In the few days leading up to the release of Bollywoods take on Desi Hip-Hop – we would like to present some of the artists who have been grinding and putting out music from different parts of the country. This editorial comprises of a long list of artists divided by 5 sectors – North, North East, West, East, & South. The purpose of these articles are self explanatory – India has a grand number of voices with substance and quality. The movie focuses on Bombay Rap as a whole – but realistically it is the efforts and talents of the Pan-Indian Hip-Hop community that has made the genre stand out as much as it has.
The artists presented in this series are chosen solely based on their merits and their acts to push the culture forward along with their skills as emcees. If you do not find your favorite artist on any of these lists, please tag them in the comments section so we can keep updating these lists. These lists are in no way in any ascending or descending order – just a collection of artists that have been representing the culture since its inception. To the extent of being geographically correct, we have chosen artists based on their particular geographical location.
The Beasts Of The East
To the east of India, we see pockets of Desi Hip-Hop mostly centered around Kolkata and regions between the state of West Bengal. Rap has existed in Kolkata for over 12 years and yet, it has been difficult for the Hip-Hop community there to truly breakout front and center.
Ironically, India’s first ever movie centered around Hip-Hop featured a Bengali rap protagonist. Gandu was India’s first rap movie. A fictional, black and white art drama story around an unnamed protagonist named only as ‘Gandu’ who is revealed to be the frontman of a rap band. Either way, Kolkata rap is on its way back. Meet the handful of artists carving their way to resurrect Bangla Hip-Hop among others repping the east side of India!
The Godfather of Kolkata Hip-Hop. The first generation emcee who is responsible for nurturing not only Kolkata talent, but a few of Bombay talents as well. He is the original socio-political emcee. There are few like him and we doubt there will ever be another. Currently in retirement, he has left an imprint in the minds of young emcees that will not be forgotten. His songs were as rebellious as the lyrics were skillfully penned. Check the sounds and get ready to shed the extra weight of confused nationalism.
One of the most successful artists in the scene, Feyago moves in silence. He represents both North-East and Kolkata and is an adept bilingual emcee. He has performed for over 200 shows across India, endorsed multiple brands and is currently working on his greatest body of work. This is a full time, full-fledged emcee. A culture pusher since day one – Feyago has set the tone for many of his peers. He’s more than an emcee. Check out the tunes below and recognize.
Cizzy is a second generation Kolkata emcee who is making waves in the scene right now. Years of hard work and experiment have led him to reach a point where he has found his sound and it has him stand out on a grand scale. He has fused a variety of flows and created a unique sound print which contains multiple styles of rapping. He dropped his debut project with fellow Kolkata artist Joe – collectively known as StreetFood Music – titled “Uposhonghar Noe“. Check out this rising star down below:
Another Kolkata OG who has been in the game since the very start. He has also worked with and nurtured the handful of artists around him. One of India’s best writers and battle emcees – Hardknok. We eagerly await more music from the man and cant wait to watch him on more battles. Check some of his links below.
Joe as a diamond in the rough. The good musical talents of this country often get ignored because people choose to follow and stick to one thing instead of diving deep and understanding the different voices in a community. Joe is a stellar artist and has already worked with Cizzy (as StreetFood Music) to put out the masterpiece album that is titled “Uposhonghar Noe“. Check some of the tunes out below:
Since the Kolkata rap scene is still in its budding stage, we have compiled a few of the up and comers for a special mention. These are the flag bearers of Hip-Hop in the East. The new youth who will help push the culture forward.
The video below is of the Kolkata rap cypher which occurred a few years ago and displays a host of new acts with the old. These are the undiscovered gems of Indian Hip-Hop.
Other noteworthy artists on the come-up are as follows:
J-Trix is another rising prospect on the map. The emcee shows great potential and is also consistent at putting out great music content. This will definitely go a long ways in his favor. Check his latest work below.
Avi Shek –
A fairly new emcee, Avi Shek hailing from Kolkata is a promising act and is polishing his skills as he goes further and further into his musical career. Check out one of his latest tracks below.
From Maslandapore – we have another budding musical talent going by the name of Anuz. This dude shows promise and flair in his work. There is a touch of modernity in the way he flows and the music he makes. Check him out below.