In a time where the culture of Hip Hop is growing in the right direction in a massive country like India, we are looking at deep-rooted issues to come forth from the furthest regions of the country. There are a thousand different societal problems and Hip Hop is now waking up to voice each of them one emcee to another. Every emcee that steps into the world of the global Hip Hop culture carries a responsibility to his or her respective communities. It is the job of an emcee to spread knowledge by any means possible.
And in India, the voice of the daily struggles are spread loud and clear by those emcees who look beyond just the ordinary means of earning a buck or two from the music. There are multiple examples of this kind of conscious rap coming up from multiple areas in the country. Here is a gist of some of the breakthrough voices we have seen addressing the issue of caste in our country. India is divided by the status of caste and Hip-Hop music is tackling the issue head-on. Music is a great way to unify our people, and emcees from around India have started to wake up to the knowledge aspect.
This list is a short summary of some of the artists who are putting in work to speak about the issues that are rarely spoken about. Even in the underground as well as mainstream, Hip-Hop is just waking up to the divide that has plagued our people for centuries – Caste. Here are some of the few voices that are tackling this issue head-on!
When the Indian Hip-Hop scene was still very nascent, very few artists had come across and stepped up to challenge political ideas and establishments. A-List (now inactive) was one of the first few emcees who boldly took on the responsibility to talk about political issues of India in its current state. One of the songs was called “Free Kabir Kala Manch” – a song about a group of poets who were held by the state and called Naxalites for writing and raising awareness about the malpractices of the government. Kabir Kala Manch was an active group of poets who were Anti-Caste ideologists. Check out the full song below to know more!4
Sumeet Samos aka “The Lit” is a diamond in the rough. His story was recently covered on Brut India and since then has raised awareness of the discrimination faced by Dalit students in India. The song details his experience in a reputable college. JNU has been known to be one of the spots for most young learners and Sumeet has exposed the racial and caste-based discrimination that occurs quite frequently in such colleges.
The superiority complex starts from an early age and stays mostly through life. This is a state of mind passed down from generation to generation. Hip-Hop opens up the narrow conversation and lets the people know that an equal world is possible.
K4 Kekho is a North East based emcee. He represents an amazing soundscape and he puts that forward in the tracks he makes. He recently presented the idea of unity and inclusion in his song “I Am An Indian”. He tackles prejudice with some really witty lines and thought provoking bars.
Check out his song down below. It will make you proud to be an Indian and the strong message it carries on an undertone will move you!
The Casteless Collective
The Casteless Collective is a 19-piece band across India and features members even from the Bombay based Hip-Hop crew – Dopeadelicz. This Pan-India band is a brainchild of Tollywood super-director PA Ranjith. The idea was to push and promote independent music throughout India. Independent music that talks about political issues and combats them head-on by being the peoples voice.
The song above is one of many from TCC. It talks about the struggles in the Quota system. Watch the song for more, it pretty much speaks for itself.
Recently, another emcee from the Northeast raised his voice against the discrimination faced by almost all communities everyday. In a song called “Are You Indian?” Big Deal questions the different aspects and stereotypes that different Indian sects have made about each other. He has spoken out about religion, castes, prejudice, discrimination, and different stereotypes. Watch the amazing visuals for the track below and let us know your thoughts!