There’s versatile, and then there’s the rising Mumbai artist Miloni Chudasama aka Inspectah Gracious, or Inspectah G. The talented femcee has quietly built a strong reputation as one of the most lyrical Hip-Hop songwriters, as she already boasts in her 2021 song ‘Hip-Hop’s Soldier.’ Her debut EP, titled ‘Perspective,’ arrived a little under a year ago, and while that sonically adventurous project was undoubtedly an early glimpse of Inspectah’s capabilities as an artist, her recently released track ‘Hush Haters’ shows that she is only getting better as she progresses.
Rap stardom wasn’t always on Inspectah G’s mind. As a child, she was bubbly and joyful, but getting bullied in school caused her to find alternative ways to express her emotions. As a young teen, Inspectah began dabbling in beatboxing, and soon she realized that Hip-Hop was a medium at which she excelled. Despite the absence of support, she remained fully focused and motivated in her pursuit of music. To finance her independent journey, the rapper began her parallel career as a copywriter.
With so much going on in her career, Inspectah G still found the time to check in with Raptrill and discuss a myriad of topics. From the origin story of her artist name to her vision for her sound, Inspectah offers plenty of insight into who she is as an artist and as a person. Later in the interview, she recalls some of the most special moments in her career so far and goes into detail about her musical influences and the moment she realized that she is representing a movement.
This conversation was edited and condensed for clarity.
Inspectah Gracious Interview
1. Who was Inspectah G before becoming a bold and brilliant rapper, and how did her journey begin?
“I’ll tell you about the name Inspectah G first. Inspectah G is a mindset! It’s an epitome of power… when I walk into a room, people should know that the G has entered! My real name is Miloni. Before becoming Inspectah G, Miloni was a bubbly, happy girl who knew her way! An artist first, she was a little girl on the inside who loved being the light of everyone’s life. I still am, to some people’s lives, of course! As I grew, I felt this power in my words, how they could heal someone, break someone, hurt someone, make someone feel good about themselves, and so on… I’ve always been a sharp individual, and I have always believed in true equality. I’ve strived to bring about change through my words, my art, and my pen.
I’ve always been a black sheep. I was bullied in school for being different. I used to listen to rap music, and none of my peers or my family liked it. They used to hit me and bully me for the same. Later in my life, as my interest in music grew, I discovered beatboxing. I watched battles; I learned from them and started beatboxing in 2015. Then, as I grew, I started writing, and that’s how it all began. I wrote my very first song — ‘Walkthru,’ which was featured in Arittra Nayak’s debut EP.”
2. What are some of your musical influences? What inspired you to get into rap? And who was the first person to encourage you in your musical journey?
“It’s a beautiful story about how I ended up making music my therapy, not a drug. I have grown up listening to Tupac, Jay-Z, Skepta, Eminem, Biggie, to name a few.
I used to be a Company Secretary student in my teens. Back when I used to only beatbox, somehow, that didn’t interest me at all.
Once, I was hanging out with my friends, and I was beatboxing. Arittra, one of my friends, was singing to it. And suddenly, one day, he told me, ‘You should write songs! Your own songs!’ That’s when I told my parents, ‘I want to quit CS and pursue music full time.’ I still wasn’t sure, but when I presented the first boom-bap track I’d ever written to Arittra and my friends, they really loved it. Arittra changed his verse so he could be in balance with mine; I mean, he saw it as some tough lyrical competition! He really encouraged me a lot. Life didn’t stop there, as I knew I had to pursue music and I needed to earn money for that, to fund my independent music. I started writing for a living. I’m a copywriter. I write for a living. It’s been 7 years, and I’m juggling work with music. Currently, I’m placed as an Associate Creative Supervisor at Oktobuzz!”
3. What was the turning point for you? What was that moment where that light went off like, damn, I’m doing something right?
“There’s a story! I was performing for the first time in my life. There weren’t a lot of people, but there was this couple who were rooting for me. They were expecting! They came after the show and congratulated me and all that. They asked me my name. I said, Miloni. They smiled and went.
The next time I performed, they came again. This time, they had the baby. I noticed it and smiled at them. The man walked up to me after the show with the baby girl. She cooed. I felt really nice. ‘You know what we named her?’ The man said.
I asked in excitement, ‘What?’ He said, ‘We named her Miloni, after you! Because I want her to grow up and be as bold and as strong as you are.’
That’s when it hit me. I’m doing something right. Not just that, a lot of little girls have been inspired by my work and started writing rhymes. They send them to me.”
4. What drives you to be creatively unapologetic and fearless in your songs?
“I don’t have a filter when I write. It’s honest. ‘Sach bolne se pehle sochne ka kya?’ So, since my songs are based on my own life, I know what I’m saying and why!
It’s what people relate to. When you’re raw! That drives me.”
5. As an independent artist, how has it been for you to thrive in the current state of Indian hip-hop?
“I’ve come far, developed myself as an artist. Being an independent artist in Mumbai is difficult — financially, in terms of recognition, and all that. But we keep going!”
6. Speaking of Mumbai, you come from a city that obviously has a strong hip-hop industry. So, I wanted to know, who are the artists in your city that inspired you?
“Honestly, it has to be Divine. He is raw! He is hip-hop! He lives hip-hop. I mean, I’ve been in the scene for a long time! I’ve seen Divine from the B3 days to where he is now. It’s inspiring!”
7. Your music reflects versatility. I mean, ‘Perspective’ is such a well-executed debut project. However, it appears that recently, you’ve been leaning towards more lyrical content. What are your future plans for your sound?
“Well, that’s a great question! Music is vast. ‘Perspective’ is based on Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. The songs resonate with the three elements of the theory — Id, Ego, and Superego. However, it was thought of as a relatively cinematic EP, so even if you look at the total time of the EP, it’s 13:13. It was deliberate.
Coming to versatility, I love conceptual stuff. I never just pick a beat and write up a song. It has to have a concept, a meaning behind it. Also, this was a lesson from my EP; I need to have more songs. With each song, my penmanship has grown stronger. That’s the focus for the future now. I aim to be someone like J. Cole.”
8. Where do you hope your music career takes you?
“Big! Big places, big crowds, a big house, a big ring, everything big! Haha, I guess that’s why people do what they do. More importantly, I hope my parents someday realize all of this, what I’ve been doing.”
9. And what kind of impact do you hope to leave on the industry when people think of Inspectah Gracious?
“When people hear about Inspectah G, they should feel powerful, especially every woman. They should feel even more inspired. This should become a movement! Most importantly, a lyrical genius!”
10. What can listeners expect from Inspectah G? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations planned that you would like to share with us?
“Add my songs to your playlist. Fasten your seatbelts because I’m about to introduce something new, especially never before heard in India. I have a few collaborations in the works (can’t reveal names right now!). I’m actively working on it. Also, I’ll be releasing a Deluxe version of my EP, ‘Perspective.’”