Hip-Hop in India is here to stay

Published On September 23, 2012 | By Greg | B-Boys/B-Girls/Dance, Events, India, News

Participants audition for BOTY.

(CHENNAI) Something that broke out as a revolutionary movement in the west has now found its way to the city, thanks to many street festivals.

Hip-hop culture may not be as big here as it is elsewhere, but people are sure taking it seriously. While the city hosted its UK b-boying championship recently, the Catalyst Dance Company is all set to organise their Chennai Street Festival, a three-day event that will provide a platform for many to showcase their individuality and creativity.

DJ Phani Kumar, who is organising the event, says, “People think about ‘traditional’ music and dance when they think Chennai. But that’s not the case, you see so many dance crews being part of BOTY — Battle of the Year (which is considered to be the Olympics of Hip-Hop), and can spot so many dancers jamming at Marina Beach. Hip-hop was always in Chennai, it just wasn’t recognised.”

While one associates hip-hop with only b-boying and rap, the Chennai Street Festival will help people know more about DJ-ing and graffiti too.

“The festival will be an eye- opener to many, we have experts coming from Italy, Spain and China, who will conduct various workshops. We will also host the Indian and the south Indian eliminations for b-boying. We will also conduct a graffiti workshop, where people can express themselves,” says Phani.

If the hip-hop culture gives you the freedom to express yourself, it has its drawbacks too. And who knows this better than Adhi from the Hip-Hop Tamizha group who has striven hard to spread awareness about it in Chennai.

“Hip-hop is all about reality, and it broke out as a revolutionary movement in the west. If artists here can avoid wannabe-ism and keep their content clean and relevant to our community and use it as a medium to inspire positive revolutionary feelings, then it is easy for hip-hop to get in, stay longer and live healthy. With a number of hip-hop fests being organised in the city, that definitely states that hip-hop is here to stay.”

Talking about packaging the music for hip-hop, Sricharan who rapped for the song, Ennamo Yedho, points out that one does not need to be an expert to listen to hip-hop music.

“It is all about packaging your music right today, like how a mix of melody and rap appealed to the audience in Ennamo Yedho. I am also working on another genre ‘Hipnatic’ where we are mixing Carnatic music with hip-hop beats.”

Aparna Nagesh, who is in the process of organising the city’s first hip-hop fest, clarifies, “While there is a huge interest factor in hip-hop dance and culture here, there are only a handful of technical teachers. Moreover, people get carried away by the glamour of music videos, and don’t know the history of the whole hip-hop movement and how it has given identity and growth to a particular community.”

originally published by the Deccan Chronicle