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Juggy D: Reviewing the Punjabi Rockstar’s Return

He has featured on remixes alongside legendary mainstream artists, such as Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige. He has also experienced mainstream success of his own, with Rishi Rich and Jay Sean on the trio’s top-20 2003 cross-over single Dance With You. Plus, Juggy D has two perennial favourite, anthemic floor-fillers to his credit, Nahin Jeena and Sohniye. And he achieved all of this within the release of only one solo album! His 2004 self-titled debut album was critically acclaimed, and a major milestone in Juggy D’s career. It entered the national charts within the top 75 – a phenomenal and unmatched feat for a Punjabi album. (Watch Video below)

Moreover, Juggy D’s cross-over success and Pop star-like appeal meant and still means that he holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of a certain generation of Bhangra listeners – myself included. Succinctly put; Juggy D is a massive deal, qualitatively and quantitatively. He’s a highly successful artist who’s generally adored by the fans, as, for a considerable amount of them, he was probably one of their earliest tastes of Punjabi music.

Fast-forward to present day. Juggy D’s been back on the scene since featuring on Taj-E’s 2009 single Vang Teri. Why hasn’t he ignited the Bhangra scene, or accrued a second stack of awards by now? Arguably, it’s because Juggy D’s return has been mismanaged. It seems like an odd decision that he returned after five years... on somebody else’s single. And that’s not at all a slight against Taj-E; he’s a very talented and versatile producer. However, the inherent anticipation and momentum behind Juggy D’s comeback should have been built-up more greatly and then concentrated solely into a strong solo single, thus clearly marking the important return of a bona fide superstar. (Watch Video Below)

 

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But the momentum that was there nonetheless seems to have progressively dwindled via the subsequent string of features for other artists. Again, this is an odd decision. Artists usually appear on other artists’ tracks as a way to maintain audience interest after the release of their own album, not in the lead-up to it.

So, this raises the question of Juggy D’s upcoming album. So far, we’ve seen the primary single, Punjabi Rockstar. It has been described as lacklustre, and I think that’s because Juggy D’s over-compensating. The song’s production is overly perky, complete with corny sound bites, and Juggy D tries too hard to sound lively in his singing style, while also trying too hard to establish his repackaged image.

That’s perhaps the key here; Juggy D doesn’t need to force something, either in terms of vocals or production, that obviously comes so naturally to him. On Sohniye, the endearing qualities of Juggy D’s vocals come across relatively effortlessly. One of Juggy D’s comeback features even demonstrates this disparity. With Vang Teri, the original is somewhat cheesy and over-enthusiastic. In contrast, the urban remix is super slick, and Juggy D’s soothing vocals mesh with the track perfectly.

Take a more recent example; Blitzkrieg’s Take Your Picture. On a cool-than- refrigerated-dayhee beat by Tigerstyle, and armed with an ultra catchy hook, Juggy D’s a priceless addition to the track. It’s through performances of that kind, and on seemingly less-forced production, that he truly shines brightest. That’s when Juggy D’s perfect.

And that’s why I still have much confidence in Juggy D. When he’s not over-compensating, on any level, he’s still the Juggy D that I grew up listening to and that I am still genuinely a huge fan of. While he hasn’t ignited the Bhangra scene with his return yet, he’s still very capable of doing so, as sparks of excellence like the Vang Teri remix and Take Your Picture promise.

Juggy D is at an often turbulent stage of an artist’s career; the sophomore album. But he could easily be back on top and stacking awards again, through a combination of the right sound and vocal style on an impressive and properly promoted solo song, thus discontinuing the missteps of his comeback.

With that as its basis, if the resultant, upcoming album is even half as solid as his debut, it would warrant another five-year break for Juggy D, because that’s probably how long I’d have the album on repeat. I have high hopes and expectations for Juggy D, and I know he’s got the potential to meet them. The Punjabi Rockstar is just in need of an electric solo moment, so to speak.

Written By Govinda Lakha