When the wave of hip-hop, rapping and street art hit the world, India was not too far behind. Over the years, there have been multiple rappers, from across the nation, who’ve managed to express their ideologies and emotions with some seriously amazing tracks.
Of these underground rappers, Divine and Naezy are perhaps the most famous and their work justifies every bit of the fame and love that they’ve earned.
But here are other desi rappers who are ruling the genre, and producing thoughtful, catchy, and brilliant music that is bound to enrich your playlist:
1. Bilal Shaikh a.k.a Emiway Bantai
Mumbai based rapper Emiway streamed on Youtube and into audience’s hearts with his 2014 track Aur Bantai. Today, he is one of the most famous rappers, and recently, his ‘diss tracks’ (against rapper Raftaar), became a viral sensation. He currently has 2.4 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
2. 7 Bantaiz
Formed in 2014, 7 Bantaiz is one of the relatively new crews, who actually drew inspiration from local rap artists like Divine and Dopeadelicz. All the crew members have been together since school, and the 18-year-olds already have 27k subscribers on their YouTube channel. Their raps are a mixture of various languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and English.
3. Vighnesh Shivanand a.k.a Brodha V
This Bangalore based rapper was only 18 when he first started participating in rap battles like Insignia on the social media site, Orkut. In the ten years since he first started, he’s collaborated with artists like Raghu Dixit, Vishal Dadlani, Benny Dayal, and he currently has 93k subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Hailing originally from Karnal, 25-year-old Pardhaan, is often known as the desi Haryanvi rapper and his raps in Hindi and Haryanvi have been quick to climb the popularity charts. He has collaborated with artists like Neha Kakkar, Benny Dayal, and others, and currently has 226k subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Before the current crop of rapper took the internet by storm, there were the original rap crews that tasted fame, without YouTube likes like the Dharavi based crew Dopeadelicz. The trio of Psycho (Tony Sebastian), Dope Daddy (Rajesh Radhakrishnan) and Ben Z (Agnel Avinash Benson) have been part of Coke Studio, and YouTube fanfest and currently have 14k subscribers on their YouTube channel.
6. Krishna Kaul a.k.a. Krsna
One of the earliest rappers to emerge on the Indian hip-hop scene, this Delhi-based rapper first started recording and releasing songs on MySpace, as early as in 2006. Earlier his stage name was Young Prozpekt, and the 30-year-old has been rapping since he was 14. Today, he has collaborated with fellow rappers like Raftaar, produced an anthem for Save The Children, and consistently speaks against corruption.
7. Mumbai’s Finest
One of the oldest crews in the city, Mumbai’s Finest have actually been responsible for showing the way to multiple young artists. Mumbai’s first generation crew, Mumbai’s Finest can actually be credited for bringing about a change in the image of rappers and turning the scene of Indian rap from obscenity and derivative music to authentic music with a message. Recently, they also produced the track Yatri Kripya Dhyan De for the Netflix original, Love Per Square Foot.
8. Dino James
Originally from Bhopal, Dino originally wanted to become an actor, but when he failed he realized that rapping was his true calling because it gave him a medium to vent his feelings. His composes tracks inspired by his experience and today, has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube.
9. Kunal Pandagle a.k.a Kaam Bhari
Only 20 years old, this Mumbai-based rapper is known for a rapid rapping style that sets him apart from the hip-hop scene, even though Mumbai is the inspiration behind his works. Having already collaborate with a few brands, he has also written and sung the song Kaam Bhaari in the movie Gully Boy and in fact, even acted in the film.