Yo! Hip hop culture finding takers in city

Yo! Hip hop culture finding takers in city

Hip hop, historically perceived as the musical expression of urban youth, is slowly being incorporated into the music culture of many cities, Bengaluru being one of them.

Hip hop culture includes rap music, breakdancing and graffiti.

Says Brodha V, one of the most popular rappers in the country, "When it comes to rap, Bengaluru is in a very unique space because a lot of artistes over here rap in multiple languages."

Many people, especially college kids, are aware of the music coming out of the West, thanks to platforms like YouTube. Brotha V says, "Rap is not as alien an artform as it was a few years ago, when we heard things like rap is too fast, I don't get the lyrics..."

"The hip hop scene is growing in Bengaluru but it is not very established yet," says Amrith Raghunathan, 'Doc.Awes', record producer/sound engineer. Some take to it thinking it is cool. But others are good at what they are doing, he says.

Others agree with this sentiment. "Of the many performers we have, only a few know what rap and hip hop actually are. Others are just looking for quick ways to go viral on social media," says Abhishek (Shastra) of the Kannada rap crew 'Rap Kavigalu'.

Hip hop is also seen as something anyone can do. "Unlike other musicians, who take years of practice to be able to perform, anybody can start writing rhymes and rapping. So I feel like a lot of rappers are putting out songs before they truly train themselves to sound professional," says Brodha V.

So who is the audience for hip hop? "That varies from rapper to rapper. My music is predominantly in English so English-speaking urban youth would be my audience. Rappers performing in Indian languages attract everybody. Take Chandan Shetty. From auto drivers to people in bars, everyone listens to his music," he notes.

"We talk about day-to-day life, feelings and emotions through rap. So anyone who connects with the lyrics, or anyone who just loves music, can listen to our songs," says Abhishek.

For live rappers, venues are hard to come by. "That's because people still don't know what this artform actually means," says Hemanth (Jazbaat), the Hindi rapper of 'Rap Kavigalu'.

But things are changing. "Slowly and steadily, we are being invited to perform at venues as varied as pubs, malls, charity events, college shows, corporate functions," he says.

The recent success of Suede Gully, a video collaboration featuring rappers, street artists, and dancers, brought out by Puma, has lent hip hop a new charm. It featured rappers like Divine, Prabh Deep, Khasi Bloodz and Madurai Souljour. "The success of artistes like Divine and Brodha V has given aspiring rappers the confidence to think of this as a career now," says Amrith.

B-boying is another hip hop-associated artform that is creating waves in the city. The recently conducted Red Bull BC One Cypher India 2018 saw enthusiastic participation from youngsters.

Red Bull BC One All Star Ronnie, the judge of the Bengaluru qualifying round, says, "The B-boying scene in India is one of the biggest I've experienced. It's rare to see so many B-boys sign up for the battles and workshops."

 

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