Imran Mandani
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Imran Mandani

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Pop Hip Hop


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With a sudden epiphany, Imran Mandani abruptly halts the Hip Hop mix-tape he’s working on and decides to create original music. The result is his first single, “You Should Dance”, a blend of Hip Hop and EDM music for the Nightclubs that makes the listener do what the title says. Unlike typical Club music with repetitive and raunchy lyrics, the song actually tells a story; guy meets girl and tactfully persuades her to dance. The track caters to Hip Hop lyrically while melodically having an Electro-Pop feel. Diving further, Imran released his second single, “Beneath the Ocean Tide”. Starting off with a piano solo, a rising vocal inflection lifts the melody up smoothly into a fast tempo Dance-club song. Use of synthesized audio effects and “Top 40” like chord progression allows the song to have a Mainstream appeal and fit the Genres of Electronica, Pop, Dream Pop, Hip House, Hip Hop, Trip Hop, and Indietronica. The poetic lyrics tell the tale of two kindred spirits and the song tastefully switches gear several times with its ear candy: unexpected fast rapping and a unique Techno ending with a Vocoder. Both the songs are off his first album, Abstract Brown, a work in progress.

Stylistically, any given listener of Imran Mandani’s music would easily place his songs on a playlist with the same artists that influenced his sound: Gorillaz, Drake, Ellie Goulding, Sneaker Pimps, Daft Punk, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, Morcheeba, Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi, Zero 7, Frou Frou, and 80’s New Wave and Synth Pop artists such as Howard Jones.



Any mainstream Asian-Indian Rappers out there?  No, so you'll quickly realize that Imran Mandani is faced with a challenge. Though it might be good for your marketing to have had someone of your own ethnicity reach stardom, it might be better if you carve your own path. These days, Imran is thinking in the latter despite stereotypes.  "During freestyle battles, everyone had the same 7:11-on-the-dot punchlines” he explains, and although he went on to wow people with his lyrical abilities, he was still Indian.  "I wasn't from the Hood."  He says, but he understands now what he didn't back then:  music trends change and people should follow their passion.  For Imran, the love for Hip Hop started in Eighth grade.  "In college, I remember I was at a frat house and free-styled to Trance music and a crowd gathered around me" he boasts, despite putting Hip Hop to the side after college.  After a hiatus, he decided to record a mix-tape.  While recording one however, he started making original music as well. His songs caught the attention of show promoter, DJ Keith Calderon.  Keith quickly made Imran the main act for a Midwest DJ Festival.  He also introduced Imran to Curtis McClain (vocalist behind House music's first internationally charting track, "Move your Body") who had heard Imran's music. Impressed, Curtis vouched for Imran on stage.  Later on, Curtis agreed to do backup vocals to the remix of Imran’s new pop song, “Sunshine Through Rain”.  What other news is buzz-worthy?  Imran finished as a Semi-Finalist for both the 2014 Song of the Year and 2014 Unsigned Only Competitions.  Both international contests featured celebrity judges.  In August 2014, Imran was selected to be part of Wu Tang Clan's management.  “I also got my hands full with my brand, Rhyme Dilation” says Imran.  Rhyme Dilation, he explains, is a pun to Time Dilation, a theory by Albert Einstein that explains the relativity of time: the faster you move through space, the slower you move through time.  Rhyme Dilation not only draws inspiration from Einstein’s ideas but from his legacy as well. "Einstein’s story is the same struggle we all go through in life” says Imran. Einstein, who had no scientific merits at the time he published his theories, was not acknowledged for his unorthodox work for a long time.  However, despite rough circumstances, he never gave up. Einstein’s struggle included being considered worthless as well as financial burdens and a divorce.  Rhyme Dilation has the slogan, "Don't keep it real, be Ethereal” which breaks down to “be the real.”  In much the same way that rappers in the past had adopted monikers from Kung Fu movies, Gangster flicks, and Mobsters, Rhyme Dilation employs a similar strategy but with a different inspiration.  You will find the Rhyme Dilation philosophy to be a blend of Deepak Chopra and Albert Einstein. "Everybody talks about keeping it real" he continues, "but how do you define, real?"  While other Hip Hop artists might define “keeping it real” as having “street cred”, the concept of "realness" has a different meaning to Imran. The Rhyme Dilation motto is not in “keeping it real” with one’s ego or “street cred” but by being “The Real” or connecting with the Divine force within oneself.  “It’s about encouraging the listener to give importance to education, but also to be unconventional and think outside the box.  Follow your passion in life and never give up."  While Einstein’s concept of Time Dilation explains the phenomena of time, Rhyme Dilation is about how time drifts by differently when an artist is in the flow.  Getting into your "flow" Is about getting into the zone.  Psychologists define "flow" as a state of mind where one is so submerged in an activity with full focus that one’s sense of time is altered. Imran calls this "Rhyme Dilation" because it happens to him whenever he's working on music. The concept goes deeper than that though; flow isn't just limited to Hip Hop, it’s about being in the "flow" in all areas of your life. "Rhyme Dilation is about being one with the present moment.  At the end, music has a time travel effect. You could make a song that becomes timeless and affects people's viewpoints forever.  Being real means taking responsibility for that" he explains. In addition, Rhyme Dilation is also about "dilating" Hip Hop to incorporate other genres. Imran's songs blend Underground and Mainstream Hip Hop, Pop, and EDM.  Rhyme Dilation includes Imran’s clothing brand; Ensemble.  "Life is a symphony, tune in.  Orchestrate your Life” is the slogan.  Check out the music video to "Sunshine Through Rain".