We can say that hip-hop music in India is evolving right now, as the audience has developed a good sense of rap music and few hard-working rappers have a huge fan following right now. But initially, hip-hop music and rappers were not given the appreciation they deserve. Making a rap video was not everyone’s cup of tea as it required a lot of money ( it was a must to include cars, girls, alcohol, etc. otherwise it was hard to grab the attention of crowd). Even at the beginning of 2019, the audience was not familiar with Indian rap music. But the audience like controversies, the musical battle between two rappers ( “raftaar” and “emiway“) attracted a lot of audiences and the diss tracks released by both of the rappers got a huge success. This controversy paved the way for hip-hop music and the rest of the work was done by the movie “Gullyboy”(based on the life of rapper named “Divine” and “Naezy”) which was a great hit. The album of that movie gave Indian hip-hop music, global recognition and it gained audiences not just in India, but also in other countries.
So that’s how rap music developed its roots in India and hope that there will only be going forward from here. I will be discussing some famous and growing rappers and their lives. I am also an amateur rapper, learning from all those I am going to mention here.
In my opinion, Naezy is the best rapper in India right now. Naezy’s actual name is Naved Shaikh. He laid the foundation of rapping in Mumbai and all the other rappers of the gully were motivated by him. He paved the way of hip-hop music in Mumbai in early 2014 with his song named “aafat”. This was a breakthrough in the Indian rap industry. Interesting thing was that there were no proper resources available to him and he recorded his initial songs on an iPad. His family background was not strong enough as his father did a job in Dubai and his mother was a housewife. He was doing B.Sc after 12th and found a friend Nikhil aka Ncube. He started rapping with him and his friends created a group called “Schizophrenics”. His initial songs were very low on budget but full of talent, flow, and excellent rhymings, but still, he was not able to attract the audience and fame he deserves. After the gully boy movie, people started listening to his songs when they came to know about him and realized that he is the actual leader of Indian hip-hop. Some of his songs are:–
(1) Aafat (2) Raaste kathin (3) Aafat wapas (4) Tehelka Etc.
Divine’s actual name is Vivian Fernandes. His family lived in Mumbai slums. He was fond of listening to hip-hop artists like Eminem, Nas, etc. and developed attraction towards rap. Initially, he was not into much writing rap until he found his mentor and friend “Naezy”. But his family was totally against rapping and forced him towards studies and having a job. Naezy helped him in releasing his first music video “Yeh Mera Bombay”. After this, he never looked back and now he owns a music label known as “Gully Gang” which brings up talented young rappers. He is ensuring the future of Indian hip-hop music and providing the stage to young talents. He is famous among people for his unique flow and lyrics. His hard work fetched him a signing from sony music. In my opinion, he is setting a legacy and thus gaining respect as well. In the list of Indian underground rappers, Divine stands in second place. Some of his famous songs are:-
(1) Jungli Sher (2) Farak (3) Teesri Manzil (4) One Side
Divine recently organized a hip-hop festival named “Gully Fest” in which, talented rappers were given a stage and crowd to grab the attention of people towards them. Some rappers were Dee mc, D’evil, 7 bantai, Kaam Bhari, MC Altaaf. The first video of his music label was a cypher starring Frennzy, Sledge, Sammohit, Saifan, D’evil and Shah Rule.
Emiway is the result of a diss track battle between “Raftaar” and “Emiway”. But this sentence is truly false to judge his talent. Emiway’s actual name is Bilal Shaikh and he came to Mumbai after dropping studies and joined underground rappers. Raftaar was already famous at that time and as he claims in his diss tracks, he helped Emiway to grow and even wrote lyrics for him. When Emiway was in school, his friends made him listen to the legend “ Eminem’s” song “I am not afraid”. This song influenced him greatly and then he learned the lyrics of that song, performed in front of his classmates. He got huge appreciation from the class and this motivated him towards writing his songs. Initially, his songs were in English but his father suggested him to rap in Hindi. When he started rapping in Hindi, people accepted his songs and he started gaining some fame in the school. He also appeared in “India’s Got Talent” but got eliminated. His song “Aur Bantai” performed well and proved a turning point in his life and gained him fame and the audience. From there, he has only moved forward. He brings a new song every month and gets millions of views in a single day. In my opinion, Emiway has created his path and therefore calls himself an independent artist. He stands third in my list of Indian underground rappers of India. Some of his famous songs are:-
(1) Freeverse feast (Dawat) (2) Machayenge (3) Khatam (4) Samajh me aaya kya?
Dino James does not have any relation with underground rappers or any mentor. He was initially an actor working in TV serials getting small roles. But then everything changed and he went through a breakup. When he was sitting a beach one day, a singer with guitar met him and he told Dino about scales and other elements of music. After then, he started writing his songs and practiced rapping. He wrote a song on his girlfriend which went viral and made him famous as it was full of abuses and controversies. But after getting famous, he didn’t make songs only full of abuses. He relied on his talent and dropped some inspirational songs with simple but effective rhymings. His songs are famous for the feelings he puts into his songs. Even I cried after listening to his song “Yaadein“. Overall, Dino James is a simple but talented rapper, making his way in this boom for rap music in India. In my list of underground rappers, Dino James stands in fourth place. Some of his famous songs are:–
(1) Girlfriend (2) Yaadein (3) Hancock (4) Unstoppable
So this was my opinion on underground rappers. But not just them, many talents out there are preparing their songs and are future of the Indian Hip-Hop industry. We can say that in this digital era, talent cannot stay hidden. The future is bright in Hip-Hop. Kudos.
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