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“In Hip-Hop Lies My Honor”: Raftaar on the First Episode of Hennessy Freestyle Podcast

The rapper, mentor and entrepreneur reflects on his legacy and shares his biggest dreams on the inaugural video of India’s ultimate hip-hop podcast

Rolling Stone IN Jun 10, 2022

Left (L): Raftaar. Right (R): Nirmika Singh

Raftaar shrugs off any accusations of him being a trailblazer. “My story is the story of any hustler! You know, the kind of people who find every opportunity to work towards their goal, whether by staying up all night practicing their chops or stealthily producing music on their office computers when nobody is watching ,” says the rapper on the first episode of Hennessy Freestyle Podcast, presented by Rolling Stone India and Hennessy.

A six-part series aimed at spotlighting Indian hip-hop’s biggest leaders and celebrating their diverse legacy, Hennessy Freestyle Podcast also features New Delhi rappers Kr$na and Fotty Seven, Mumbai artists Dino James and Dee MC as well as Karma from Dehradun. The podcast is hosted by Rolling Stone India’s Executive Editor Nirmika Singh, who engages each artist in a no-holds-barred conversation about their journeys and ambitions.

Born Dilin Nair, the New Delhi-rapper has built a robust hip-hop ecosystem around him over the years, which now includes his own individual artistic journey as well as those of the artists under his label, Kalamkaar. He is known for his sharp wit, immersive gigs and multifaceted skills that range from writing, producing, performing and now running a business rooted in the discovery of new talent. 

Is he able to spot genius in budding artists? “In hip-hop lies my honor. And going by the way Kalamkaar has fared so far, I haven’t been proved wrong,” says Raftaar, ever so secure and confident in the goodness of his craft. What does he have to say about the rap beefs he finds himself embroiled in every now and then? Who does this nascent music culture of rap in India really belong to? “Hip-hop doesn’t belong to anyone. It is not the artist who embraces it, it is hip-hop that brings people into its fold. When we start thinking of it through this lens, the whole perspective changes.”

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(Hennessy Freestyle Podcast is for viewing by those aged 25 and above only. Drink Hennessy responsibly)

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