Today Noisey’s Drew Millard interviewed a curious oddball of a young singer and rapper who goes by Dhananjay the First. After watching one video the 21-year-old almost seems to be a calculated parody of thugged out R&B. But it quickly becomes clear that he is actually completely earnest and just being himself. He simply happens to be a weird guy having fun by making amateurish and extremely cheap songs.
This is the kind of stuff that most of the world will shrug their shoulders or roll their eyes at, if not outright dislike. However it’s also destined to grow a rabid cult fanbase that will devour everything Dhananjay releases in the future. While he’s certainly earned attention on WorldStarHipHop, it’s yet to be seen if the divisive reactions and thug-goofball persona will turn him into the next Turquoise Jeep or if he could stumble into the national spotlight like Trinidad Jame$.
So far he has released three videos, and in each he takes on a popular R&B song: Drake’s “Shot For Me,” Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” and Mario’s “Let Me Love You” (the last of which also sounds like it includes a small interpolation of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room.”) However rather than straight cover versions, he half-sing half talk-raps raps his own lyrics while slightly altering the melodies of the originals.
Both the production and vocals sound like they were made with literally no budget (probably using some free software and/or crappy hand-me-down equipment) but if you’re one of those who falls under Dhananjay’s spell the guy has charisma for days.
Check out his take on Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” (audio might be NSFW for plenty of drug and sex references):
Not much is known about the mysterious musician at this point, but the Noisey piece uncovers some details. Born in India, Dhananjay heard the southern rap legend Pimp C at the age of fifteen and decided to become a rapper. He now attends college in the US and apparently has his parents’ blessing to pursue a musical career path.
I have no idea how the rest of the year will pan out for Dhananjay the First, but my curiosity has certainly been piqued.
(screen shots from “Let Me Love You” video”)