Published on 14 Nov 2016 | 24 days ago
Desi hip hop is a term for music and culture which combines the influences of hip hop and the Indian subcontinent; the term desi referring to the South Asian diaspora. The term has also come to be used as an alternative for rap music and even pop music which involves rappers of South Asian origins. Creation of the term "desi hip hop" is credited to baba sehgal.
Baba Sehgal introduced Hindi rap in the nineties with albums including Thanda Thanda Pani, Dilruba, Main bhi Madonna, Manjula and Dil Dhadke. His album Thanda Thanda Pani (1992) sold 100,000 copies in three and a half months and brought rap music to the Indian club scene. Apache Indian, another artist of Indian origin was the earliest UK artist to make an impact on the UK charts with a series of hits during the nineties. Fakhar-e-Alam is popular for introducing the bhangra/rap genre of music in Pakistan with his debut album Rap Up in 1994. Alam was met with amusement in 1993 when he launched an unusual single Bhangra Rap, but the single was broadcast on MTV and he is still considered a pioneer of bhangra/rap culture in Pakistan. Bohemia introduced Punjabi rap with his debut album Vich Pardesan De (2002) which was recognized internationally.
With the advent of MTV in India, early 2000s saw a surge in Indian rappers who rapped mostly in English, following the suit of American rappers. Hip-hop culture, including graffiti and b-boying started seeping into the club scene and street culture of big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Following the launch of Bohemia's second album Pesa Nasha Pyar (2006), whose tracks like Kali Denali, Kurti and Sahara became massive hits, there was a new-found interest in Desi languages during the late 2000s. Female rapper Hard Kaur made many popular tracks for Bollywood including Move Your Body (2007) and Talli (2008) which incorporated rap music in Bollywood. Even though there were several occasional hits during this period, the desi hop scene remained limited largely to the underground, with a very niche loyal audience.
Honey Singh is credited by some for popularizing rap through Bollywood
There was increased interest in the rap genre in India after 2011, with a large number of rappers emerging from all corners of the country. This is largely credited to the success of Yo Yo Honey Singh in India and Bollywood. Following huge success of his album International Villager, Singh went on to release several hits songs both in Indie industry and in Bollywood. In the wake of success of Honey Singh, a new trend was formed in Bollywood with many producers roping in rap artists for their songs. Even some big Bollywood actors like Ranveer Singh, Akshay Kumar and Varun Dhawan tried their hands at rapping. Due to the exposure through Bollywood, rap became a household term and an increased production of rap music was observed, especially in the Punjabi music industry. There is an ongoing debate among the hip-hop community about the contribution of Honey Singh to the genre. While some artists including Badshah, Ikka, Deep Money, Manjeet Ral have acknowledged his contribution to the industry, others like Raftaar, Bohemia and Imran Khan have openly denied it. There is also a negative sentiment among some followers of hip-hop culture in India regarding the recent commercialization of the genre. Even though many fans are not happy with the recent commercialization of hip-hop in India, this commercialization has also lead to expansion of the underground scene, with independent artists building a name in Indian hip hop. Because of this, the future of desi hip-hop is generally perceived to be positive.
Mixing & Mastering By : Ahson Ajmal