Voice of Tha People Recap September in Hip Hop
The month witnessed rapper Divine offering a new collaboration, young hip-hopper Naezy performing to a packed house in Mumbai and the birth of a new rap cypher
While we thought September would be the first of four months to guarantee that one of Indian hip hop’s biggest years yet departed with the loudest of bangs ”“ it wasn’t to be. Having now crashed back to reality, we can truly begin to appreciate September for itself ”“ a month that, while there was no real displacement of the paradigm, had tremors being felt all the way through it. One of this year’s hottest artists, Divine, supplied the streets with a banging collaboration, Naezy joined the former to rock a show at Blue Frog and one of Indian rap’s most skillful cyphers have begun courtesy Poetik Justis. And we have some surprising news from Bengaluru.
Early in the month, Levis 501 Fridays in Mumbai on SeptemberÂ 11th gave us a real taste of what an organic hip hop-meets- indie night feels after quite a while. Nightlife mainstays EZ Riser and Sickflip co-billed the gig with Naezy and Divine, with both rappers performing individual sets. Naezy premiered some unreleased material which had us excited while Divine was coming off having just set the interwebs ablaze being a part of “Jungle Raja,” the lead single from Nucleya’s album Bass Rani. The innovative launch of the album as part of a Ganesh Visarjan procession led to us getting some fun visuals for the song as well, courtesy Shot By JD productions (of Mere Gully Mein fame).
As it turned out, Bombay Bassment coincidentally were live in Bengaluru the same night as when this mayhem went down in Mumbai, and concluded their month having performed internationally for the second time, this time being invited to the Kaloo Bang Festsival in Reunion Island. Feyago, too, recently announced and embarked on an all India tour for upcoming project that looks like it will be titled “Stone Age.” The build-up to the end of the year in terms of mixtapes and albums too has been rather buzzing, with news that Bangaloreans Young Dirrt, Smokey and Big Deal are all working on new bodies of work as well, along with unconfirmed rumors of other veterans’ plans as well. Leaving nothing to the rumors with regards to Greatness, his upcoming body of work, Poetik Justis conceptualized and sparked off the weekly Cipher Challenge this September.
A true test of an MC’s readiness, the challenge calls for rappers to prepare and release a song on a a common instrumental (produced by HHB) passed on from MC to MC as he/she is called out the previous week. The artist then calls out the next artist to complete the challenge within a week and it thus proceeds. Having been set off by Poetik, the artists to be a part of it thus far include Dee MC, the ”˜madman’ D’evil, and battle rap favorites EMF and Xcentrik. While on the topic of battles, b-boys b-girls and breaking enthusiasts should be on alert, with prestigious Bengaluru championships, Challenge Cup [October 31st] and Freeze [November 7th- 8th] andÂ just around the corner. Catch the recap of Freeze 2014 below.
While it was far from the busiest the city has been, Bengaluru hasn’t been too quiet recently either, with Humming Tree playing host to some of the city’s most interesting rap talent including Smokey, Big Deal, and Gubbi. But the standout news from the city was from another of the forces it can boast of ”“ Brodha V. The rapper, whose signing to a major was much celebrated when he agreed to terms with Sony Music, recently announced that he had parted ways with the label through a Facebook post on his page. With recent news cropping up of Naezy signing to indie giant Only Much Louder, this makes one wonder what lies ahead for both, Brodha V and Sony Music. We’re not too worried about V though, having proven he might just be at his best ‘On His Own.‘ To touch upon the North before we wrap this up, the highlight of the month had to be this collaboration between Kru172’s Lucky and New Yorker Rdikulus titled “Sincerely Yours.”
As one can see, this was as loud as a relatively quiet month could have been, and it has us wondering what’s really cooking behind the scenes as the next three months will really prove whether 2015 manages to surpass 2014 in terms of the exposure and elevation that Indian hip hop experiences.