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Six New Indian Hip-Hop Releases To Check Out This Week

We round up the latest from artists like Dino James, as well as up and coming rappers like Brandon, Naqaab47 and J Trix

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Anurag Tagat Nov 12, 2019

Indo-Canadian trap/hip-hop duo Cartel Madras are out with their new EP 'Age of the Goonda.' Photo: Ralph and Floyd Gonzalez/Courtesy of Sub Pop

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Age of the Goonda by Cartel Madras


On their latest EP and label debut on Sub Pop, Canadian-Indian sister duo Cartel Madras are unsparing right from the start. On the menacing opener “Jumpscare,” Eboshi and Contra throw out a warning: “I move like a Naxalite.” Their lead single “Goonda Gold” employs a bit of Tamil and plenty of gun shot samples, while “The Legend of Jalapeno Boiz” is more debauched and laidback. The six-track EP includes “Glossy Outro,” which is produced by Kerala beatsmith Parimal Shais, plus the high-energy “Lil Pump Type Beat” and the tempered “Dawood Ibrahim (Woof Woof),” which features intersectional lyrical gems like “Put your ass up/I’m in it for butts/Anybody’s booty/They, him, her” and a hook that goes “Call me a killer, cuz I’m putting out a hit.”

“Tandav” by Dino James

On his latest single, featuring singer Girish Nakod, Mumbai-based rapper Dino James runs his rhymes at a snarling pace, taking aim at all the haters even as he describes his own place in Indian hip-hop. He sings on “Tandav” about his standing, “Na main Delhi mai hu suno na hun street mai/Underground aur commercial ka bridge main” (“I’m not in Delhi nor on the street/I’m on the bridge between underground and commercial [hip-hop]”) With references to The Avengers and typically buoyant trap production offered by Mumbai producer Nilesh Patel aka Bluish Music, “Tandav” goes out to James’ 2.5 million subscribers.

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“Hooked” by Brandon x Echologue

Seasoned Mumbai producer Pruthu Parab has been part of acts like Stitch In Nine for a while, but his studio moniker Echologue moves beyond commercial projects with a new song called “Hooked,” featuring rapper Brandon F. The first release from Parab and filmmaker Hridaye A. Nagpal’s new collaborative venture Soma, “Hooked” features drug-drenched verses about deliberation and falling in love. The video, however, tells a NSFW-ish story that crosses Quentin Tarantino with something surreal.

“Dilli” by Naqaab47 x Shoals

What starts off as a typically slinky, groovy hip-hop beat morphs into swirling basslines and ambient synths courtesy New Delhi producer duo Shoals (Utkarsh Varma and Sidharth Gupta), who have a new collaborative EP Paidaish with hip-hop crew Naqaab47. The lead single “Dilli” is a name-taking, no holds barred run through life and times in the capital — politics, societal ills and all included.

“Real” by Meba Ofilia

Shillong rapper and singer Meba Ofilia brings out a summery, sunny R&B hook on her latest single “Real,” which is produced by Nepal audio engineer Steven Tamang aka Bymjukut. Originally released in 2017, this new version of the song re-consolidates the singer’s resilience in the face of life’s trials and tribulations. The song also throws in a guitar solo from Tamang, who works with the likes of Kathmandu metallers Underside.

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“Baap Ko Mat Sikhaby J Trix and SubSpace

Kolkata rapper Jaitay Bhardwaj aka J Trix teams up for another collaboration with producer SubSpace but this one’s far more hard-hitting than before. J Trix takes on detractors in typically Indian style, positioning himself as anything but an underdog, rapping about earning one’s rep and pushing back against anyone criticizing hip-hop. Over a bass-heavy trap beat peppered with orchestral hits, J Trix seems to be targeting online haters who hide behind anonymity to dislike rappers.

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