© Ali Bharmal
10 moments that defined Seedhe Maut’s career in hip-hop
Encore ABJ and Calm have blazed through the Indian hip-hop scene. These are some pivotal moments in their career as the duo known as Seedhe Maut.
Seedhe Maut were Masters of Ceremony at Red Bull Spotlight where mentor sessions, workshops and challenges, as well as the finale of Red Bull Spotlight 2020, were documented in a six-part series. Click here to know more about the series and where you can watch it.
Over the last decade, desi hip-hop has emerged as a dominant force in the Indian cultural landscape.
However, we’re yet to see the pinnacle of this artistic movement and Seedhe Maut, the Delhi-based creative force behind some of the biggest critical and commercial records we’ve seen in recent times, might just help us get a glimpse into what the future holds for hip-hop talent emerging from the sub-continent.
Seedhe Maut’s rise to the top of the desi hip-hop pyramid has been unprecedented, with the duo moving at lightning fast speed – dropping critically-acclaimed mixtapes, albums and singles, and creating a community of fans from across the country under the #SeedheMautNation banner. The duo’s mastery of the art of delivering razor-sharp, combative flows and fraternal chemistry has seen them become a dominant creative entity, receiving international recognition from the likes of VICE and DJ Mag.
We caught up with Encore ABJ and Calm to discuss the top moments that have come to define Seedhe Maut’s journey to the top.
Meeting at Spit Dope Inc
The duo first crossed paths at Spit Dope Inc – Delhi’s premier underground battle rap league. Back then, only Calm’s friends knew him to be a budding rapper. He was suggested to attend the now-iconic event at Deer Park in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi, which had been conceptualised by MC Kode and Encore ABJ in an attempt to galvanise the scattered community of hip-hop artists in Delhi. That first cypher featured the likes of Yungsta, Encore, Kode and several others, as well as a hesitant Calm who, after choking at first, delivered a freestyle that caught the attention of his future partner-in-crime.
The formation of Seedhe Maut
Encore and Calm started hanging out at Calm’s place, bunking college and discovering their love for hip-hop and how they’re creative visions aligned. The duo set out to create a groundbreaking new act that would bring together fans of both Hindi and English hip-hop. The name came from Calm’s elder brother Sahil and his group of friends, who used to drop the slang "Seedhe Maut" when speaking about their adventures from the night before.
Meeting Sez On The Beat
Any story about Seedhe Maut’s journey would be incomplete without mentioning the pivotal role played by Delhi-based production phenom Sez On the Beat. The producer behind hits such as Class-Sikh, ‘Mere Gully Mein’, ‘Class-Sikh Maut Vol. II’ and many, many more groundbreaking records, joined forces with Seedhe Maut and helped them navigate their first steps into the industry. He helped shape their sound and they eventually created one of the best albums desi hip-hop has seen till date.
Dropping the 2 Ka Pahada mixtape
Seedhe Maut made their first waves in the scene with the release of the 2 Ka Pahada mixtape in May 2017. On the back of the lead single ‘Seedhe Maut Anthem’, the duo announced themselves to the independent music scene at large, bringing a ferocity and candour that had thus far been missing from the slew of hip-hop projects released during that time period.
Signing with Azadi Records
After the release of their debut mixtape 2 Ka Pahada, Seedhe Maut joined forces with independent record label Azadi Records, who had just come off releasing fellow Delhi-based hip-hop artist Prabh Deep’s debut album Class-Sikh, produced in collaboration with Sez On The Beat.
Calm switches to Hindi
A seminal moment in the history of Seedhe Maut. Calm, who had thus far written and performed in English, was asked by his manager to write a verse in Hindi for ‘Class-Sikh Maut Vol. II’ after hearing him drop a few bars in a freestyle. What followed was a night of recording that saw a hesitant Calm grow in confidence as he proceeded to deliver one of the best verses in Indian hip-hop history.
Their debut album Bayaan
A confessional masterpiece, ‘Bayaan’, Seedhe Maut’s debut album produced in collaboration with Sez On The Beat, is a testament to the power of the stories that the Indian youth has to share with the world. Produced over a one-year period, ‘Bayaan’ saw the duo craft an album that earned critical acclaim and touched the hearts of audiences across the country.
Gigs at Control ALT Delete and Above The Habitat
After releasing ‘Bayaan’, the duo had only one thing on their mind; they wanted to break the barrier that most hip-hop acts in the country had struggled with – the live show. Seedhe Maut cemented their rise to the top by delivering an exhilarating show at independent music festival Control ALT Delete, as well as performances that are still considered to be the benchmark for live hip-hop in the country at Mumbai’s Above The Habitat venue.
Touring the country
Seedhe Maut has really been determined in their efforts to take hip-hop to every corner of India. The duo have toured around the country extensively and performed in over 14 cities in India. They have gone as far as Srinagar, Haflong and more, where most other hip-hop acts have not been before.
Calm takes up production
Seedhe Maut’s recent elevation in sound came about when Calm took over production duties on songs such as ‘101’, ‘Ball’ and ‘Namastute’. Developing a signature style that’s minimalistic yet supremely effective in communicating the duo’s ferocity, Calm’s arrival as a producer in the Indian music scene has opened up another dimension in Seedhe Maut’s sonic capabilities.