With their brutally honest lyrics, bustling beats, and inspiring backstories, homegrown Indian rappers have been catapulted into the limelight, thanks to the rapidly rising popularity of the underground hip hop scene. In addition to getting the nation’s youth grooving to their sensational tracks, they’re also reaching new milestones given their growing appreciation among international audiences.
As the great Stevie Wonder once said, ‘Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.’ This Republic Day we’re celebrating these eminent artists with Vh1’s Hip Hop Hustle: Swadesi, featuring India’s finest across various languages, who have consistently proved the fact that music can transcend all barriers.
From growing up in the slums of Bombay to becoming one of the biggest hip hop rapper in the world, Divine has come a long way. The rapper uses his perilous experiences growing up as inspiration, one of the key reasons why his music resonates with the masses. He shot to fame post his award-winning collaboration with Zoya Akhtar and Ranveer Singh’s Gully Boy. The movie was loosely based on his life, along with some of the most famous tracks, written and produced by him. Most recently, he became the first Indian rapper to have ever been featured on the Times Square Billboard in New York City.
Siri Narayan is one of the few female rappers in India, who is known for rapping in multiple languages including Kannada, Telugu English and Hindi. She began her rapping career five years ago, after listening to B.o.B by Nicki Minaj. She started off by performing at college events and her first rap performance still remains the closest to her heart as it drove her to create more music. Siri’s recent track “My Jam” was nominated for ‘Best India Act’ at the Europe Music Awards 2020
Indian origin singer-songwriter Rajakumari’s unique hip-hop and pop fusion has scored her several notable collaborations with prominent international faces, including Fall Out Boy and Gwen Stefani. Despite being born and brought up in the States, she’s stayed true to her Indian roots, working alongside Divine to produce their hit track Roots. She also made a cameo appearance in Gully Boy, as one of the presiding judges. Representing India on the global platform, she was nominated at the MTV Music Awards for Best India Act in 2019
One of the most prominent Gully Gang members, Kaam Bhaari has been a pioneer of the hip-hop movement in the country. Kaam Bhaari has many solos as well as collaborated songs released. He was a part of the song Shuru Karein Kya from the movie Article 15. The song also included rappers SlowCheeta, Dee MC, and Spitfire. His latest track “White Collar” has become immensely popular. He was recently nominated for the ‘Best India Act’ at the Europe Music Awards 2020 for his track “Mohabbat”
One of the first artists to have made it big in Mumbai’s hip-hop scenes, Emiway paved the way for the rest to follow. Inspired by pop culture sensation Eminem in the early days of his career, Emiway found his artist voice by experimenting with different languages and styles. His addictive beats and honest lyrics won him many fans, with his songs going viral at lighting speed. The rapper won the ultimate prize by bagging the Best India Act award at the Europe Music Awards in 2019, a badge of honor for the homegrown rapper.