Hyderabad applauds rap battles and hip hop movements
After the lockdown, there is unprecedented enthusiasm for hip-hop and rap as artists challenge audiences with live electric performances
A regular open-air Sunday dinner at the Bounce in Kompally turned into an electrifying night when The Deccan Hype Vol 1 took to the stage.
Diners were pleasantly surprised to see 15 performers, two entertainers, a DJ, and a range of rap battles such as Pass The Mic command the open entertainment space. After months of continual shutdowns, this high-octane energy was exactly what local Hyderabad performers expected.
As the rappers challenged each other in true Pass the Mic lore, the scene quickly changed with the curious and grateful crowd adding to the synergy. “They are going to rap in Telugu,” exclaimed a lady. One teenager screamed, asking for hip hop, while another boy begged his parents to wait so he could watch the artists beatbox. While the artists encouraged each other; the enthusiastic crowd encouraged some artists to perform some of their unreleased tracks.
The mood that night indicates that Hyderabad’s music scene is opening up to local artists who don’t just do covers. A few years ago, without a platform, the same artists would meet on Collier Road and perform for each other, along with a handful of curious and passers-by.
Speaking of the growing audience, Pramod Seshu, a member of the Nawab Gang, a prominent rapper group, said, âEarlier we could not have thought of such a gathering. We have two categories of audience: live and those who follow us online. While our online presence is strong, our live audience was not. This year, surprisingly, we have shows where people have come to us, enjoying our lyrics and also admitting that they had looked away from this music earlier. We are now invited to play live sets in clubs and spaces that we could not have imagined earlier; the whole community of rap and hip-hop artists is overwhelmed!
“Promote our own talent”
Besides Bounce Kompally, spaces such as Posh Nosh, Tabula Rasa and Moonshine Project (all in Jubilee Hills) have actively promoted âmake in Hyderabadâ events.
Ritesh Thodupunuri, partner at Bounce, says: âWe have the artists, we have the talent, so why look elsewhere. This kind of music is different but there is nothing negative about it. The artists bring to light a lot of the problems around us. Even though they perform live in an open space, some of them insist on wearing masks and staying safe. It’s about changing perceptions and offering the public something new to enjoy. ”
Rapper Sherni and hip-hop dancer Chandini Seth were two female artists who took to the stage at the event. After performing there for the first time, Chandni can’t wait to perform more often.
Does Hyderabad’s rap warm-up have something to do with the song âOMG Daddyâ in a hit Telugu film? Popular Telugu rapper Feroz Israel says Ala Vaikanthupuram cannot be fully credited for it. “If the films introduced rap to Hyderabad, then that of Prabhu Deva Premikudu (1994) with ‘Petta Rap’ should get credit. To say that the films do not contribute would be wrong; they certainly help listeners identify and identify with what we are doing. Feroze recalls an event in Tabula Rasa where someone in the audience thanked him for opening his mind to âthis musicâ.
Popular emcee, hip-hop artist, rapper, live looper and beatboxer, Rahul Deval believes that it’s the quality of the content that turns heads towards this genre. Events like Cypher’s help and the change of platforms from rooftops to venues can be attributed to this current musical trend, he believes. Rahul says: âWe probably started when Hyderabad was not ready for this music. I remember having to do demos in clubs. Music lovers warm up to a whole range of genres and hip-hop is definitely one of them. “
The strong community of hip hop artists in Hyderabad recently held a fundraiser for a fellow artist called Mutant who requires regular dialysis due to his spina bifida condition. When 21-year-old Mutant takes the stage to perform, everyone’s energy and style turns heads. Pramod shares: “The overwhelming response to support him has made us proud of our music and our community.”