Gig Review: August Edition of Ribbit
The August edition of Pepsi MTV Indies Ribbit was a riot of free verse, Hindi rap and groovy tunes
A female rapper who tore apart the misogynistic notions of fellow MCs, a Hindi rapper who rose above his impoverished youth and a Hindi funk band who harped on inner peace and the dream of a better nation-the lineup for this month’s edition of Pepsi MTV Indies Ribbit seemed to have been largely centered around the voice of the people.
Kicking off the evening was 23-year-old rapper MC Kaur who breezed through her 45-minute set, constantly transitioning between the mixer and the mic, between spoken verse and tongue-twisting rap, and between fiery rants and humorous jibes. Kaur, who made her debut with Hip Hop Bahu in 2014, had the audience steadily hooked, right from the brazen “Made Love to J Dilla That Night” to a socially inclined freestyle rap criticizing evils like “balaatkar and brashtachaar.”
Next on stage picking up the pace was Hindi rapper Naezy, who was introduced to the crowd through a screening of the recently released Bombay 70. As the short film revealed, Naved Sheikh was born and raised in the poverty-stricken chawls of Kurla, eventually retiring his delinquent ways to pursue hip hop-a theme that runs thick in many of his compositions. Naezy was joined by fellow rapper Neykhil from his street crew The Schizophrenics as they went through tracks like “Aafat!” and “Raaste Kathin.” Apart from executing a crisp, power-packed set, the duo also had the audience in splits with their one-liners, such as “Abhi Blue Frog public ko samajh mein aana chahiye, English mein bhi bola.” [Now the Blue Frog people should understand, we’ve said it in English as well.]
The real crowd favorite however, was hands down the collaboration with Mumbai-based Vivian Fernandes aka Divine, who guested with Naezy for the viral hit “Mere Gully Mein” and had the entire audience chiming in for the chorus [with a few listeners even trying to rap along], earning them racous applause.
Playing their debut gig up next were , a Hindi electro-funk band who are essentially the reincarnation of urban pop project Bay City Lights [who were the reincarnation of garage rock band Something Relevant.] Their music-some of which self-admittedly border on existential clichÃ©s, others on the spirit of cities like Mumbai- was a pleasant shift to laidback grooves and catchy melodies,with singer/songwriter Tejas Menon guesting on guitars and Rhys D’Souza on the saxophone.
While a lineup of politically-charged, strongly opininated musicians could have gone downhill very quickly, Ribbit turned out to be far from preachy or monotonous. The series once again lived up to its promise of good music, fresh talent and of course, free entry. And those are always good crowd-pullers.