Like other Asian hip-hop, Indian hip-hop started to gain popularity in the 1990s, influenced by the rise of hip-hop culture around the world. One of his many pioneers was none other than Baba Segal. Baba Segal introduced Hindi rap to mainstream audiences with his hits “Tanda Tanda Paani” and “Dil Dake”.
Indian hip-hop really started to gain momentum in the early 2000s. One of the great breakthroughs of Indian hip-hop came with the success of Yo Yo His Honey His Singh, which incorporated his rap tracks into Bollywood, one of India’s most lucrative entertainment businesses. rice field. Even when he stepped away from the Bollywood soundtrack, it flew. In 2011, he released an album titled International Villager, the first non-film score album to dominate airwaves in nearly a decade.
Yo Yo Honey Singh also founded India’s first hip-hop group, rap collective Mafia Mundia, along with other rappers who have gone on to great rap careers, such as Raftaar and Badshah.
Indian hip-hop also has independent kings like Emiway Banthai, who has forged his own career without label backing and is now one of India’s biggest MCs. Another Indian MC doing his own thing is Prabhu Deep. As his name suggests, his lyrics are full of meaning and his videos, which he’s beginning to direct, are what make people think. Also this year, MCSTΔN triumphed over his Big Boss, pushing Indian hip-hop into a new stratosphere.
If you look into Indian hip-hop today, you’ll find a wide variety of sounds and flavors. But there is one particular sound that encapsulates all that rawness. Gully rap, a glorious product of hip-hop culture that has been passed down through generations and originated in the slums. [aka gully] Originating in Mumbai, it later influenced other parts of India. Its fiercely intense lyrics focus on the hardships one might face growing up in poverty and what it feels like to be part of a marginalized society.
Speaking of Gully Wrap, you can’t help but mention Gully King itself, DIVINE. He told his story openly for everyone to understand, taking himself from the slums of Mumbai to the billboards of Times Square in New York City. It all started in 2015 when her collaboration with Naezy, “Mere Gully Mein,” took the US by storm. He is also currently the head of one of India’s biggest hip-hop labels, Gully Gang.
His meteoric rise was iconic in every sense of the word. In 2019, it was made into a movie starring two of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. The movie “Gully Boy” won multiple awards and, of course, broke box office records. If that wasn’t enough, the seminal US rapper Nas went on to sign him and Gully Gang to his label, Mass Appeal, making DIVINE a veritable Indian icon.
Today, India’s hip-hop scene is thriving, with different artists from all over the country producing music in different styles. The scene is still relatively young, but it has already made a huge impact on Indian culture and shows no signs of slowing down. Here is the list of MCs LiFTED believes will carry the torch into the future.