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Twenty year old rapper Spitfire from Madhya Pradesh first encountered hip-hop when he was in the 11th grade. His debut EP ‘Paathshala’, released on IncInk Records, talks about his own life story and how he found the strength to break through stereotypes and find his own identity. An interesting spoken-word poetry approach layered with an offbeat and ambient atmosphere suits Nitin’s poetic chops the best. The underlying theme of the EP revolves around how hip-hop and rap as an art form has added a lot of value in his life making him the person that he is today and how he would like to exercise this medium to continue to teach and inform his audiences. With vigour and boldness in his voice and word play ‘Paathshala’ can be quite accessible to tune into at a club or at home.
‘Mere Gully Mein’ represents the emergence of real Indian hip-hop. DIVINE and Naezy are the new age desi rappers who talk about all socio-political-economic issues governing the country which is quite a change from the superficial and aspirational hip hop that surrounds us today. With an intent to change the masses’s misconception and rewrite the history of Indian hip hop the duo’s authentic and original story is being identified by people all over the world. Hailing from the city’s chawls and gullies to now making waves not just in the country, but also internationally these two rappers and their rap-to-riches project has also been an inspiration for 2019 released Bollywood movie, Gully Boy.
Seedhe Maut represent the next stage in the evolution of Delhi’s hip-hop sound. Comprising of rappers Encore ABJ and Calm, the duo dole out verses packed with social and political commentary, mastering the art of sharp, antagonistic and inventive rhymes through their rapid-fire delivery in both English and Hindi. The first single from their upcoming debut album ‘Shaktiman’ is produced by Sez On The Beat, and constitutes a fiery declaration of working class struggles; riffing off the metaphor expressed in the cult Indian TV series of the same name, the track imparts an underlying emancipatory message of self-belief, encouraging listeners to break free from the shackles of everyday life and empower themselves.
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Born in Korea and raised in the US, rapper pH-1 was making music alongside his day-job as a web developer when his delightfully uplifting sound began to attract attention on both sides of the Pacific ocean. The musician wanted to distinguish himself by making respectable music that he could sing for his family without any shame, whilst staying true to his emotions and artistic vision in creating his own style, earning him a record deal with Korean label H1GHR MUSIC and gaining recognition from the likes of Jay Park. His latest release sees him team up with PENOMECO; on “Cupid” the mischievous duo exchange romantic verses in both English and Korean over a uptempo synth-heavy beat.
Gifted with a unique voice that contains traces of traditional Punjabi folk singers, Prabh Deep is widely acknowledged as one of the best underground MCs in the country. With a flair for lyrical dexterity and a ear for big anthem hooks, his music paints a vivid picture of growing up in a locality that’s reeling from high unemployment rates and the recent influx of drugs into the community. His debut album ‘Class-Sikh’, produced in collaboration with Sez, was released in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim, with the album declared by Rolling Stone India to be one of the best releases of the year and Deep chosen as the Spotlight Artist for the month by Apple Music India. Pithy, crowd-pleasing single ‘Suno’ led fans to classify him through various lenses; the outspoken “underground” rapper poised to take over the burgeoning Indian hip-hop scene, the classically humble artist with no airs, and the good Sikh boy spinning rap flows out of traditional Punjabi folk rhythms.
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Adding the perfect feature to a song is a delicate art-form, and SHAUN knows how to caramelize artists as an ingredient to enhance his up-tempo songs. ‘생각나’ (Thinking Of) is the third track of his newly released EP ‘Take’, as the Seoul based DJ/producer serves up a springy and fast-paced beat for his guest vocalists to paint the picture of a hollow and empty relationship. Rising singer-songwriter SUMIN contributes a sweet, angelic voice to deliver the lover’s frank confession without weighing in sorrow, while freshman rapper Ovan strikes back his feelings for her with heavy bars as he admits that he can’t help but think of her.
The charismatic DPR LIVE is rapidly making a name for himself as one of Korea’s most exciting new creative talents. As a member of collective/label DPR (Dream Perfect Regime) he enjoyed a successful debut in 2017 with the album ‘Coming to You Live’, weaving together a unique style of intricate raps and soothing melodies. Based between Seoul and Guam, the rapper pursuing experimental sounds incorporating future bass, trap, and soul to craft his own dream-like sound.
With his futuristic aesthetic, DPR LIVE’s visuals have a distinctive modern, technicolour quality; his latest single ‘Playlist’ fuses an up-tempo tribal drum beat with a classic bossa nova sample for a departure from his usual vibe, yet still retaining his rhythm and romantic energy for an undeniable summer banger.