An interaction with Badshah – like it always does – is most certain to tickle the funny bone. Reacting to queries on the need to be watchful about obscenity in lyrics, he recalls revisiting a celebrated track from Mohra (1994) over the weekend. “Subah se le kar shyam tak, shyam se le kar raat tak, kuch shaadi ke pehle, kuch shaadi ke bad… I mean, I’m still trying to understand what kind of love this is,” he quips.

However, Badshah is quick to add that Bollywood is steadily graduating – he points out that while many “producers [to date] want a safe, bankable and tested sound”, there are the more daring ones like Rhea Kapoor, whom he recently collaborated with on Veere Di Wedding. “The track that I have worked on for her film is simply beautiful. I believe this is my best work till date.”

Having previously rendered Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai (Khoobsurat, 2014) for her, he admits it took them a while to decipher how to deliver something new for this Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor starrer. “It took six months for this track to be created. I have not only rapped, but also sung in it. It was a selfish decision. When I heard it, I told Rhea I want to sing it. I didn’t want to give it to anyone else. She said, ‘I don’t know if you can sing’. But I promised I’d practice,” he says, further crediting Farah Khan for the choreography. “It’s typical, yet atypical. You’ll see the women doing things that men do, and vice versa. And yet, it is a man singing the song.”

Apart from his album, ONE, that is set to release this year, on the table for him is another collaboration with Aastha Gill. Badshah backed her for her recently released debut single, Buzz, which garnered over 25 million views on YouTube in a mere few days. Having featured in and rapped for the single, Badshah most certainly had a role to play in the track’s mammoth success.

Given that he has groomed the young singer, 24, since the last five years, the protectiveness he showcases for her is fitting. “Aastha features in every track of mine. She’s the tadka of my songs,” he says. He knew she was destined for big things when Raftaar introduced her to him. Her “vibe”, coupled with her earnestness, was recipe for success, he says. Gill had told mid-day that she admired the punch word, “buzz”, when Badshah first recommended it. But he points out her lie. “Her response was, ‘What is this? Will this work?’,” he says, adding that she even dismissed his acclaimed DJ Waley Babu on the first instance.