Picture this: A child ragpicker in the heart of Iewduh struggling to get by in life. His daily meal is determined by the kilograms of plastic he picked up and sold to the rag merchants. Now the question arises, what will happen to this child who is stricken in poverty in the future? Does he have a future in society? Khasi Bloodz in their new single, Kasino, spills the truth, without any filter, on the past, present and the future of this child being thrown in the lower rungs of society and what it takes to survive in a place where class divide is increasingly making its mark in Shillong city.
Kasino, is a fast-paced song with a blend of alternative rock and the duo’s usual element of rap verses. It departs from the songs that Khasi Bloodz have put up over the years. As D-Bok says, “We collaborated with Exhibition on this one. It is entirely different from what we have done in terms of the tone and music but it was overall a good experience.”
The song was collaborated with Exhibition, which is one of the music projects of Hammarsing Kharhmar who has worked with The Strokes and is now fronting the well-known Khasi fusion band, Da Minot.
The song is intricately worded in such a way that it calls forth the listener to ponder on issues that have long been overlooked by many. In a matter of 3 minutes and 3 seconds, the song spoke on class divide, how the system has failed many, leaving the unfortunate helpless, subtly touched on political topics and brought forth the struggle of one’s identity and place in a city like Shillong. When asked how the song happened, Big Ri says the piece stemmed out of rage and of having had enough. “It was a moment of frustration and anger. It was our way of saying enough is enough, especially being in a space where nothing happens.”
The mastery of Khasi Bloodz, Kasino was visually translated into the screen by Dalariti Nongpiur, who is known for her work like Wat. As a director, Nongpiur’s vision of the song was perfectly drawn out into two young ragpicker-boys struggling in a society where the system has drawn out a line between the rich and the poor. The boys get to grow up in a surrounding that’s concocted with both the negative and positive side of human existence.
The ending scene where the characters are trying to break the door and the song in the background echoing “pynpra ia jingkhang” (break down your door) sends a message to the listener that it is time to break doors, boundaries and take action to dismantle the system.
It has been two years since Khasi Bloodz last released their songs. Kasino was released in the midst of the ongoing MLA elections of 2023 in the state. One would dare to say that the song is a sort of a socio-political commentary of Shillong city, a place despite being a romantic getaway for the outsider is actually a place of an array of human complexities.
When asked if there would be any upcoming new music that the duo will release, both smiled and nodded their heads signalling that something big is in the works at the moment.
“Honestly, we have been working on a new album. It is going to be big and something that’s unheard of and we just cannot wait,” the duo replied.
Kasino is available on all streaming platforms. You can watch the video on Youtube.