Bollywood has shown us the partying, the alcohol, and the women side of rap. But, anyone who has read the history, geography, and the linguistics of rap will know that is not what a good rap comprises of. A good rap has a good flow, on a really good beat, and the interplay between the beats and the words. It is this intermingling and the seemingly associated yet disassociated relation between words, beat, and flow is what really shows the skills of a rapper.
For anyone who has begun missing the Eminems, the Dr. Dres, and Tupacs, well, it is about time you started following the progress of these rappers from our own neighbourhoods of Mumbai.
Divine, or Vivian Fernandes, is the rapper India needed to step out from the shadows of what Bollywood serves as rap. And India got it, when back in 2013, Divine’s music video for Yeh Mera Bombay was watched, shared, and loved by a few million. It also got him a special mention in BBC Asian Network’s list of ‘Top 10 artists to watch out for’. Sony Music India then gave Divine a hand in catapulting him to the fame and the kind of promotion his talent needed. Last year, he released Mere Gully Mein featuring Naezy, another gift from the bylanes of Bombay. Divine’s collaboration with Nucleya on the song Jungle Raja for the latter’s album Bass Rani was instantly popular, and has helped both the rapper and the electronic artist reach out to a wider audience.
Earlier this year, he released Jungli Sher, which is an autobiographical rap according to the rapper. The video for the song was shot in 43 locations across the city and on iPhone. Divine also performed in London for the BBC Asian Network in the March of 2016, and established his identity in UK’s Asian underground rap scene.
Naezy has always emphasized on the problems in the chawls, whilst writing songs motivating social change, as well. His latest release Haq Hai speaks about poverty among the people, the rampant corruption, and the crackdown of student voices by the Government. He urges the youth to raise their voices against injustice and fight for social change. Naezy has come a long way, and he has repeatedly mentioned how he wishes to do something to change the lives of the poor.
Naezy’s work is raw and aggressive yet laced with a high dose of positive energy. This is what has been responsible for his quick rise and a steadily growing fan base.
Ace aka Mumbai aka Abhishek got together a bunch of rappers in 2006 in Mumbai, and held India’s first ever rap battle. It transpired into a rap battle league, which was again a first. Ace also started a hip-hop crew, Mumbai’s finest, which released their single, Beastmode, from their latest album, Mumbai Till I Die, earlier this year.
Despite having performed with International, and Grammy winning artists like Chamillionaire and Flo-Rida, Ace believes that signing a deal with a record label will have the label dictate the terms. Ace lives and believes in the hip-hop lifestyle, and he has played a key role in uniting the hip-hop community including rappers, B-Boys, graffiti artists, BMX athletes, and the works, which has now become a crew called Mumbai’s Finest. Ace has aced the hip-hop scene in Mumbai, and really worked towards taking it a notch higher.
Robert Bob Omulo
Robert Bob Omulo has influenced the Indian hip-hop and rap scene immensely. He is the founder of Voice Of Tha People, which is a hip-hop podcast, and website. Omulo is credited majorly with streamlining and uniting the hip hop community in Mumbai. He has done considerable work in Hindi films as well.
Originally hailing from Kenya, Omulo moved to Delhi, India with his mother in 1991. This is where he bettered his music, and eventually began drifting towards hip-hop. He came to Mumbai for his graduation, and after a stint in the corporate world, he decided to do music full time. He is responsible for Hip Hop Thursdays at I-Bar which eventually made way to a united hip hop community in Mumbai. Bobkat, as his stage name goes, also fronts the band, Bombay Bassment, which is a Hip-Hop, Reggae, Funk, Drum n Bass outfit.
Omulo has a great voice, and his life lived in different countries shapes his passion which reflects in his work.
Earlier this year, they released a track and a video for Legalise It, a rap through which they demand the legalization of weed. The group has been featured in Coke Studio Season 4 on Ram Sampath’s track Bharatiyar Trap Rap in which they fuse Tamil rap with Carnatic vocals on a pretty rock arrangement, and Rangabaati, which is Odisha’s most popular folk song with an addition of Tamil rap performed by the crew.
Dopeadelicz’s brand of Tamil rap with a lovely flow, and meaningful words will make you astonished at first, but only because of how interesting and likeable it sounds.
It is about time you started following these amazingly badass rappers. For, a good rap can never be ignored. So, move over Honey Singh and the likes, and let’s get on some Desi Hip-Hop.