With a new fleet of rappers bursting on the scene, it’s no easy feat to make music that stands out. However, one listen to Kalam Ink, and it’s clear why the young rapper has blown up. Atul Dobhal, better known as Kalam Ink, is a 25-year-old rapper from Dehradun who is quickly becoming a prominent face in the Indian emo rap scene. With a unique blend of emo trap and pop music, he’s very much in a league of his own. Through an unconventional rap style, Kalam Ink has carved out a specially designed path. He shot to higher fame in 2021-22 by incorporating impactful storytelling in his music.
And after a considerably longer wait, Kalam Ink’s highly anticipated album, ‘Kold World’ released July 6th, 2023, is the first of the artist’s well-planned creative input. Before even diving into the music on the new project, the album cover paints a clear imagery of Kalam Ink’s lifestyle and his supporters’ love for him. It implies that Kalam Ink is beginning a new chapter in his career and he’s bringing it close to a noticeably grander fashion. With 2 major features, 11 songs, and a runtime of 36 minutes, Kold World takes you on an emotion-driven rollercoaster.
Kalam Ink Kold World Album Review
Starting with the intro – ‘Indian Cole’ – which is arguably an average opening track for the project. But Kalam Ink’s unflinching honesty and infectious penmanship sternly remind of the weight the title of the song carries. Greyybass’ instrumental isn’t bad at all, but it wasn’t the perfect pick for this song with Kalam Ink’s high-pitched singing vocals being the only alternation in the whole composition.
On the following cut, Kalam picks up the intensity and adds some much-needed dynamism with some hard-hitting one-liners — like, ‘Main jo bhi karu jeevan mein main uska khudse zimmedaar, Sabse pehle khudko rakhun uske baad pariwaar’ and ‘Halaat karte hain yahan time test, main Kohli jaisa khelunga Dhoni ka rakh ke mindset’ — that exemplifies the Dehradun rapper’s way of thinking and confidence in his words. Between his positive approach and his unfiltered rawness, Kalam Ink is an artist who looks at right and wrong with a B&W lens. Production-wise, the song doesn’t offer anything apart from the J Cole-type instrumental, and the poor mix of track which creates a gaping hole at the center of the composition.
‘God talking’ unfortunately widens the gaping hole to the point where no amount of lyricism could ever hope to fill. Even though the song has excellent flows and attention-grabbing bars, it fails because Kalam’s lyrics are not clearly audible — the song is so poorly mixed that Kalam Ink’s presence hardly registers among the track’s loud vocal sample and piano instrumental, resulting in a below average experience. Surprisingly, in the next cut, ‘Industry Talk’, everything seems so on point. With an incredible soundscape, Kalam pours cohesive flavors while preaching, making it a melodious worship. Due to the last three tracks’ lackluster quality, the song may not be a grand slam, but it still provides an impressive moment that the project needed. Over the next handful of tracks, Kalam Ink experiments with distinct sounds and vibes to deliver better songs.
Next comes ‘Ra Ta Ta’, produced by Greyybass that offers a gripping and fun alternative to Kalam Ink’s Lo-Fi soundscapes, and it makes the rapper appear more locked in than he was throughout the opening stretch. The track comes with a sensational Bella feature, and his strong guest spot elevates the vibes and makes the song stand out. With “Fame Talks,” Kalam Ink shows off his ability to seamlessly ride a terrific beat made by Placidchills while once again stepping outside of his comfort zone. It’s a celebration of hustlers and with a constant flow, intelligent writing, and redefined delivery, it’s worth noting that Kalam demonstrated brilliant rapping and singing skills on ‘Fame Talks’.
On “Two Poles,” the artist comes back to his signature sound and touches on the reality of our society over a decent Lo-Fi beat. Interestingly enough, the featured artist on this track is Kidshot, and while Kalam’s verse offers a great depth to the song, Kidshot steals the show with a torrent of quotable lines — from ‘Bata mujhe kaise karun main party bro, jab jeb mein nahi paise aur behen ki karni shaadi ho’ to ‘Aadhi raat ko maar kar do kash main/jhoothe main nahi kisi ko du kasme, bande saare mujhe bolein ki main hu farzi/mila heera jab bhi kiya maine soul search hi’. Kalam Ink wisely picked the collaborations on ‘Kold World’ rather than overstuffing his album with unneeded guest verses, and both the features — from Bella and Kidshot — are very impressive.
If there’s one thing you can count on from a Kalam Ink composition, it’s his heart-wrenching poetry that can give you a cathartic cry. With the next 3 songs — ‘Kya Me’, ‘Khuda’ and ‘Night Talking’, the rising star keeps up the tradition on his album where he explores the split in the various stages of grief. The frigid depiction of his personal experiences creates a solitary atmosphere of heartbreak while he pleads for peace. ‘Kya Me’ captures a soulful composition, while ‘Khuda’ and ‘Night Talking’ encapsulates his pain and disappointment with a vivid depiction of his home life and other issues. And to finish off the album, ‘Industry Talk Freestyle Raw’ goes into a cloudier route with somber instrumentals that feel quite underwhelming and redundant.
As this is his debut full-length project, Kalam Ink has worked tirelessly to put himself in a league of his own, and maybe ‘Kold World’ is the result of that. Over the course of 11 songs, he doesn’t focus on holding your attention because he knows he has already succeeded in doing so. As a result, ‘Kold World’ isn’t one of the best DHH albums of the year, but an experimental debut project from musician who is improving with the pace of light. The album can be best characterized by its rawness, quotable lyrics, and certain emotionally intense moments. This record is a delight for Kalam Ink’s fast growing fan base since he is a people’s champion