Thursday, July 25, 2024

Yung Sammy showcases cultural and linguistic versatility with his single ‘Intro’

Musicians possess the ingenuity to transform their piquant situations into songs, just as Yung Sammy did. “I have always been asked, ‘Bhai, aapko Hindi kaisi aati hai (Brother, how do you know Hindi)?, reveals the Nigerian-born, Delhi-based rapper Yung Sammy, who laughingly says in chaste Hindi, Maine socha, ek din mujhe is vibe ke upar ek track banana padega, (I thought, I have to create a track about this vibe). The result is the rap single ‘Intro’.

Written by Sammy and released under the label Desi Trill, ‘Intro’ reflects his journey in India, not just in the music industry but overall. “I wanted to introduce myself, as my music marked a new phase in my journey. The track also shows I am proficient in Punjabi, English, Gujjari, and Haryanvi. It was an experimental venture, especially with me rapping in Haryanvi for the first time,” says Sammy, aka Samuel Lloyds, who has been livingin India for over 15 years with his family.

“Learning Hindi felt very natural. I love Indian culture and always tried to adapt to it, even in school. Like everyone else, I had issues with Hindi maatra at first. But then, all of a sudden, it started to come together. Speaking with my friends, exchanging words; dheere dheere aane laga (it came gradually). Slowly, I began speaking it fluently. After that, Hindi rapping came naturally,” says Sammy, whose inspiration was Honey Singh. “The first Hindi rap I heard was Honey Singh’s ‘Brown Rang’. I was like, what’s this? This is different; it’s rhyming in Hindi. I already knew Hindi by then, so it was exciting and fun. I started learning more about artistes such as Bohemia and Mafia Mundeer. I need to do something like this. So, I started writing on my own.”

Faith matters

Yung Sammy stands by the faith and morals imbibed by his family

Yung Sammy stands by the faith and morals imbibed by his family
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Special arrangement

Ironically, Sammy’s journey into music began in the church pews. As the son of a pastor, his upbringing shaped his journey as a person and a musician. Church visits on Sunday, praying before leaving home, and the Grace before the meal have always been a norm. “My family has a religious background, and my sister is a choir member in the church. Our music wasn’t connected to rap or hip-hop. I was apprehensive about informing my parents about my interest in rap,” laughs Sammy, who enjoys their full support now. “I am not into alcohol. People’s perception of rappers often comes from the actions and images portrayed by some in the industry, which can lead to stereotypes. But it’s important to remember that being a rapper, like any other profession, doesn’t define you completely as a person. How you conduct yourself, your messages, and your life truly matters.”

Before reintroducing himself through the track ‘Intro’, Sammy began his journey into the experimental, unique, and vibrant rap and hip-hop sounds with a series of tracks showcasing his evolving style. When faced with the disappointment of being dropped from the MTV Hustles show, it would have been easy for him to lose faith in his craft. Yet, he channelled his energy into creating ‘4×4,’ a track that would catapult him into the spotlight. His encounter with Shabz Naqvi, cofounder of the Desi Trill, and the subsequent label deal with Universal Music Group in the US underscores the power of perseverance.

“While there have been challenges, I’ve also received a lot of acceptance and support from the Indian audience,” he acknowledges, adding, “I choose to ignore negative comments about me because you cannot address all. It is the mentality and the place they come from. So, that is not even a challenge. I feel it is not about India; it’s about the individual. I’ve received more love than challenges.”

Dreams aplenty

Despite being inclined towards music from childhood, Sammy never anticipated becoming a rapper; he aspired to be a marine engineer like his father, relishing the idea of travelling. Shifting gears, he pursued international relations in college, aiming for a career as a diplomat or ambassador due to his passion for international affairs and travel. Despite the twists, he still traverses the globe, proving that life doesn’t always unfold as expected.

Sammy’s multicultural background offers him a unique advantage, providing him with a distinctive perspective and sound that sets him apart from other musicians in India, Nigeria and globally. He highlights how his fluency in Hindi adds another layer to his appeal, especially in the diverse entertainment landscape of India. “My multicultural background is a huge asset to my music career. It is my USP. In the entertainment industry, everyone’s looking for something different. There’s so much competition, especially with all the rappers emerging. I don’t want to rely solely on my USP. Sure, it’s been working great for me, but I also want to be known as an artiste whose music speaks for itself. I want people to hear my voice and instantly recognise it, even if they don’t know what I look like. That’s the kind of impact I strive for.”

Repertoire rise

Sammy is pushing boundaries and exploring genres beyond hip-hop. He’s lined up some commercial tracks, including a Bollywood-type song called ‘Tension mat le,’ which is a total departure from his usual style. “It is a proper Bollywood track, something unexpected from me. And then there are some pop tracks where I’m singing instead of rapping. It’s all about trying new things and seeing where it takes me. Usually, artists stick to one genre because they fear how people will react. However, for me, it’s about staying true to myself and experimenting with different sounds that still resonate with my persona. My upcoming EP, dropping late next month, is a mix of hip hop, pop, and some surprises I can’t wait for everyone to hear.”

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