, the musician taps into his signature old-school production to deliver an indelible critique of society and business through the eyes of an artist. The “Colder,” “Sone Do” and “Mujhe Dekh” hitmaker was influenced by a diverse array of acts while making things track, including rock outfit Linkin Park; R&B, hip-hop and bhangra collective Bombay Rockers; the iconic English band The Beatles; Maryland rapper Logic, and more. “Cassette Freestyle” is a special song because it’s absolutely authentic to Shen B’s experience of the world and music industry, particularly in Jammu. It’s an unadulterated peek into the state of the arts and humanity.
Watch the music video for Shen B’s “Cassette Freestyle” here:
The single is accompanied by a black and white music video filmed in two locations — a new housing complex in Jammu and Shen B’s bedroom. The rapper/poet chose these two locations to portray how Jammu is progressing as a city and how a revolution is brewing in each and every home. A testament to Shen B’s artistic prowess, the shots in the music video have been filmed in one take and have undergone VFX treatment. In “Cassette Freestyle,” Shen B explores themes such as the pressure of getting a million views and followers in order to be a ‘successful artist,’ being a Muslim in the music scene and representing the minorities, the influence of social media on the mindset of the masses, the objectification of women across the Internet for views as well as the government’s and society’s inability to recognise artists as people worthy of respect and equitable opportunities.
Says Shen B about ‘Cassette Freestyle,’ “I wanted to do a track that was completely true to what I felt about my state as an artist and the state of the music scene here in Jammu and beyond, totally unadulterated. I had this feeling of unsettling uneasiness inside of me because of all the choices I had to make as an independent artist in life. I wanted to drift away from people’s expectations of what my songs should sound like and how many numbers they will achieve after the release. This track being a freestyle, I went into writing without thinking twice about what I felt, which made me stay true and honest to the process. In short, ‘Cassette Freestyle’ is a track that has a thousand emotions splattered across the page all at once.”
Shen B wears multiple hats with “Cassette Freestyle,” serving as the writer, producer, mixing and mastering engineer, video editor, marketer and more. The artist describes the three-month-long process behind the release as enlightening. He wanted to create a track that was true to what he felt about his home state, Jammu, both musically and politically. “Cassette Freestyle” emphasizes the contrasts that exist inside Shen B which is that of him as a person and that of him as an artist. He recorded the track in the studio, in his bedroom and in the field. The rapper/poet hopes people take away his message of concern for the world and where it’s headed, especially in the digital sphere. Shen B says on “Cassette Freestyle,” “Times are changing, so why shouldn’t we?”, and it’s evolution that the release ultimately represents.
Shen B adds, “I am continuously living two lives, one as Shayaan, who is a heartbroken man in the sweet company of his family and the other as Shen, who is a lone wolf and a rebel. As artists, we always have to be in the moment and do with whatever we have; I was more spontaneous with this release. I hope my listeners get to know that I am not in it just for the applause, and that I am really concerned about where the world is heading, especially in the digital sphere. I am trying to do all that I can to represent my city and my people without expecting anything. This might be my last raw and unfiltered release”
Listeners can expect the Jammu hip-hop artist to move towards the commercial side of music in the upcoming months. He has a collaboration with British-Pakistani musical powerhouse Zack Knight in the pipeline along with many more tracks. One thing the world must not do is sleep on this hip-hop heavyweight.
CASSETTE FREESTYLE: CREDITS
Presented by: BackDoor Indies
Producer: Danish Tak
Written, Composed and Performed by: Shen B
Directed and Edited by: Shen B
Shot by: Varun Kumar (of I music)
Mix & Master: Shen B
Music Production: Shen B
VFX by: Shen B
More about Shen B:
Shayaan Bhat aka Shen B is a hip-hop artist from the city of Jammu in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Gritty and instinctive, the rapper/producer has been a hip-hop tour de force since dropping his breakout single, the explosive “Chal Beta,” in 2019. Melding fluid production with sharp and insightful lyricism in Hindi, Urdu and English, Shen B’s experiential music translates as an incisive reflection of our times, heralding a new, definitive voice in Indian hip-hop.
From breaking down the struggle of every artist on the intrepid “Fankaar” and revealing the realities of Jammu’s then perennial confinement on “LockDown,” Shen B has always been a steadfast chronicler of the world. Consistently thought-provoking and unique in his artistry, Shen B rose against the odds to represent the sound, politics and creativity of the times, even when 4G internet services were suspended in J&K.
With his 2020 single, the melancholically meditative “Sone Do,” the hip-hop artist gave listeners a further glimpse into his mind, unleashing an untapped power that most people underestimate — the value of the now. On the rise and carving his mark, Shen B released his 4-track debut EP Zamaana in 2021. Channelling the artist’s struggle with bullying, censorship, corruption, faith and more, Shen B’s Zamaana became the ultimate record for our uncertain times. His most recent drop, the futuristic single “Colder,” was an intriguing offering that meditated on the themes of technology, climate change, time and love. Ready to reckon with the world once more, Shen B has now dropped the incendiary single, “Cassette Freestyle.”