Kavithai Gundar or Lyrical Gangster is Tamil's first hip-hop album by Emcee Jesz. A Studio 8 production, the album featurs a slew of artists such as Neha Bhasin, Yogi B, Benny Dayal and others. It's certainly an attempt at something different. Here's a look at what KG has to offer:
The intro song, a brief number bursts upon you in the form of Vetri Kalanjiyan, true to genre, which mixes a short introduction of hip-hop itself.
It's Kavithai Gundar, however, featuring Yogi B, which does manage to interest you. Lyrics from Andavan Padaichan is a surprise, and once you get used to the staccato beats, you try to lend an ear to the lyrics, which you can enjoy, after a fashion. Pity there isn't much to boast of them, after a while.
Neha Bhasin's Thaniye begins very well, even if it's a tune you've heard often. She and Emcee Jesz make a brisk number, if only you could actually make out the lyrics. And when you do, surprise, suprise, it turns out to be a sensuous romantic number.
As you run swiftly through Bad Boy, featuring MC Loga, you find out that's a common trait of all the numbers.
Without you, featuring Mista Gee is about the departure of a beloved. It contains an interpolation of Devathai Ilam Devi, an Ilaiyaraja number but provides for an interesting blend of melody, and Shobhana Nair's additional vocals add a poignant touch to the song.
It might be a bit bizarre to have Masta K and Kalaikkodi rapping their hearts about Lord Muruga, but by now, the album has you firmly in your grip, and you can't help but give yourself to its rhythm. Kalaikkodi's vocals, in fact, bring a welcome, melodious break to the number, a mixture of English and Tamil, complete with tape, tavil and urumi, adding the folk touch.
Chahathey, featuring Neha Bhasin is a re-worked version of Thaniye, in Hindi, with Emcee Jesz switching to Tamil. There's even a Telugu version called Nuvu.
The faintly Arabic-sounding Enna Sangathey, featuring Shamini, conforms to form as well.
Khadhal Kaviye, featuring Mista Gee and MC Loga is a brisk, entertaining romantic number which really sets you jiving. It is certainly a welcome departure from the previous songs.
A very proper homage to the Goddess Tamil sets off Ayutha Ezhuthu, productive of some humour as nothing could be farther from pure Tamil than the pronunciations, but what the heck, this is hip-hop, as they say. Psycho Mantra and Benny Dayal do a creditable job of rousing the average Tamizhan's spirit to fever pitch, borrowing liberally from Bharathiyar's immortal lines.
Dedicated to HIV infected children, Look Wat Happened begins with a news headline in Tamil. It is an intriguing number rapped in tandem by Lil Empire, T Millan, Da Real and Sanksrit. The lyrics do grab you unawares, creating quite an impact.
A quirky couple of lines from the evergreen movie Navarathri kicks off Uptown, featuring Young Ruff, which is a regular number, with its thundering beats.
Kavithai Gundar with rhythm ruling supreme, is hip-hop the Tamil way, dipped in near incomprehensible lyrics and liberal English. Emcee Jesz seems to have understood the allure of filmi music and slathered plenty of it into his album, which gives it s slightly different twang.