“I broke down when my dad became paralyzed afteran accident. Sleepless nights and constant depression consumed me like a monster. But when I started writing down my worries, I began to feelbetter; and when I rapped, I got back my sanity”, says NEJM.
Nineteen-year-old Chennai-based rapper Deborrah Samantha goes by thestage name “NEJM” pronounced as the Tamil word ‘Nejam’ meaning ‘Truth’. “The irony is that I hated poetry, but rapping gave me thepower to unlock my inner feelings and express them out loud to the world,” she says.
“One day, when I was feeling down in the dumps, I caught sight ofa notebook and without a second thought, I started writing,” remembers NEJM. To her astonishment, she found that her words were rhyming and this gave her the push to start rapping.
Her lyrics are inspired by the struggles in her own life. Her catchphrase is “Keeping it nejam”. In most of her songs, she talks about being homeless, combatting hunger, pain, depression, anxiety and the unfairness oflife. “I rap about things that people go through. Life sometimes throws you things to face that are beyond your age-level,” says the singer, who comes from a broken family.
After working twoshifts a day as an IELTS tutor and taking care of her family while pursuing a degree in English Literature at MCC, NEJM transforms into the dauntless rapper only after 11 p.m.
One of her major inspirations is the K-pop's biggest boy band BTS. “K-pop rapper Suga, unlike western rappers whose songs are about power and lust, rapped about his struggles in life and that gave me a whole new perspective to music,” says NEJM.
Sherecently collaborated with Indie musician Deveshwaar on a single called I'm Trouble.
Porkalam, where around 150 underground rappers across Tamil Nadu compete with each other, is where NEJM spends a lot of her time. “The underground rappers are my second family and it is through rap battles that I built a lot of connections”.
As the only female rapper in Chennai, Deborrah Samantha performs at events and occasionally does cover songs on her Instagram page. She is constantly working on her lyrics as she plans to release her next single in January....