RJ Rohit from Indigomusic.com caught up with indie rapper and music producer, Samir Rishu Mohanty who performs under the fairly self-appraising moniker, Big Deal. He was born to an Odia father and a Japanese mother and hails from Bangalore.
Big Deal happened when a bullied adolescent watched 8 Mile on a movie night in his boarding school in Darjeeling. He had no idea that the film would shake him up and inspire him to start rapping. Although he was familiar with Eminem’s music, it was the film’s portrayal of rap culture that piqued his interest. Mohanty released a rap song called ‘One Kid’ about ten years later, which reflected the turmoil he carried with him everywhere he went: never completely belonging.
‘Mu Heli Odia’ (I am Odia) arrived nine months later. The song, a tribute to his hometown and his most popular hit to date, resonated with Odisha fans like never before, allowing him to recover his identity, which he had finally truly discovered. Samir believed that his state deserved more representation in Indian pop culture. At a period when all mainstream rap artists were making music in English, Mohanty decided to join the “rap revolution” and do things a little differently.
Big Deal’s music frequently touches upon topics such as identity, culture and racism. He raps in Hindi, English, and Odia, and isn’t afraid to talk about prejudice towards North East Indians, violence against women, and other topics that are considered taboo in India.
He has won various awards, including Radio City Freedom Best Hip Hop Artist 2016, Sennheiser Top 25 Artist in India, and the Renault Free the Music Contest. He has collaborated with famous artists like Sneha Khanwalkar, Shraddha Sharma, Blaaze and Adnan Sami. He has also worked on Bollywood films like ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy’. He’s done India tours, appeared on channels like VH1, MTV, and 9XO, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, Rock Street Journal, and practically every newspaper. As a music producer, he has made songs for well-known companies such as Colgate, Nissan Datsun Redigo, Tixdo, and Red FM.
He recently released an eponymous album with 9 tracks, where he lets go of his alter ego and becomes Samir Rishu Mohanty, the person he was born to be. It’s autobiographical and sheds light on his life journey where he struggled with identity crisis while growing up, until music paved the way for him in finding his actual self. The record is a beautiful combination of Indian instruments and Hip Hop that stays true to his roots.
Big Deal is always finding new territories in rap music which according to him, is an outlet for his emotions. He had collaborated with Sunidhi Chauhan on a new music video which will be released on Valentine’s day. Stay tuned for more lockdown music from Big Deal, scheduled for release in the mid of this year.
RJ Rohit caught up with indie rapper Big Deal. Check out the video below.