Rapper Ab 17 from New Delhi rose swiftly, scoring a massive hit with his feature on Seedhe Maut’s “Batti,” which got him heard across the nation. Taking advantage of the traction he gained from this significant collaboration, Ab 17 dropped “Tez Filam” produced by one and only, Sez On The Beat.
“Tez Filam” is Ab 17’s debut EP, kicking off his rapping career with a bang as the record is a fresh of breath air to the contemporary Desi Hip-hop scene. Despite the lack of variety in Indian trap music, Ab 17 illustrated his own colors throughout the EP and solidified himself as an emerging contender to take control of the upcoming Indian trap scene. While the majority of new-wave emcees tend to sway towards DHH’s more melodic side, it’s evident that Ab 17 does not believe in sticking to the formula.
With renewed vigour, Ab 17 builds on his sound without letting Sez’s production overpower his voice. The artist pulls off the unrealistic feat of sounding simultaneously nonchalant and savage with his show-stealing delivery. The project features songs that are both blasting hits and detailed depictions of Delhi’s streets, helping you take your mind off of regular stress. There are 8 fresh tunes on the tracklist, and the record has a respectable runtime of almost an hour. Satrah chose not to dilute his vision by bloating “Tez Filam” with unnecessary features. Also, it has proven the potential of one of the most promising voices in Desi Hip-hop that is set to explode in the coming years.
Ab 17 Tez Filam EP Review
Brutal, haunting, and shockingly nonchalant, “Tez Filam” is a fitting introduction to Ab 17’s first full-length project. The mosh pit-inducing title track sees Sez On The Beat’s stellar beat with ear-catching effects. Ab 17 enters the song with no warning, hyping us up with his consistent flow and his creative street talk. The song features quality offerings from rising stars, Asmadhe and OG Lucifer. Both artists manage to match Ab 17’s rabid energy and bring out raw underground flavors. While Asmadhe amplified the intensity with his poetic yet blazing vocal delivery and well-structured narrative, OG Lucifer maintained the pace with his remarkable verse.
Next comes “Gande Ilaake Se,” a song that incorporates a melancholic vibe and is a reflection of Ab 17’s notorious hood life. His low-key delivery over a minimalist instrumental with pounding 808s really uplifts the message, making him stand out as someone special vocally. Ab 17 represents the streets of Delhi 71 (or Dilli 71), with “Gande Ilaake se,” he paints a clear picture of struggle, toxicity, and crime around his life. The anthemic hook stays stuck in your head for the entire day because of Satrah’s sonic creativity and unique cadence. Furthermore, it discusses his dream while also providing insight into his perspective, as he raps: “Main mere dost, hum hain gande ilaake se/Bhahar nikalne ke khwaab dekhe/Surakhshit rehna yaha mujhko bas kaise bhi/Kab kiski nazre hain kaha pe main.”
The following track “Invoice,” captures Ab 17’s lyrical prowess with exceptional bars and great metaphors. However, the track did not work for me because of its average music production. Despite the beautiful melody, the beat surprisingly feels generic and doesn’t sound like it was produced for Satrah or any other trap artist. Overall, the composition was disappointing because it, regrettably, broke the EP’s well-established mood. However, I really enjoyed Ab 17’s excellent pen game as he gets off clever lines like: “Baawe sab tez kyunki daldal mein taiyre/Haathon mein power par khelun na carrom.”
Following the previous track, “Kaam Chaalu” comes equipped with a sudden change in pace, pounding percussion, and Ab 17’s distinctive rapid-fire flow. This might not be a lyrical miracle by the artist, but it gets the job done, thanks to the quality work by Ab 17 and Sez On The Beat. The song focuses on Ab 17’s goals, dedication, and the everyday grind. As a rapper, Ab 17’s strength is the way he writes and delivers the rhymes, not necessarily the technicality of his bars.
If the first half of Satrah’s debut is near bulletproof, then the back half also resembles the same wavelike synergy. A cut like “100K Note” is an ideal example of why Ab 17 deserves more well-produced trap beats. The track is made for teenage ragers at Satrah’s rap concerts as it features his vicious flow, unfiltered lyricism, and Sez’s futuristic rage beat. When Ab 17 switches his rapping style from laid-back in favor of something more unpredictable – like the way he uplifted this song with his fast-spitting delivery – it makes him one of the most exciting rappers in Desi Hip-hop. For me, “100K Note” stands head and shoulders above the other songs on the project with its ballistic sound.
Of all the up-and-coming artists who have been considered as trap rappers, maybe none has carved out a different lane like Ab 17. While there are so many rappers who try hard to ascend the top playlists with their forced music, Ab 17 has effortlessly maintained his sound raw with a genuine perspective that made him so compelling. On “Khapeetar,” Satrah weaves multisyllabic rhymes over a phenomenal instrumental crafted by Sez. The mix of street-savvy lyrics and storytelling rap by Lil Bhavi merged well with Ab 17’s pace, making it an incredible collaboration. His ability to use his voice as an expressive instrument that requires focus is always at the heart of his music, but he draws on a diverse palette to round out the sound.
One of the biggest issues with Desi Hip-hop is that every other is either dissing someone or doing flex rap. But when Ab 17 is flexing, it never really feels like he’s just bragging. With “MKC,” Ab 17 continues to demonstrate his versatility and also solidifies the fact that he’s not a mumble rapper, but you have to pay attention to what he’s spitting. As the song starts, the still-blossoming bona fide rap star reminds me of Lil Baby. But as the track touches its second half, he brings his authentic style back. Nevertheless, I enjoyed his flow, but the production could have been better because the song had more space for the rapper than needed.
A smooth transition leads us into the final cut of the EP, Satrah showcasing his hook writing prowess with “Colony.” As the 41-minute run time comes to a close, Ab 17’s rapping style shifts back to being more downcast. Sez provides an ear-catching instrumental for “Colony” which flawlessly blends with Satrah’s uniquely toned vocals and laid-back flow. The well-structured joint features the most noticeable and chant-worthy chorus by the artist.
In the current era of Indian Hip-hop, so many young rappers struggle for a back-loaded project to top playlists and boost numbers. By collaborating with a young talent like Ab 17, Sez On The Beat has cemented his presence in Desi Hip-hop’s history. The EP shows that if Ab 17 remains consistent with his creativity, he can have a successful trap career. As a newcomer, his lyrics are some of the most real in recent times in the industry. Overall, “Tez Filam” is a perfect debut from Ab 17 as it nicely captures his lifestyle and thought process, proving he is playing the game smartly.