A Devil is Born: TheVibe Explores IncInk’s Latest Signing
With a roster of genre-defining artists from around the country, IncInk Records welcomes a fresh talent in the form of Abhay Prasad, aka Devil The Rhymer. Born from the darkest depths of societal injustice and personal struggles, the 21-year-old Devil rises, a dark phoenix from the ashes. With a lyrical flow that combines a truly melancholic sonic identity with the fast-paced linguistic stylings of a man who, with every line in every verse, combats social inequalities and the inherent hypocrisies of political systems with a style that can be likened to an all-out poetic assault.
°A Devil is Born
Hailing from the busy streets of Delhi, the young Devil began penning his rhymes over 7 years ago, a secret respite from his outwardly shy, and non-confrontational personality.
“I was a very innocent boy, I would never curse, and I feared confronting people.” Abhay explains, “I had been writing for much longer than people knew, but I was terrified at the thought of performing. I was the kind of kid that knew the answers in the classroom, but never raised my hand when the teacher asked.”
As any introverted child will tell you, high-school can be a cruel, unfriendly place. To the young Devil, this duality between his outward demeanour, coupled with his burning inner desire to express, was a silent battle that raged within him every day. Finding parallels between his experiences and that of the cartoon superheroes he would watch on TV, who, though appearing bespectacled, afraid, and socially awkward, could transform into something entirely other with the mere slipping of a ring on a finger or a quick outfit change in a nearby phone booth or restroom stall, Abhay was inspired to create a new personality for himself.
“I decided I needed a superhero name- a name for this other side of me, one that’s dangerous, that people would fear just by hearing it,” Abhay explains, “I thought, if I picked a scary name and acted like it fitted me, I’d be less scared, and more scary.”
With the title of Devil bestowed upon him by his brother, Abhay knew that this new title needed something more, something that would help him confront those who had long since disregarded him.
“God, in my opinion, is a good guy, an innocent guy, and I was all that stuff already, but that didn’t seem to matter to them.” Abhay explains, “I didn’t want to be God-like, I wanted to deal with them the way the dealt with me- through fear. I wanted to be a monster, a rakshas, a Devil. But what does the Devil do? The Devil that I am, he rhymes. That’s how he deals with you.”
°A Sonic (R)evolution
As we chat over the phone, Abhay explains that his sonic journey of self-expression and introspection began when Hip-Hop found him, and not the other way around. Penning his rhymes without a beat for many years, Abhay’s first true exposure to the genre came when he sent in a verse for a Jack and Jones commercial featuring actor and Co-founder of IncInk Records, Ranveer Singh, which was directed by IncInk Co-founder Navzar Eranee, for a track which would soon materialise into the powerful and punchy, Don’t Hold Back 2.0 released in 2017.
“I had no boundaries to adhere to, and I wasn’t aware of the speed with which I was expected to rap. I just did whatever I was comfortable with, and soon I found out that, to other people, my speed was something extraordinary.” Abhay says.
His fast-paced lyrical assault soon garnered the attention of fans around the nation, who flooded the comments with praises, in utter disbelief that a greenhorn such as himself could deliver with the speed and intensity displayed on the iconic track.
“People would say, You rap so fast, how do you do it? and that they couldn’t manage it themselves. I didn’t have a trick to it, there was no secret method- it was just normal to me.” Abhay says. “I didn’t think too much about it, the beat would begin, and so would I,”
Taking inspiration from the rappers with whom he was acquainted, and slowly learning the intricacies of song structure, bar progressions, flow variations and more, Abhay stood on the precipice of a wildly successful career, prepared to set the scene ablaze with his unique style and manic flow. Two days before the release of the gargantuan track, tragedy struck, and Abhay’s life and career would never be the same.
A constant mentor figure in his life and a vocal supporter of his dreams and aspirations, Abhay’s father met with a tragic accident just days prior to the release of the track Don’t Hold Back 2.0, leaving the young boy devastated.
“I will always regret that he didn’t get to hear the track and that he won’t get to see who I become, and what I do with my life,” Abhay explains. Taking a year-long hiatus from his art, Abhay bounced back with a fiery determination to make his father proud, using his music as an outlet for his pain, as well as a vehicle with which to honour his father’s memory.
“Today, every single one of my tracks has my father in them, I always dedicate a line to him. He didn’t get to hear my songs, but he will always be a big part of every single one of them.” Abhay says “This is why I love writing my raps. Whether its sadness, love, regret or anger, it all comes out in my writing. I may not be able to say it to someone’s face, but I can put it into song.”
°Rhyme and Reason
Drawing inspiration from rappers the likes of Eminem, Badshah and Raftaar, Abhay found something lacking in the form of expression, something he couldn’t quite place a finger on. That was until he heard Indian rapper Ikka’s confessional track Sapne, which expounded on the lyricists deeply personal struggles, from his family to his friends and relatives.
“I felt like he was talking about my life, about the things I’ve faced, and for the first time, I had found an outlet for my own personal problems, and that outlet was my creativity, and my music,” Abhay explains.
Inspired by this confessional style of personal and societal revolutionary writing, Devil began translating his many personal experiences and deep-seated grievances into poetry.
“Hip-Hop is about telling the truth, your truth, and it’s about explaining things to people, and educating them about life from a different perspective. It’s about the mistakes you make and the things you learn from them, and it’s about teaching the audience to learn from them too.”
When asked about his recent signing to IncInk Records, the rapper expresses his uncontainable sense of excitement at what is to come. “I don’t have words, I haven’t been able to sleep at night. I am so excited.” Abhay says, “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for so long, I’ve been counting the days for what seems like forever. Now that’s it’s finally happening, I can barely contain myself.”
Devil The Rhymer is set to release his inner demons on record later this year, making his debut later this week with the powerful IncInk Cypher: Mehfil-E-HipHop, alongside roster artists, Kaam Bhaari, Spitfire and SlowCheeta, music produced by Nuka (Anushka Manchanda). The collaboration, spanning different cities across the nation, from concept to execution started under the current COVID-19 lockdown in India.
Watch this space for more!
All images used in this article are courtesy of Abhay Prasad and IncInk Records and belong rightfully to their original owners.
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