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‘Gift To Give’: A’Hosea Elevates The Sound Of North-East Hip-Hop With A Proficient Debut Album

A’Hosea is a Hip-Hop artist from Shillong, Meghalaya who started dabbling in music at the age of 12 years when he became a member of ‘Symphonic Movement’–The Youngest Rap Crew in India. He honed his craft for a few years with the crew till he branched off and started working on his solo act. Presently, the rapper is a part of Shillong based music collective called ‘Vision In Motion Nation’, a community of musicians, producers, rappers/singer songwriters and directors of photography, guided by a shared sense of belonging, having the goal of creating timeless art and uplifting their community. 

‘Gift To Give’ or ‘GTG’ marks the debut studio album of the young rapper which succeeds a series of singles released on YouTube over the past few years. Sharing how this title came to him, he says:

“So basically this music thing to me feels like a gift from up above, so with this Gift I take charge to spread the message of peace to the world and will use this Gift of mine as a Gift to others.”

Hip-hop from the north east has always had this characteristic sound that embodies the beauty, the innocence, the sweetness of the region and it’s people. This sound stems from the west coast style of hip-hop, exhibiting softer flows, laid-back deliveries and simpler earnest bars. There is ofcourse a wide variety of artists exploring a plethora of different sounds in the region but this soulful, concious rap separates their soundscape from rest of the country. 

GTG also falls in the similar realm of music which blends vehenmence and simplicity to drive the project forward. The opener and title track personifies this exact style and serves as a poignant letter addressed to the people of his region. A’hosea carries a very comforting vocal tone and delivery as seen throughout the 11 track project. In ‘Another Day’, the rapper enters his comfort zone as he flows artfully in his mother tongue. It becomes evident from the first few tracks itself that he has a very spirited relationship with his God which is exactly what he plans to relay forward to the younger members of the community via this project. Relatability plays an important tool to pass on a message to someone looking upto you without sounding too preachy and ‘Equal’ does just that for the rapper. “I got love in these streets just like you, I got hate in these streets just like you, i got flaws, problems just like you” he sings on the hook, hoping to connect with the audience.

Very well placed old school boom bap tracks like ‘Freespace’ and ‘Cage’ prevent the topics from becoming redundant and repetitive as they bring in some much needed flex and flair. Besides that, there is not much to look forward in terms of the quality of bars or flows.

‘Kdew Kti’, translating to ‘Pointing Fingers’ is a quintessential track without which no hip-hop album is complete— a message to the haters. A’Hosea takes a novel approach as he steers clear of the oneupmanship that is usually seen in tracks like these gives it a positive and motivational twist. The seventh track ‘Hold On’ is where the rapper let’s go of his mannered spirituality and acquaints us with his real vulnerable self on a sombre piano based trap beat making it a major highlight of the album

As we reach to the end of the project, exhaustion sets in as tracks like ‘Changes’, ‘Fun Game’ and ‘Jingieid’ become stagnant in terms of flows as well as emotions. ‘Burn ‘dem’, the final track, is where Hosea reignites his spark thanks to U Lyngskor’s amazingly arranged beat with the cinematic flugel/trumpet being the center of attraction. While GTG has it’s heart in the right place and radiates purest of intentions, the repetitiveness of topics and monotonous beats keep it from being an exceptional album and make a nationwide impact.

A’Hosea reveals his next game plan to be a compilation project featuring various homegrown and regional artiste/producers . “I’m having great enthusiasm for the next album and I’m working endlessly in the studio to ensure that when it drops, it blows.”

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