The first week into March and we’ve already got a surprise EP by KR$NA and the other notable rap faction — that of Emiway Bantai — have enough to boast about as well with the release of his new song “Scene Change.” Don’t make us choose or give preferential treatment here, because there’s clearly plenty of room for all to thrive in desi hip-hop. In our latest rap recap, we take a look at everything that’s going down and coming up in Indian hip-hop.
Time Will Tell EP by KR$NA
Rapper KR$NA is always good with reminders and his new EP Time Will Tell is a short but timely message to all those punters waiting on his next move. The artist cuts fast and loose across three tracks, with the music video for “Kaha Tak” taking stock of how far he’s come, while he returns the favor for Pakistani hip-hop duo Young Stunners’ Talha Anjum (“Been A While”) and Talhah Yunus (“NGL,”) right after he featured on “Touch Base” from Anjum’s album Open Letter recently.
“Scene Change” by Emiway Bantai
The one (among several other) aspects that keeps Emiway Bantai‘s name at the top of the hip-hop game in India is his commitment to putting out music on a prolific level. “Scene Change” is pretty much a testament to that. His latest single is drenched in Auto-Tune, switching up loud and brash cadences while he sticks to singing about what he feels strongly about — being at the top, shaking off ungrateful haters and not having any competition.
“Thatlej Blues (Radio Edit)” by Dhanji ft Circle Tone, Neil CK
How many hip-hop songs about Ahmedabad can claim to pay homage to James Brown? That’s exactly the original, clutter-breaking flavor that Dhanji brings to “Thatlej Blues (Radio Edit).” Produced by Bengaluru’s Circle Tone and featuring additional vocals from Ahmedabad’s Neil C.K., Dhanji fuses funk with rap like never before, being jubilant about his roots and the journey so far. The shimmering, dancey song is the first glimpse of Dhanji’s upcoming full-length album Ruab.
“Shia Bia” by Shia, Zero Chill
Mumbai-based rapper Shia and producer Zero Chill team up for a stomper of a new song that takes down the mostly-male competition with slick bars. “Shia Bia” in its hook undoubtedly references American rapper Bia, and it’s more a homage than anything else. Released via Found Out Records, “Shia Bia” is another step for Shia to claim her place in Indian hip-hop.
“Perfect Life” by Tsumyoki
Goa’s Tsumyoki picks up a ukulele and crafts a good vibes anthem with his latest tune “Perfect Life.” Call it utopian, call it escapist or anything else, the rapper works his way into new spaces, being his most affable self. With additional production assists by New Delhi’s Bharg Kale, the music video for “Perfect Life” sees Tsumyoki addressing his desires to a dear one by the beach.
“Meherban” by Farhan Khan x Sammohit x Mr. Doss
Mumbai-based rapper Farhan Khan raps about gratefulness in the face of a journey filled with stumbling blocks, chance encounters and life lessons on his latest song “Meherban,” produced by Mr. Doss. He’s joined by rapper Sammohit from the crew Aavrutti, who weaves in hefty bars about his own struggles and accomplishments. All of it makes “Meherban” a somber yet aspirational song for those listening.
Chaar Diwaari hits Pune
For the first time since the release of his mind-melting horror-inducing debut EP Teri Maiyat Ke Gaane, New Delhi artist Chaari Diwaari is hitting new cities with his show. Expect moshpits and singalongs aplenty, as the rapper makes his way to Pune on March 11th as part of gig series Royal Enfield Garage Sessions. With early bird and phase 1 tickets already sold out, this automobile showroom in Pune is about to get jumping. Event details here.
EPR Iyer goes solo
Although still very much a part of Kolkata rap-rock favorites Underground Authority, frontman EPR Iyer embarks on a solo tour called Artivism In Action this month though to April, playing in Hard Rock Cafe (Hi-Tech City) in Hyderabad on March 11th, followed by shows in New Delhi, Navi Mumbai and Bengaluru. Come for EPR’s in-your-face poetry and rap, stay for the energetic rock twists that are coming courtesy of guitarist Kuntal De and drummer Bob.
RED FM Swag Fest ft Yo Yo Honey Singh, MC Square, Milind Gaba, Naveen Koomar and more
Although more in the Punjabi pop space, there’s no denying there’s a lot of hip-hop being represented at Swag Fest in New Delhi this weekend. Taking place on March 11th at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the all-day concert features longstanding artists like Yo Yo Honey Singh, but also rising stars like MC Square and Naveen Koomar. Get tickets here.