The guiding principle of 17-year-old rapper and songwriter Shanti Dope when it comes to his career is the stuff New Age mantras are built on: “If you persevere, you can get anything.”
In an exclusive chat with Bulletin Entertainment, the guy behind the hit “Nadarang” that has had 22 million views on YouTube just seven months after it was uploaded, said he didn’t see his success coming though he did work hard for it. He has released two EPs so far namely “Shanti Dope” and “Materyal” with the initial output not getting the desired attention.
But Shanti wasn’t discouraged at all.
“What I do is that I just enjoy everything. I’m doing something I really want, making music I really want, and that is a big thing for me,” he said in Filipino.
Shanti started writing rhymes in 2013 “to tell stories.” His efforts got him into rapper Smugglaz 2015 album “Walking Distance.” He first learned what rap is when he was eight years old, the time the FlipTop Battle League began trending. Seeing that even his friends started doing freestyle rap on the street, Shanti became more curious on the genre.
“Eventually I realized this is the world I want to be in,” he declared.
In terms of his musical influences, he cited Gloc-9 (who endorsed him to Universal Records), Abra, and Loonie. He added that his musician friends from the underground scene also helped shape his artistry.
“It just makes me happy, makes me feel inspired when I hear them telling me good words. It’s motivating coming from co-artists,” he said.
What is his style, we asked. Well, he said he really doesn’t know except that it certainly allows him to show his true self. He may write based on vibe or mood but he makes sure the message is always based on reality as he sees it.
“That way the excitement will remain,” he said.
What’s with the Shanti stage name?
“The word means peace in Sanskrit. My father is a practitioner of Krishna consciousness, he’s into yoga and he’s a vegetarian. So, somehow that influenced, like, I would read his books when I was 10 years old. On weekends, we would go to Divisoria to buy vegetable we’d use for our feeding programs. ’Till now, when I have time, I still listen to lectures.
“Later, when I learned the deeper meaning of the word ‘Shanti,’ it sounded good to my ears so I decided to use it as my stage name. I just added ‘Dope’ so my name would sound more, well, dope.”
Asked if he’s Christian or Hindu, he simply said that he believes there is a being that guides men no matter what you call him.
Anyway, Shanti is set to release another song, hold a concert to launch a new album, and do an international collaboration with Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Mimi. Shanti, together with Gloc-9, will be the special guests in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Manila concert at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sept. 5. The concert is made possible by Ovation Productions.
He and Ex Battallion are the breakout rap artists this year, we pointed out. But instead of seeing them as his rivals, Shanti lauded the group saying he is proud of what they’ve achieved.
Even when some of their songs have explicit lyrics?
“You can’t put a limit on creativity,” he countered. “We need to be open to different kinds of opinion or views.”