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On The Beat: New Must-Hear Hip-Hop From Across India

Tune in to New Delhi artist MC Snub, Mumbai rapper #itsatrip, Jaipur artist Ruhaan79, Kannada hip-hop act Kali and more

Anurag Tagat Jun 07, 2020

New Delhi rapper-producer D₹V aka Dhruv Rajpal. Photo: Kirti Narain

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“Farak” by D₹V ft Full Power

Taken from his recently released debut album Dhruv Rajpal, New Delhi rapper-producer D₹V makes a weighty first impression across 10 tracks, drawing from the Atlanta trap scene as much as he sticks to hazy Hindi-English bars. Sharing producer credits alongside the likes of Sez on the Beat, Vneeeet aka Vineet Tiwari and Kreon, Rajpal shines early on in the album with “Farak,” featuring fellow Delhi fire-spitting duo Full Power (Yungsta and Frappe Ash). It’s icy, calculated trap that doesn’t miss the mark, much like the rest of the album.

“Arthanadham” by StreetViolater

24-year-old Hyderabad rapper StreetViolater presents no-holds-barred Telugu rap like we’ve never heard before on his latest song “Arthanadham.” Featuring a vocal hook from renowned singer Chandana Bala Kalyan over a beat by Venkimusic aka Venki Konda, the rapper throws down about the state of the world and how “pain and empathy are emotions that go hand in hand.”

Bring back the flower boy by #itsatrip

With vocals recorded on a phone over bought beats, Mumbai rapper Shreyas Sagvekar (who appears under the moniker #itsatrip) comes across one of the most effortlessly refreshing voices in Indian hip-hop on his new EP Bring back the flower boy. It’s four tracks and just about eight and a half minutes, but Sagvekar makes his mark well, confessional and burdened but never whiny on songs like “Paper Bags.” The closing title track features a pleasant guitar-led cadence, as the rapper celebrates all his “day 1s” and reconciles where he’s at in life.

Buy the EP here.

Juice by MC Snub

Sharing the stage as supporting artist for everyone from singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad to DJ-producer Arjun Vagale and more, New Delhi’s MC Snub aka Shaurya Bhatia is more or less precise with the beats and vocals on his new EP Juice. Across 13 minutes, there’s hyped up choruses (“Subah”), friendly vocal melodies that are interspersed with angrier verses (“Garry”), cover star dreams (“Rollingstone”) and more. There’s an earnestness that comes through from the 23-year-old and that might just become MC Snub’s trademark.

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“Yatra” by Naveen ft Ananyaa Gaur

New Delhi rapper Naveen philosophizes about the time any well-traveled outdoorsy person will ever get to experience landscapes and a change of scenes out of the four walls of their homes, owing to the coronavirus pandemic and its travel restrictions. Teaming up with Ananyaa Gaur’s Hindustani classical lilt, “Yatra” also sees Naveen grow as a producer and introspective storyteller.

“Jaatre” by Kali

Bengaluru-based Kannada rapper Kali aka Akshay Achar recruits ace producer Vedang Deshpande for a sublime single called “Jaatre.” Employing morphed vocals at the start, he brings it down to a low chorus about how we shouldn’t be seeing everything in terms of black and white. In the accompanying music video shot by Ujwal Suryavamshi, Kali is seen in different parts of Bengaluru amongst crowds over trippy video effects and filters.

“Gunah” by Satyum

New Delhi rapper Satyam Gupta aka Satyum talks about anxiety and paranoia over a buzzing, ominous beat on his debut single “Gunah.” Released in April and part of his upcoming album Delhi Trap House, “Gunah” is just about 98 seconds but moves fast and unsparingly as we get a glimpse of the rapper’s psychosis. On April 30th, Satyum released his second single “Amar,” which carries forward his snarling rap delivery.

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“Nazaare” by Ruhaan79 x Daksh

As much as there’s stark realities in India that’s fodder for rappers to expose systemic issues, Jaipur rapper-singer Ruhaan79 aka Rajat Singh offers a perspective of “having fun even if you are in the middle of the toughest times” on his latest song “Nazaare.” Following up his 2019 album Kaidi No. 79, there’s verses that carry local references to Jaipur neighborhoods and plays up survival instinct in a lighter manner.

“8/12” by Rada x Buck

Repping Pune in this list are rappers Buck aka Aditya Kalia and Raj Dareka aka Rada on their jumpy new single “8/12,” produced by Yatin Sail. In the track featuring a verse each from the duo, Buck lays bare the importance of always wanting to be a student, while Rada touches upon how to take victories and losses, both impressing upon the listener that one’s craft matters more than material pursuits like fame and money.

“Haalaat” by Agaahi Rahi x Awara

On their second collaboration that follows up 2019 single “NH 808,” Bengaluru-based rapper Agaahi Raahi aka Farhan Ahmed and Lucknow artist Awara aka Jeet Pandey offer a hard-hitting take on India as it goes through the coronavirus pandemic. The Hindi song, produced by New Delhi’s Alchemii, is sharp in its criticism about how those who are responsible for the apparent mishandling of a crises are never held accountable.

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