Naved Sheikh aka Naezy needs no intro as a pioneer in the Mumbai Hip Hop scene and one of the artists who inspired the Bollywood feature film Gully Boy. The Bantai from ‘Bombay 70’ has recently been signed to Big Bang Music who’s been keeping him on his toes. Feels like everywhere you turn these days Naezy is up to something from being a judge on MTV Hustle to recently touring Australia and also consistently releasing hit records like ‘Vahem’, ‘Aafat Waapas’ and ‘Rukta Nah’.
Naezy’s latest drop, ‘Fatke’ is his answer to conspirators who have been stirring rumors and raising ambiguities about his life since the release of ‘Gully Boy’. The movie which was loosely based around Naezy and Divine’s life is India’s entry for the Oscars but has also affected Naezy’s personal life. People are drawing comparisons between the movie’s protagonist, ‘Muraad’ (played by Ranveer Singh) and Naezy and are concluding that Muraad’s life, circumstances and situations were inspired from Naezy, WHICH IS NOT TRUE. The movie was inspired by Naezy’s and Divine’s grind in the Mumbai underground hip-hop scene but the story of Muraad was completely fictional. This track is indeed the fitting answer for all the questions being raised regarding Naezy’s life and decisions.
We caught up with Naezy and had a conversation about his release, ‘FATKE’ and this is how it went:
How has life been for Naezy since, ‘Gully Boy’ ?
NAEZY: Life after Gully boy has been hard, in terms of my personal Life, it’s been hard for me to adjust my life around the fame that gullyboy has brought me at the same time it has been very exciting in terms of my career with a lot of new opportunities, so there is kind of a balance between the negative and the positive effects that gully boy has had on me personally and career wise.
Congratulations on signing to Big Bang Music ? What made the poster boy for ‘DIY’ art sign to this Label ?
My biggest reason for signing to Big Bang Music was that I felt very strongly that they share my vision for the hip hop scene and the independent music scene in India, they understand me as an artist, which is exactly the kind of support I needed and was looking for ever since I decided to choose music as my main career choice in my life.
Tell us a little about the new drop, ‘Fatke’ ?
My new track Fatke is me basically talking to everyone in the hip hop scene in India who haven’t been taking me as seriously as they should lately, it’s me giving “Fatke” to all their mentalities that I don’t agree with, I’m talking to every true hip hop fan in the scene and I’m addressing all the rumors and questions that have been going on about me after the success of gully boy.
Check out the video for ‘Fatke’ right here
What was the creative process for the track ? The production on this song is not your usual style, what made you go something this uptempo ?
So the idea for Fatke started with me wanting to do a fun song, I knew Major C as he did a song on gully boy called Sher Aya Sher with divine and he’s actually also from the same pin code as me “Bombay 70”. We started jamming with ideas for a song and when he played me the beat the first thing that came to mind was “Vat nahi toh khayega tu Fatke”. I wanted to experiment with this track and that’s why the beat is very quirky and up tempo which is quite different from my zone. We also had a lot of fun making this track in the studio which i think has translated into the song just as we hoped it would and I’m very happy with the release and how it came out.
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What made you shoot the video in ‘London’ and how was that experience ?
I wanted to do something different for the video as well, I love shooting outdoors and one of the major reasons we decided to shoot in London was that my people haven’t seen London and I wanted my audience to see it through me in the video for Fatke. It also isn’t easy to shoot these DIY style videos outside India so it was a new challenge for me and I’m very happy with the way the video has come out and how people are receiving it.
We saw that you were performing and interacting with fans in Australia. How does it feel that the stories of the Bombay gullies are now being heard in cities like Melbourne and Sydney ?
I had never imagined that I will get to perform in places like Australia and the way the people in Sydney and Melbourne have welcomed me and received me left me totally amazed, half of the people at the Melbourne gig knew all the lyrics to my songs and were singing every second line with me. It was a super warm reception for me in Australia and I loved how in Sydney, which had more of a commercial crowd that didn’t know my music so well, people were still understanding the expression in my songs and were vibing to the music throughout my performance. It was an amazing feeling getting to represent the Indian Hip Hop scene in Australia and I feel very proud every time I get a chance like this to represent Indian Hip Hop Internationally.
Which direction do you think is Gully rap headed in ?
I think Gully Rap is finally heading in a proper direction, our movie Gully Boy has just been nominated for an Oscar, which just goes to show, how important our roots are for the hip hop scene in India to grow, people have started taking Gully rap more seriously and I feel everyone who’s in any way part of the gully rap culture in India right now is doing their part and contributing and helping the scene grow organically, which is the best thing for the scene right now.
What does Naezy have in future for his fans and when can we expect an album ?
So basically I have been working on my album for a while now, we have 3-4 songs in the pipeline right now which we’re working on, our aim right now is to curate a short album\ EP with these tracks. We’re planning to drop a few singles from the album and drop the whole Album shortly after these releases. The album has a very strong Gully vibe, it has the same energy that my earlier tracks like Aafat have, with this album we’re planning to make a very powerful statement to everyone who’s part of the growing hip hop scene in India, we’re very confident about the album and we feel it is going to be the album that puts Indian hip hop on the world map and is going to shut all the haters up.