Voice of Tha People Recap July in Hip Hop
A b-boying jam in Delhi, a hip hop anthem for Chandigarh and more this month
Indian hip-hop has had a slow month but we at Voice of Tha People have found you reasons to be excited as you read our recap of July.
A lot of the buzz in the scene this month came from the North, with a standout music video, and a major dance event which reinforced the self-empowering attitude inherent to hip-hop culture. Delhi Funk Circle is a jam that began in 2013 and kicked off its sixth edition this month. Founded by Aastik Tewatia – a popper and b-boy himself, the jam began with merely 20 participants in attendance in its first instance.But, the vision complemented by serious ambition and determination has turned it into India’s premier popping jam, as witnessed at Delhi Funk Circle 6, in the RK Puram Community Center in Delhi earlier this month.
Having got into hip hop as a dancer, Aastik has been studying turntablism since the turn of the year (“out of necessity” as he would say), and was at the helm of all activity as he was on the ones and twos for a continuous period of eight hours on the day, with Enkore from Mumbai to MC the proceedings and perform at the event. With Aastik and his team aiming for this to be one of the grandest jams India has witnessed, it was only right that the judge was to be of great stature too. Pop N Tod, known for being a part of Chris Brown’s “I Can Transform Ya” music video, and a member of League of Extraordinary Dancers (of So You Think You Can Dance fame), was flown down from the US to judge and perform a showcase at the event. He also held workshops the following week for dancers from the capital city. They might have been drenched in sweat by the end of the night, but none of the 400 or so attendees complained, having been entertained by almost 100 participants across categories. Amandeep and He-Man won the 2-on-2 category, Vineet emerged the winner in the solo category and Manish ran amok in the 7 to smoke challenge.
Elsewhere up North, the recently released “Shehar Mera Chandigarh,” proved to be the anthem that Chandigarh had been waiting for. Produced and performed by Kru172 with Harry Cheema also coming through with a verse, the song contains multiple references to the city, with more than a mere nod of respect to the Rock Garden, and its late creator Nek Chand as well. The tasteful tribute also happened to come at an emotional moment as its release came within the month of the passing of Nek Chand.
Before we get into the excitement awaiting us this August, we have to shout out Mumbai crew Dopeadelicz and Bombay Bassment frontman MC Bobkat for all representing rap in its most tasteful and lyrical essence on MTV Coke Studio, on separate episodes. The Dharavi crew joined Ram Sampath and Sona Mohapatra for a collaboration titled ‘Rangabati’ while Bobkat collaborated with Dhruv Ganekar and Ila Arun on ‘Nimoli.’
Looking ahead, August promises to take the buzz to greater heights, with breaking crews BEAST Mode and Freak N Stylz embarking on tours (to the North East and with Pro Kabaddi League respectively), Poetik Justis, Sikander Kahlon and Enkore all readying new material and arguably India’s biggest battle rap moment – Battle Bars Bombay: Home Invasion scheduled for the 22nd of August.
The organizers of the event also simply known as B3, have invited MCs from across the country to take part in handpicked match ups. Indian hip hop enthusiasts claim this could lead to the ascension of Indian battle rap into a whole new realm probably deserving of international acclaim. The day is expected to be packed with explosives, with veterans facing each other and newcomers, who have been honing their skills primarily for battles and not just as an ancillary activity to their music. Until then, whet your appetite with the headlining battle from the last event conducted by B3 below, featuring Mumbai MCs D’evil and EMF going at each other.