Monday, May 20, 2024

Panther: There are hip-hop enthusiasts in villages too

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Artist Panther, who recently made a memorable appearance in MTV’s Hustle 2.0, takes us through becoming a household name through his work, following Badshah like an avid henchman, his upcoming projects, and more.

SHIKHA DUGGAL

Anubhav Shukla aka Panther’s meteoric rise to fame has captivated the music industry. Hailing from a small village in Uttar Pradesh, Panther’s journey is a testament to his unwavering passion for hip-hop music, relentless hard work, and exceptional lyricism.

“For the past seven years, I am being called Panther in the market—I like this vocation. A panther in real life is wild, they are powerful and so am I. This is an animal streak in me that led to the listing of this stage name. I am carrying forward wild animal spirits whenever I perform! Running far off, chasing for your dreams is a panther characteristic, it’s me.”

Panther’s remarkable talent first caught the attention of audiences when he made a memorable appearance on MTV’s renowned show, judged by none other than the legendary rapper Badshah for Hustle 2.0. With his infectious rhymes and diverse rapping style, he quickly became a household name, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of fans worldwide. “That reality television show based on rap culture was the main catalyst in turning me into who I am today. Earlier I was doing underground music with merely three thousand views. And those listeners were not even considerable because they knew nothing about rap culture, I am sure. But when I appeared on national television — the nation’s eyes were on me! I started to get meaningful messages from those solid listeners who understood the essentials of rap. There were some who even resonated with my background story. The messages were also coming from so many villages, especially when I sang Bhasad. There are hip-hop enthusiasts in villages too, unbelievable right? Truly, I make music for my authentic audiences which also includes many of my acolytes from villages.”

His performances not only won the hearts of the viewers but also garnered him a massive following on social media, where he had been producing his own music as an individual artist for several years prior to his breakthrough. He adds, “I used to follow Badshah like an avid henchman. And then I was meeting him every day, an unforgettable experience. Performing for him! Even if he used to criticize me, meant a lot. He used to note down all the reviews all of us were receiving on the show, that’s how involved he was in scooping for new talent in the industry. After the shoot used to end, he was still very associated with it. He enlightened all of us with insights into how this industry really works! Because, after becoming a stage star it’s very important to understand the functioning of where we were heading to, especially a small-town lad.”

With millions of views on his top original songs, Panther’s musical prowess has been acknowledged by music aficionados. Additionally, he has graced the airwaves of renowned radio stations too making guest appearances that further solidify his growing popularity. Moreover, “The songs Oh My God and Sunti Kaha Hai were my originals. There was a girl in my life who refused to listen to me and I made the latter. Rap isn’t so common in my hometown, so when Oh My God came out in public — it went viral in my village too. There is a persistent rap culture even in my hometown but none of them knows how to channelise their streak. And, when I returned, they were dumbfounded on realising how have I turned my personal experiences felt there into the line of music.”

His electrifying stage presence and dedication to his craft have also led him to perform in shows and gigs all over the country, captivating audiences with his original hits. Our exclusive conversation continued, “Our rap industry is finally heading to its peak — the era of the independent music scene is here. Demographics have changed so much, all of us are embracing hip-hop! Only shows like MTV Hustle and Bigg Boss are there to nuzzle this culture openly. I am steadily making statements with my raps and hungry for more.”

Panther is ready to excite his audience with the best music, thanks to his unusual hip-hop style and rich voice. He’s aiming to become one of the hip-hop genre’s most adaptable rappers, constantly pushing boundaries and putting on outstanding shows that deeply impact his audience. And, “Over-saturation will only occur when something becomes popular. So, mainstream creators in our country who previously couldn’t resonate with hip-hop culture are now caressing it as one of the most popular genres! I just don’t want opportunistic rhymers to enter into our hood. Bootleggers have always existed in this industry as far as I know but authenticity will always resound to the top.”

Panther has two exciting new releases coming out that will further showcase his artistry. In the final week of June his eagerly awaited new single, Samajh Rai Hain, with Spectra, is scheduled for release. This collaboration promises to be a musical masterpiece that will captivate audiences! “Right now, I don’t idolise anyone. Looking up is very different from idolising. I correspond a lot with J. Cole in the West! There is nobody like him in our country yet. Why can I not hero-worship my father, instead? His principles are so upright! And, it’s not always that rap songs are able to tally with societal concerns. There is vulnerability and a form of storytelling too, we tend to look beyond it these days because listeners want to hear statements!” Excitingly, Panther and Sony Music are once again partnering for his upcoming track, Pagal Ay, featuring the talented Shahat Gill. This energetic and captivating song is set to be released on June 14, showcasing his versatility and knack for creating catchy tunes.

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