Bombay Hip-Hop

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While multiple hip-hop moments grow across the country, through the popular Bollywood incarnations of Honey Singh and Badshaah, much of the focus on Indian hip-hop focuses on Dharavi where a true spiritual connection with inner-city Bronx suburb of New York can be drawn.

People who live in Dharavi are keeping it real. In hip hop, in real life.

Tony Sebastian, models himself on Snoop Dog and founding member of pro-marijuana hip-hip outfit Dopeadelicz.

Rap is about giving a message. Not like I got this, I got that, I got bitches...

Dog'Z, a Dharavi hip-hop group writes about corruption.

Suno, yeh hain bharat ki barbaadi
Gather around and listene, here is the story of India's destruction
kya fayda hua inhe hero ki kurbaani
what good came of the hero's sacrifice?
jahaan dekho wahaan corruption ki man maani
corruption as far as the eye can see
nahi maangta humein netaon ki meherbaani
have no need for favours from the politicians
gir pada hum garibo par tension
we the poor are faced with tension
parle G ka bhaav bad gaya, why don't you mention
parle g price has risen, why don't you mention
yahaan garibon ko khaane ka waanda
poor here struggle to eat
wahaan tum khate ho franky with kaanda
<b>out there you eat franky with onions

- From Franky With Kanda [1]

Bombay Hip-Hop grew out of communities on Orkut where people interested in hip-hop would carry out rap battles through text. From the internet they began meeting parks and public places to carry out cyphers, rap battles and b-boying competitions. Mumbai's Finest was one of the first groups that came out of the scene. Divine, one of the members, was signed on to Sony Music India and part of his life formed the basis of Gully Boy. While most of these rappers drew on rappers like Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Eminem as their early influences, they realised they were unable to capture the zeitgeist. That's when some of them began to realise that more hood rappers like Tupac and Biggie and NWO and Ice Cube were using local street lingo to convey the message in their poetry. That's when they decided to shift to Hindi and the multiplicities of languages available to them in Mumbai to rap about their life and struggles.

In Mumbai, we have multiple languages. I rap in Hindi, English, Tamil and Marathi. That brings the colour.

Tony Sebastian, who first found viral fame through a rap based on a real-life experience with cops called Aai Shapat (Me Nvahto) [I Swear on my Mother (it wasn't me)]