I saw a video the other day. It was an ad for Nike. The ad takes place at a random martial arts training centre and we see a man with a sword. He practices with the sword so well that the speed itself is blinding. At the end of the ad, Nike sends it’s viewers a strong message. “If you’d like to tell the man with the sword that he’s not great because he’s not famous, be my guest.”
This got me wondering about how it relates to the music we make in India. Due to the fact that we have abundance of talent in this country and some of this talent needs to be heard more than most. They are also slowly but surely rising up due to the work they are putting in and it’s a good thing to see young talent learn so much within such less time.
So I went online, dug deep for names I could find that made good quality work. I came up with this list of 5 desi emcees who needed recognition ASAP. Please note that this is not to shade anyone else’s efforts. I’m sure there are many more who deserve to be on this list.
1) The Siege
Mumbai based emcee The Seige has been a promising act, steadily evolving with the kind of sounds he needs to tap into to grow as an artist. His song “Kalam” is a prime example of this. The stunning visuals accompanied by the output of the concept behind it makes this an optimisic start for the desi emcee.
First of all, I initially only heard of RohanEverywhere when he spit at a cypher. As a predominantly English spitting emcee, I found his style to be interesting and unique. In a way that his potential to bloom is immense.
I was also proven right when he dropped his song “What’s Love” produced by Shinji. His cadence stood out to me throughout the song. The lo-fi vibes on the beat just uplifted that further.
Enimiez are a rap trio out of Dharavi. All 3 of them have distinct rapping styles. That’s what makes them feel out of the box. MC Altaf and Standley performed at the #BhaariScene Jam event in Dharavi. This was my first glimpse into the skills they had to present.
The song was called “Roti”, and this performance was also turned into a music video by Revolt Art Technology. The song presents a simple premise. It sheds lights on the struggles of earning money doing what you do, to buy food.
This performance is one to watch. This rap crew has a lot of potential, and we await their next songs real quick.
4) Bobby Boucher aka Tienas
Bobby Boucher aka Tienas has always been the underdog. He’s a hard working emcee who produces, records, mixes and masters his own songs. That’s rare to find in the Indian rap scene. His songs have a heavy Eminem influence (as you will gradually notice on the songs).
But I personally feel this is a process for him to get technically acquainted with his own sound, whatever shape or form that may end up being. His latest song “Franklin D” shows how a dark, ravaging topic can be presented in a soulful manner. Ignoring the mix/master for now, the songwriting is pretty amazing. He relates the issue of an artist’s depression and creates a character of a dog named “Franklin D”. That’s something that not many artists think of doing.
This and a lot of other things is what makes Bobby a key pick in the next generation of emcees.
Lucknow based emcee Rachit caught eyes with his recent release “Middle Class”. This song is a story of how he endures his middle class struggles. “Yeh middle class Hai isko samjhon ek saza tum” is the headline of this song. A beautifully scripted musical piece, produced by the man too.
The fresh talent that is budding in this country cannot be ignored. All the emcees on this list are creating new unique styles every time they step in front of a mic. Who says India doesn’t have a hip-hop scene? We need to preserve and expand our culture. More power to the young desi emcees on this list and may many more rise to make good music in the country.