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Watch Hennessy Freestyle Podcast: How Karma Made His Hip-Hop Dreams Come True 

“If I ever fall, it’s going to be all right because I am going to try my best to be up there,” says the rapper from Dehradun on India’s ultimate hip-hop podcast

Rolling Stone IN Jul 01, 2022

“As a hip-hop artist, there are two kinds of songs that one can make – one where you give audiences what they want to hear and the other where you put out what you want them to hear. My songs are in the latter category,” says Karma as we get chatting on this gripping episode of Hennessy Freestyle, India’s ultimate hip-hop podcast.

The Dehradun-based artist, whose real name is Vivek Arora, rose to fame almost five years ago with his viral hit “Mastak Pe Dastak” (2017). One look at his most recent music videos under the Raftaar-run record label Kalamkaar and you know that he has come a long way in terms of his creativity and strategy. The titles of his viral singles in the past year – “Success,” “Google Pay” and “I Get It” – could well be metaphorical milestones for his rising career graph. 

Karma is the fourth guest on this candid chat series that demystifies the lives and legacies of India’s biggest names in hip-hop. Presented by Hennessy and Rolling Stone India, Hennessy Freestyle podcast is hosted by Nirmika Singh and it has featured icons Raftaar, Dino James and Dee MC in its previous episodes. Rappers Kr$na and Fotty Seven will appear as the next guests in this six-part series.

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True to its legacy, Hennessy has ensured hip-hop artists get a seat at the table year after year. Blending the genre’s philosophy and culture, Hennessy continues to empower rap artists globally, ensuring stories from these artists never go unheard. 

In his episode, Karma shares his humble beginnings in hip-hop. This one time, he was hanging out with a friend when he heard an Eminem song playing in the background. “When I asked my friend who the artist was, he laughed at my ignorance and abused me! Like many others, I went on to idolize Eminem.” Soon enough, Karma the ‘lekhak’ was born. “I was influenced by Eminem’s songs and the stories behind them. I was blown away by how a single line of his had many different, deeper meanings open to interpretation. That is when I got serious about writing.”

The grit and resolve wasn’t unhounded by doubt though, confesses Karma. “I was working night shifts in a call center and had no time to spare for music. I would often wonder if I was any good at rap and hip-hop!” It seems that a sort of epiphany struck the boy from Dehradun and he decided to graciously embrace his fear of failure. “I need to have a song that brings out that sentiment: that if I ever fall, it’s going to be all right because I am going to try my best to be up there.” “Agar Main Haara” (which translates to ‘If I ever lose’), which was released early on in Karma’s career, continues to be one of his wisest, most poignant tracks. Currently, the rapper is working on his debut EP titled HHH. Watch the episode to find out the full name.

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


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