The music scene in Delhi has been ever-evolving, but its imprint in Hip Hop is cemented. We have long celebrated voices that emerged from the city only to become leaders in the culture, and Shyko Music is ready for his close up. If you’re deep in the Delhi hip-hop scene, you might have already heard his remarkable recent release, ‘Must Weep Or Die,’ or more recently, blazing collaboration with popular rapper J.Hind.
The Amethi, Uttar Pradesh stand out has been on the grind long before he began infusing diverse sounds and genres into his music. His evolution as an artist led him to join the rap crew We Are Apex, and together, they dropped ‘Welcome To Gentlemen’s Club,’ an album featuring 10 rappers. In a recent conversation, Shyko shared insights about the influence of Ghazals and Sufi songs during his upbringing, his EP ‘Must Weep Or Die,’ and offered a glimpse into his upcoming projects and musical journey. Read our exclusive interview below, and be sure to stream ‘Must Weep Or Die‘ here.
This conversation was edited and condensed for clarity.
Shyko Music Interview
1. Could you please tell me about yourself and how your musical journey began? Also, tell me about We Are Apex and ‘Gentlemen’s Club.’
“My name is Sudhanshu Pandey, and I was born in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. When I was in the fourth grade, I moved to Noida in pursuit of a better education and more opportunities in life. My musical journey began when I was 17 years old. I started writing lyrics, and my friends praised my early attempts, which motivated me to continue. In 2019, I released my first song.
We Are Apex is a collective consisting of 11 artists, with some specializing in production and others in rap. It was initially founded by two individuals, Prophet and Mr. Snob. Over time, I joined the group, along with several other talented artists. Together, we collaborated to create our first collective album, titled ‘Welcome To Gentlemen’s Club,’ which was released in 2021.”
2. What genres of music did you grow up listening to, and who are the key influences that have shaped your musical style?
“Well, my father used to listen to Ghazals and Sufi songs when I was a kid. I believe that those genres had a significant influence on my musical tastes. When I began exploring rap music, I started with artists like Bohemia, Raftaar, and IKKA. Later on, I expanded my musical horizons and began listening to artists such as Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Frank Ocean, and many more. These artists have been major influences on my music.”
3. Could you share the story behind your new project, ‘Must Weep Or Die,’ and describe your experience working on it?
“I’ve always wanted to create a project like “Must Weep Or Die,” where I could pour my heart into the music.
The idea for this collaborative EP came about when Kaafir and I decided to work together. ANA is a dear friend of ours, and we had always wanted to collaborate with her. The three of us came together to create this project. Ayush Dehliwal played a crucial role in producing all four tracks, as well as handling the mixing and mastering.
‘Must Weep Or Die’ is a project that delves into the themes of pain and love. It’s an exploration of love, highlighting how we celebrate it despite the wounds it can sometimes inflict upon us.”
4. Can you describe your creative process when composing a new song, and how do you go about merging different genres to create a cohesive musical experience?
“When I begin working on a song, my creative process is a blend of both heart and mind. I draw inspiration from nature, as I find it speaks to me in a unique way. I believe that if something cannot speak, you can hear whatever message you need from it. Therefore, my music is often inspired by my observations of the natural world, which allows me to engage in a kind of conversation with myself and my surroundings.
Since my childhood, I have been exposed to various musical genres, including Ghazal, Sufi songs, and Lok Geet. As I grew older, I started exploring genres like hip-hop, jazz, funk, and many others. The music I create is essentially a fusion of all these influences. While some genres may have a more pronounced impact on a particular song, I consider every genre I’ve listened to as having a role in shaping my music in some way or another.”
5. How would you characterize your musical style and what makes it distinctive? Additionally, could you share your future plans for evolving your sound?
“I strive to create music that reflects my inner emotions and often draws inspiration from nature. What sets me apart is my ability to explore various sounds and genres, but my true passion lies in writing poetry and infusing it with different musical styles. This allows me to offer something fresh and unique to both my audience and myself. Additionally, I also engage in Sanskrit rap, which further distinguishes my work from others.”
6. Okay, could you share some of the artists who consistently top your playlists, and also highlight some of your favorite underground artists who you believe deserve more recognition?
“Yes, I listen to a diverse range of artists, including legends like Mehndi Hasan Sahab, Gheorghe Zamfir, Percy Faith, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Frank Sinatra, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh, Steve Lacy, Kanye West, Jean Dawson, and songs by Lata Mangeshkar.
In the hip-hop scene, I have a deep appreciation for artists like Encore ABJ, Talha Anjum, Bohemia, and Shikriwal. I genuinely believe that the entire underground music scene is incredibly vibrant and talented. India being a vast country, it’s essential for more people to explore and support the underground scene so that all the deserving artists can receive the recognition they truly deserve.”
7. Are there any ongoing projects or collaborations you’re currently involved in that you’d like to share with us?
“I’m currently focused on working on my solo album, which is dedicated to poetic expression and delivering authentic and pure music. Additionally, ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ album will be released before my solo album, and I have plans to release my next EP as well. I’m also engaged in collaborations with various artists, both from the mainstream and underground music scenes, which I’m excited about.”
8. What are your goals for your music career, and where do you envision yourself in the future?
“Well, my goals are quite straightforward. I aim to consistently create excellent music and continue evolving with each new release. I want to produce songs that not only resonate with me but also connect with audiences on a deep level. In the future, I see myself producing even better and more impactful music, continuing to grow and evolve in my music career.”
9. Is there something about you that people might find surprising or unexpected?
“One surprising fact about me is that I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Sanskrit, and I can rap in Sanskrit. Also, many of my song ideas are inspired by my dreams, which might also come as a surprise to some people.”
10. What are your favorite topics to write about?
“My favorite topics to write about in my music are love, life, and the exploration of reality.”