Release Date: September 2007
No Of Tracks: 10
Swami (So Who Am I) are a band who came together after the massive success of DJ Swami’s ‘Desi Rock’ album. That album created a whole new Desi rock movement which aims to propel Bhangra into a new standard. The album features a whole host of collaborations from Punjabi vocalists to French rappers this album offers it all!
Desi Rock went on to become an anthem worldwide with the album offering a fresh and original blend of Bhangra music, Equalize looks to do the same! So after a wait of 3 years Swami is back to show why he is one of the most talented musicians in the bhanga scene.
‘Hey Hey’ is the first track and is as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot summers day. Featuring the Punjabi vocals of Romesh Chohan alongside Boostylz who ill get onto later. Starting off with a pretty basic dhol this song kicks into the life, sounding like an Amerie song, a massive fusion of dhol horns and the odd sax. The vocals by Bootstylz add the soul into the song along with the fantastic sax solo. Swami switched it up with Desi Rock in 2004 and now his created another song that can truly be called ORIGINAL.
Find me a similar sounding Bhangra song like this and I’ll give you my student loan, you wont!
Romesh Chohan returns back again on ‘Electro Jugni’ and as the title suggests it’s a fast paced hard hitting track! An interesting note is that this whole album is written by Diamond Duggal aka DJ Swami, is there anything he doesn’t do? Back onto the track its another song that is created to precision, S-Endz drops in a verse which is fairly catchy and goes well with the song. The Punjabi vocals are brilliant and make the song. The Electro jugni line is much similar to how Desi rock was used.
‘Intoxicated’ is next and features Lady Ru who recently had her own album released. The song is introduced by a single warped dhol and the vocals of Ashok Pharalwi pretty basic you think until the beat comes in. Totally flipping the song around with a grimey beat. The song knocks back and forth from Ashok Pharalwi and Lady Ru both giving there vocal skills on the track. The semi-chorus by S-Endz is a great addition to the song. Another solid solid track with a bass line that would be ideal for any sub woofer.
‘Ching’ follows and is sung by Lakhwinder Lakha featuring rapper Spee. A deep bass line accompanies the Punjabi vocals into a… drum and bass track! The vocals on this track go really well with the beat and it shows that actually sitting down with a vocalist and getting him to sing a song a certain way really pays off! The rapper Spee does well in carrying the song and his words are easily understandable. The beat just gets your head nodding for 5minutes and 22seconds. The lyrics are about drinking, and I’ve always said theres no originality in a song about drinking… however when its totally flipped around like this it’s a good sing a long. One of the best songs off the album.
‘Pushin’ is next and features American rapper Pras (Yeah the semi-famous one), who found fame with his song Ghetto Superstar. Lakhwinder Lakha once again returns to lay the vocals on this song, also alongside Ishmael who sings the hook on the song which is fairly catchy. Its another speaker thumping song and its well produced again with the tempo much slowed down. Its bit of the anti climax after the Drum and bass song before your slowed right down by this song.
‘Shakedown’ is track 6 and sees the return of ‘Romesh Chohan’ who lays down some basic Punjabi lyrics and is probably you’ll get to an out and out ‘Bhangra’ track but even still its has a real sense of originality about it. El Feco is the rapper laying down a few verses but the majority of the song is carried by Romesh Chohan who does a well job. It doesn’t really reach the heights of the songs before it though.
The dhol beat made famous by Zeus is used here on the track ‘Break’, which features vocals from Romesh Chohan and Ishmael. Its another catchy song with great use of the harmonium, its one of the real highlights of this song. Once again its been fantastically produced, sung, composed the lot! Find a fault in this song, cos I couldn’t.
This is my favourite song off the album and just for its uniqueness! ‘Can’t let you go’ is one of those songs that just wants you to keep on listening, A beat which would seem at home on one of those Ibiza chill out cd’s, it’s a real soothing track. The Punjabi vocals have been sung again by Romesh Chohan who does a great job. It also features Errol Reid and Yam Boy who both do brilliantly in singing the hook and rapping. It’s a very catchy song which I cant really big up enough! One of the hidden gems on this album, I absolutely love it! Its 4minutes 27 seconds, you hardly notice it go. For an album that contains such quality, this is a notch above everything else.
‘Give it what you got’ is the penultimate song and features the Punjabi vocals of Kamal Gill and the interesting Asuivre who from what I gather is a French speaking rapper. This is one of the songs on the album that would have fitted pretty well onto the Desi Rock album in 2004, its another very good track. Although I don’t have a clue what the rapper is saying its goes ok with the overall song, my French is pretty limited! The vocals from Kamal Gill are once again to a very high standard, proves to all you bhanga ‘producers’ there is life outside kaka and lehmber ya no?
Final track is ‘In Your Eyes’ and is sung by Anil Aftab & the very talented Sonia Panesar. It features a desi sample very similar to PMC’s Dhol Jageero da but I guess im just clutching at straws here. Its another very well made song which compared to the hard hitting nature of the rest of the album is very much the opposite. A great way to end the album
Well it can be easily said that Swami or DJ Swami has once again delivered nothing short of a masterpiece. I’ve listened to a lot of shit this year coming from this so called Bhangra industry, a lot of stuff that isn’t even worth the cd its printed on, Equalize is what you call a real ALBUM. 10 tracks, no fillers, every song has been produced with the consistency as the one before; it’s hard to find a fault in most of the songs. Granted this album isn’t a album which will rip apart a dancefloor at a wedding, maybe not even on your usual Bhangra club night, however for a ALBUM its goes a long way in cementing Swamis reputation as a group who innovates rather than regurgitates.
It just shows that when a producer takes time on a project it pays off…rather than churning out an album every year.
I could go on about this album, just remember if there’s one album you buy this year make sure its this one!
Swami – Equalize gets a massive 8.5/10