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Class of 2023: Prabh Deep on the evolution of his music

The 29-year-old homegrown rapper extraordinaire, PRABH DEEP, speaks about his musical influences, creative process, and why he doesn’t want to be labelled an activist.   

The 29-year-old homegrown rapper extraordinaire, PRABH DEEP, speaks about his musical influences, creative process, and why he doesn’t want to be labelled an activist. 

Cosmo: What inspired you to make music?

Prabh Deep: “I have had a penchant for music since childhood. I started making music right after high school, but before pursuing it professionally, I worked a lot of different jobs—and all those corporate jobs felt like dead ends. I realised that I needed to do something I love, and music is what I am good at... My biggest motivation to pursue music was the endless learning possibilities, and that’s what I love about it.” 

C: What is your creative process like?

PD: “For me, it’s the thought that matters...I flow with whatever comes naturally. Sometimes, just one thought is enough to create an entire album. And other times, an idea channels into a melody or hook line, and then I start building on it in the studio.” 

C: Tell us about your early musical influences. 

PD: “I have had mixed influences from different music worlds. When I was younger, I used to love listening to Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Punjabi MC, among others. Some artists I admire now include Kendrick Lamar, A. R. Rahman (his work is amazing!), and Diljit [Dosanjh].” 

C: How have you evolved over the years?

PD: “I feel like I am still learning and trying to understand my role in the industry. Given the ‘give and take’ here, it gets really blurry sometimes. I am still learning how to be a part of this industry—like sometimes, I am not able to decipher between what’s right and wrong. I would say that there’s a dark side to this industry, but there’s a really good people in the industry, who are balancing the business and art side really well. So I am excited to see how I evolve in the future and what moves I will make.

Prabh Deep

C: Your music highlights a lot of socio-political issues. Is that something you do consciously?

PD: “Not really. It depends on the zone I am in. Sometimes, I want to talk about it, and sometimes I don’t. But I want to be clear: I am not an activist. I don’t have that kind of time to put into solving society’s problems, because I am dealing with my own personal issues right now. So I don’t want to put myself in that would be unfair to the people who put in the work in that area. 

But I am playing my part. I know I can ignite that spark in people to bring about change. You never know, in the future, I might be on-ground and help propel change. But I can’t pull others up if my own shoulders aren’t strong, you know.” 

C: How would you describe yourself as a person? 

PD: “I’d describe myself as a selfish person. People used to tell me that I am selfish, and then I realised it myself about two years ago. It used to be my flaw, but now it’s my power as it allows me to help other people. For instance, if I make it big in the industry, it will help everyone who’s connected to me and this is how I look at it. It’s almost like a barter system. So, yeah, I am selfish and strong.” 

C: Did you, in any way, alter yourself to fit the industry?

PD: “Not really, but like I said, everything is interconnected. Every five years, something new comes up, and one needs to change oneself to stay relevant.” 

C: Tell us one thing not many know about you. 

PD: “I love driving... I actually drove 50,000 kilometres last year. We covered South to North India in 22 days. Next year, maybe I’ll buy a new car and go on a road trip to Thailand or Vietnam, or some other South Asian region, or even Europe.” 

C: How would you describe your style?

PD: “My style is fresh, and you never know what’s gonna hit you. Like, for the Tabia India tour, we shopped from the women’s collection, and it was like a challenge and a gift.” 

C: What’s the one thing you would like to see more of in the world?

PD: “World peace, for sure!” 

C: What’s the one thing on your wishlist? 

PD: “To collaborate with Kendrick [Lamar]— that’s been on my wishlist for five years. And I would love to perform at Burning Man and Madison Square Garden for a solo show.” 

C: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

PD: “I see myself eating the whole thing up [dominating the music scene]. And I’m going to make my people super-f*cking rich...that’s the plan. My table will be long, and in the next four to five years, I will have a circle of winners—that’s where I see myself.” 

C: Your new album Bhram has had millions of streams across platforms... 

PD: “It’s really interesting...almost like a game, where you reach different levels. Every five years is like a different level that brings new opportunities and learnings, helping you understand life and this industry better. So, for me, Bhram is about different illusions from my past experiences. I don’t know if, after five years, I’ll have the same ideology. But from what I have experienced and observed, one has different kinds of illusions and they are all interconnected. Be it power, money, relationships, or even your good deeds...the illusion behind a good deed is that you are doing it to make yourself feel better. So what is the reality, you know? So I observed these things and put it out through this album, while also making it fun to listen to. And I think it worked!” 

C: What are your plans for the new year?

PD: “Watch out for Bhram Deluxe. This year, we are going to have a lot of fun, because we have some super-fun songs coming out. I have been training for over 10 years, and I am going to pour all of it into 2023.” 

Photographs: Arjun Mark

Photography Assistant: Gopi Krish

Styling: Zunaili Malik

Styling Assistant: Jaishree Chhabra

Hair and Make-up: Kiran Denzongpa

Production: April Studios

On Prabh Deep: San Diego hoodie, Adidas Original Stan Smiths Styled with Blue Version Collection; rings, INOX Jewellery and Timeless Jewels by Shveta