Tag Archives: India

The Explosive Evolution of Hip-Hop in India

Illustration by Sijya Gupta

In India, the world’s second most populous nation, underground rap has reached a milestone. What started off as mimicry of American hip-hop in the early 2000s has matured into an original art form, one that’s gradually branching out into various styles and subgenres. With a firm foundation in place, the stage is set for innovation.

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Hidden Gems: Lifafa, “Jaago”

HG-Jaago-1244In our series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.

Surviving in New Delhi, India’s capital city, is no easy feat, especially considering its dismal air quality. The realities of modern life (crop burnings, idling cars, industrial emissions that often go unenforced), combined with certain geographical and meteorological misfortunes keep the city constantly in the red zone; on many days, you can’t make it too far without coughing or wiping your stinging eyes. It is against this backdrop, with his harmonium at hand, that producer-singer Lifafa, aka Suryakant Sawhney, opens his second album Jaago (which means “wake up” in Hindi). His diagnosis is less than optimistic: India is drowning not just in atmospheric toxicity, but existential dread: “Doob raha hai / Yeh desh yahaan,” which translates to “This country is drowning out here.” Continue reading

Dirge: Indian Sludge-Metal Crew Evoke Aztec Gods To Vent Modern Outrage

Dirge

Since at least Iron Maiden’s 1982 classic “Run to the Hills,” metal has had an ongoing lyrical preoccupation with the indigenous peoples of the Americas and their exploitation by colonizing forces. Anthrax famously bemoaned conditions on reservations on “Indians,” and artists like the Lenape duo Nechochwen and the bands of California’s Black Twilight Circle call on their indigenous Mexican heritage for lyrical inspiration. There’s plenty of commonality between the exploitation of the Americas and the colonization of the Indian subcontinent, which the young sludge band Dirge call home. On their audacious debut album, Ah Puch, the Mumbai-based outfit manage to draw a line between the two in a profound yet subtle way. It’s heavy as hell, but it’s never heavy-handed.  Continue reading

Consolidate Records and the Thriving Electronic Scene in Bangalore

consolidate

Phatcowlee

Consolidate Records is a fitting name for the Bangalore, India-based imprint that 35-year-old Rahul Giri and 24-year-old Aniruddh Menon founded in 2015. The plan has always been to find strength in numbers and unite far-fetched experimental and electronic music from Bangalore and beyond (officially, the city changed its name to Bengaluru in 2014; we are using “Bangalore” here in keeping with Giri’s preference). The label’s precursor was a Facebook group Giri started in 2013 to share his latest discoveries. “This was basically triggered by some really cool music coming out of the city,” Giri says. “Especially from younger artists. I basically wanted more people to hear the music.” Continue reading