Chicago native hip-hop recording artist, Imran Mandani, loves a good challenge; in the entertainment industry where only a handful of Asian Indians have reached mainstream success as comedians, musicians, or actors, the Windy City rapper and graphic designer enjoys carving his own path while evolving his brand. In the rap genre, trap music currently dominates the charts and most rappers stick to the subgenre's usual thematics, but Imran takes an unorthodox approach to his craft. From writing hip-hop verses over a pop ballad to putting poetic prose over a rugged rap instrumental, a listener wouldn't know what to expect next, but the unpredictability has recently garnered interest from a variety of audiences. "I try to be diverse," says Imran, whose musical influences are just as eclectic as the plethora of playlists on his iTunes app. However, he wasn't always a music connoisseur. During his school days, Imran was more concerned about coming up with impromptu rhyming retorts to stereotypes during freestyle battles on stage than creating wide-ranging albums. "Everyone had the same '7:11-on-the-dot' punchlines and clichés for me” he explains, and although people were impressed with his lyrical abilities, he became discouraged. "People loved me for my verbal talent, but I was still Indian and didn't try to act ghetto. My culture also had different expectations of me, so hip-hop just became a pastime" he elaborates further, understanding now what he didn't back then; that music trends keep changing and that people should follow their passions in life.
For Imran, the love for hip-hop started in eighth grade. It wasn't long before he started writing rhymes of his own, honing his skills until the break-through moment in high school when he could suddenly free-style. Then it was college; opening for major artists and rapping at university-sponsored events. Despite generating a sizable campus fan base, he put hip-hop to the side when he graduated. After a hiatus, friends encouraged him to take his musical ideas to a professional recording studio.
The Chi-town rapper, who sometimes operates by the alias, Chill A.F., is currently working on his hip-hop mix-tape, Patent Pending. The mix-tape includes rap remixes to some of today's top artists: Eminem, Juice WRLD, Sam I, Sia, Busta Rhymes, Vic Mensa, Clean Bandit, Ellie Goulding, Ball Greezy, Lil Dred, Linkin Park, Steve Aoki, Paul Banks, RZA, Trey Songz, Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Wyclef Jean, LunchMoney Lewis, The Knocks, Cheat Codes, Demi Lovato, Martin Solveig, Alma, Quavo, Livvia, Meresha, Wiz Khalifa, Gladius James and Alicia Keys. He has also completed several rap songs for his debut hip-hop album, Mercury Retrograde, with one of the tracks featuring a collaboration with Stevie Stone, a rapper from the record label, Strange Music. All the songs are currently pending release. Future projects will include a feature with a rapper from the hip-hop group, D12, from Detroit, Michigan. Imran Mandani is also working on his first pop, EDM, and rap fusion album which include songs "You Should Dance", "Beneath the Ocean Tide", "Sunshine Through Rain", "Sunshine Through Rain" Sunset Mix dance club bonus track featuring Chicago house music legend, Curtis McClain, "In Another Dimension" and a track in progress called "Dead on the Inside" which was recently featured in a short film called, Boxes of Chocolates, for a Midwest Arts Festival.
Imran Mandani had previously worked in the Management team for the hip-hip group, Wu Tang Clan, as part of an internship. Accolades include contest winner for a 2013 Microsoft sponsored remix contest and semi-finalist placements for two international indie songwriting competitions in 2014.
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Updated: March 2022
the rhyme dilation brand
"Rhyme Dilation" is a pun to Time Dilation, a theory in Albert Einstein’s Special Relativity that, simply put, explains that time is relative: notably, an outside observer would measure time slowing down significantly for someone traveling at speeds near the speed of light. (The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time) Rhyme Dilation draws inspiration from Einstein’s legacy because it is a quintessential story of hope. Einstein went through the same struggle we all go through in life as we try to make it in whatever endeavor we undertake. Einstein, who had no scientific merits at the time he published his theories, never gave up. Einstein’s struggle included being considered worthless by his father and some financial burdens.
"Rhyme Dilation" consists of the slogan "Don't keep it real, be Ethereal” which breaks down to, “Don’t keep it real, be - the - real.” The philosophy behind the 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. Rhyme Dilation is about encouraging listeners to not only give importance to education but to think outside the box and dare to be different. Anybody who stays true to who they are and works hard to succeed despite their circumstances is "real."
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 your element and getting into the zone. Psychologists define "flow" as a state of mind where one is completely submerged in an activity with full focus and so lost in the present moment that one’s sense of time is altered. Rhyme Dilation is about being in the flow in all areas of your life.
At the end, music has a time travel effect. You can make a four minute song that can influence people's lives for many years to come. Rhyme Dilation includes Imran’s clothing brand; Ensemble. The Ensemble brand consists of the slogans, "Orchestrate your Life" and "Life is a symphony, tune in”. Rhyme Dilation and Ensemble are copyrighted brands.