Mumbai, 14th March 2023: Are those war drums? Skinny Local and Cartel Madras take no prisoners in this wild, heaving, eastern rap-metal banger on Vancouver label Snakes x Ladders. Coming together again after the wildly successful ‘Goonda Gold’ collaboration of 2019, the Surrey-based producer teams up again with the Calgary and Toronto based sisters and rappers to create a noisy satisfying story about a character who is disillusioned and full of rage. Eboshi says, “I chose to delve into the idea of ‘meeting my maker’ to articulate the strange pessimism of the past year everyone was feeling and probably also because I was very angry for a lot of last year”. Paired with a video by Gbohunmi shot in freezing temperatures in a warehouse on the outskirts of Calgary – this song and video are hot with rage, and cold with determination. Says the refrain at the songs end: “I’m just tryin to meet my maker, gimme some blood and sweat for my labour”.
Watch the song here:
Here’s a quick QnA with Cartel Madras (CM) and Skinny Local (SL) on the release of their song:
How did this collaboration come about?
SL: I created the beat in mid-2020 with CM in mind throughout the process. It had been 2 years since Goonda Gold, so felt it was time to do something fresh.
CM: 3 years after Goonda Gold we’ve all evolved and changed artistically, often in constant conversations with our network of producers and creatives. Skinny Local had been in our ear about his evolving sound, going towards a more noise-heavy industrial space, which we loved and wanted to also play with.
What is the song about? And what was your approach in the creative and writing process?
SL: From the production end, I just wanted something raw, in-your-face, noisy, and will get you going absolutely wild at a show. It started with the wide drums in the intro, that have the same rhythm as Garba music. I just built around those drums, and added in some distorted guitars in the mix. Definitely percussion heavy!
CM: I wanted to build a story around a disillusioned character who is full of rage. I choose to delve into the idea of “meeting my maker” to articulate the strange pessimism of the past year everyone was feeling and probably also because I was very angry for a lot of last year.
How was this time different from your past collaborations?
CM: The biggest difference is where we are all at as artists, it feels like Goonda Gold was a world away and this collaboration comes at a time when we are about to embark on a new chapter as Cartel Madras.
How did you come up with the concept for the video?
SL: I was pretty hands off with the video which felt great. The director and the team did an incredible job at blending the Skinny Local and Cartel Madras worlds together, blending elements we all mutually geek over. The CM footage was shot in Calgary, and my footage was shot in Vancouver.
CM: We loved working with Calgary-based director Gbohunmi. We’re so used to having full creative and directorial control over our music videos; so it was refreshing to have someone interpret the track and create an amazing visual led by their own vision.
How was shoot day?
SL: Great! Crispy Cuffs and Sahil Mroke helped produce my footage in Vancouver. We shot in a Warehouse, similar to the Warehouse where Cartel Madras shot their footage.
CM: It was freezing! We shot in sub-zero weather, most of the shoot was outside. All of the warehouse shots were remarkably cold and we couldn’t take too many breaks. In between the fighting and walking sequences we warmed up in the car. It was very fun though.
What’s next for you?
SL: My album “GAMES” drops March 24th, which includes 14 tracks.
CM: We’re working on our debut album for the first half of 2023 – expect it to be a beast of a project, and something utterly new.
Skinny Local is a composer based in Vancouver, BC. Creating beats that transcend to a new world, while using past familiar sounds in our world. Skinny was born in Durban, South Africa, and immigrated to Canada in 2001. He has a background in film, and wanted to bring storytelling to his music. Determined to create something true to himself, he decided to embrace maximalism and produce music solely based on my instinct and what was happening in my mind. The result is his upcoming 14-track LP titled ‘GAMES’, with each track coming from a place of chaos or bliss, reflecting the different emotions I experienced during the creative process. The full project will be released in March 2023 through Snakes x Ladders.
Cartel Madras is a Calgary-based hip-hop sensation, who are known for shaking things up in Calgary, in Canada, and in the music industry. Hailing from erstwhile Madras, now called Chennai, in South India, sisters Contra and Eboshi (a.k.a. Priya and Bhagya Ramesh, respectively) are rappers building a considerable fanbase and capturing the attention of fascinated on-lookers as they develop empowering narratives as people of colour (POC). Through rapping, Cartel Madras delivers these narratives in an explosive way that taps into popular culture and uses it as an effective platform to engage diverse audiences. With a huge community of support, notoriously tongue-in-cheek lyricism, fire beats, and a good bit of fun, the team dynamic helps keep Cartel Madras grounded.