Though the term desi hip hop is often credited to the alternative rhythm and poetry movement in India, it has by its sole merit emerged into one of the most intriguingly remarkable revolution for the youth of our generations to revel in. In the west, rap as an art form was largely an African American oriented pop music that came to the forefront with their quirky turn table effects and their amazing cadence in witty deliveries and of course the unconventional rhymes. While the black rappers for a while had enough of the market share, the white rappers like Eminem, stole millions of hearts with their killer performances in epic rap battles and other record setter competitions.
In India, rapping rapping also meant a lot of risk taking and an enormous amount of guts to stand tall in a market that was selling merry go lucky journey songs of Lucky Ali, and newbie wonders like Palash Sen’s Euphoria . Neither internet nor Television formulated a communication model that would suffice enormous amount of exchange of ideas to brainstorm and be an emulative reference point to the pre-motioned ‘conservative’ South Asian communities.
However, our market was flooded with different MNC brands ranging from FMCGs, to automobiles etcetera and that resulted in a host of new ideas and brainstorming in the market. And, the synthesis of all that resulted in an amalgamation of hybrid jingles and spots. This was certainly not enough a sparkling reason for something of the stature of ‘rhythm and poetry ‘ to start altogether. However, fashion and music married together for a consumerist and new born generation and that meant that the pop dancers, singers and artists’ attire (from their ponies till their boots) were followed to the core. People with half knowledge about the genres of music had come about to picking up shoes, belt and collectibles of the big names from the music industry (much before their music arrived the scene).
Something big was about to happen.
Then, globalization glocalized the industry and the air was filled with the love of music, passion and love for everything across the world.
But, the tectonics were still not that alive to import the beat boxing and acapella movements from the west, though it had otherwise certainly set the stage for the rap and hip hop stars of India to flourish under this avant-garde movement.
So, while Apache Indian in UK was busting all charts with his unconventionally peppy rap, here it was the quirky number by Baaba Sheghal: Thanda Thanda Paani. It sold a million copies and bludgeoned the closed doors to a closet movement that got initiated with the songs of Michael Jackson and the likes. And, when MTV dropped into the scene, the floodgates opened to a wider choices of pop music. This resulted in an increased influx of anglicized lyrics and tunes in any oriental songs especially the ones from the North India. So, Bohemia in 2002 launched his rap album and the kids got crazy like a wildfire.
A later generation of rappers including the rapsters like Yo Yo Honey Singh, Hard Kaur and Badshah gave the young and plump movement its best mileage in class. Rap turned into a sensational phenomena that resounded in every other Bollywood track and successfully pulled up many films from being utter blockbuster failures.
The shift from albums to primary Bollywood numbers was so seamless that the mainstream melodious playback singers of the day were pushed to the fringes. There were lies and calumnies thrown in the air (on the rapsters), but the dirt and specks were not enough to shy away other rap stars of the country to join the movement from different corners of the country.
Brodha V, Divine, Tazzz, Raga, Raxxter, and Lazarus are the bye-products of this neo-movement, to name a few.
However, all has not been too sweet for the men and women of rhyme and prosodies, this means that while many artists have flourished as a result of the digital revolution. YouTube has partially paralysed ‘the art of song creation’ for a devastating stretch. Auto loops and MIDI tones have filled in the spaces in between, thus demeaning the requirements for any experiments on compositions or fine tunings.
Along with the issues of technicalities, there exists an increased amount of stress when it comes to the propaganda behind the songs. There has been an increased amount of allegation against the intonation of the songs that the rap stars have made over the years. From promoting sexism, misogyny and objectifying women, the rap gods of our ages are scarred to the core.
Unfortunately enough we are shifting to a time where we would largely hate loving the rap songs, because of the amount of negative baggage that is now attached to it. This is predominantly true with scandalized drug addicts and alcoholics posing as wannabe bling stars of the future.
With the amount of grit and depth that our country has, it hardly matters if we give in so much of slack to the rap stars and the entire b-byoing generation, but the fact of the matter is every civilization thrives and grows with the gives and takes from others, so why should we not?
This article was featured in our July 2017 issue: http://bit.ly/2teMGuU