Following the success of the Bollywood film, Gully Boy, Hip Hop in India has seen a dynamic change, emerging from every corner of the country and spreading like wildfire. While as a genre, Hip Hop consists of signature sounds that function as identifiers, in India, each city has its own style, amounting to releases, rap battles, ciphers, gigs and graffiti installations that are unique to their area of origin. There has always been an inclination for many who were never formally introduced to the genre and want to go beyond the musical part of Hip Hop.
To inculcate all elements to their maximum potential, the city of Mumbai now has its very own certification in Hip Hop studies, pooling in pioneers from across hip hop in India as the faculty. The aim of the course is to explore and present the roots of Hip Hop music and its history while focusing on the effects of technological innovation in the genre, along with the theorization and analysis of Hip Hop as a facet of global political movements. The expected outcome of the course is for students to gain a thorough understanding of hip hop to be able to create music and art inspired by it.
The course is currently being conducted from 22nd March to 30th April 2021 by Usha Pravin Gandhi College (UPG College), after it was initially approved 14 months ago, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. The report also mentions how the 60-hour certificate course was originally supposed to start in 2018 but was under review before a final decision was made to approve the course in 2019.
As India’s Finest Hip Hop reported, the course is the brainchild of Dr. Sanjay Ranade, Associate Professor from the University of Mumbai, Department of Communication and Journalism. The curriculum for the course is designed and curated by Dr. Yatindra Ingle, who is considered a veteran artist of Mumbai Hip Hop.
Here’s what the faculty will be teaching for the course:
More details about each of the faculty members:
Dr. Sanjay Ranade – an associate professor at the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Mumbai, whose interests lie in the intersection of media, music and cultural studies.
Dr. Yatindra Ingle – a rapper who began the initiative to start a hip hop studies course. He has always frequented the underground hip hop space emceeing Hip Hop jams, street dance competitions and more. Both he and Dr. Ranade are coordinating Show & Prove Mumbai, India’s first-ever conference on Hip Hop studies.
Encore – Ankur Johar aka Encore is a veteran Hip Hop artist from the city of Mumbai. He is known for his introspective lyrics on the reality of being a middle-class citizen in the country. He also draws inspiration from many genres, and is one of the most consistent Indian rappers today.
B-Boy Akku – One of the founders of Hip Hop collective Slumgods from Dharavi, Akash Dhangar aka B-boy Akku has been one of the most influential and inspiring activists in the underground Hip Hop scene. From conducting cyphers and community jams, he runs an open school for underprivileged kids called the Street School of Hip Hop.
AM-B – Ambarin Kadri aka AM-B, is a professional dancer, model, who was notably India’s first B-Girl and popper, repping the art for 16 years. She has always been very involved over the years, starting off India’s first cypher jam in 2009 called Cypherholics in 2010, to conducting dance workshops and Hip Hop seminars with different NGOs and collectives.
D-Cypher – Gaurav Gambhir aka D-Cypher, is a renowned beatboxer representing Hip Hop collective Bombay Lokal. He has featured in the movie Gully Boy’s songs Alsi Hop Hop and Jingostan Beatbox. Having a few titles and recognition under his belt, he was appreciated by Hip Hop legend LL Cool J on Instagram FOUR times!
Zake – If you’ve roamed the streets of Mumbai, you’ve seen this name somewhere! Zake is one of India’s pioneering graffiti artists who’s been at it since 2011. His style is influenced by graffiti art from the west, incorporating more Indian elements and creating a unique style of his own, to speak to people through the language of graffiti on the streets.
Manmeet Kaur – better known as MC Kaur, is a pioneering female rapper, beatmaker and expressionist. With 3 albums under her name, she is known for being one of the most versatile and fluid artists capable of writing and improvising over anything given to her. She has recently completed her music residency at Savvy Contemporary in Berlin, and is now working on a documentation of rural and urban subcultures of Hip Hop in India with Mister Colfer.
Kishan (India’s Finest Hip Hop) and Rapture – Founder of India’s Finest Hip Hop, is an entrepreneur, who has been working closely with the Hip Hop community with efforts to uplift and promote Hip Hop culture at its roots. Rapture, known for his battle rapper profile, is also the founder of Allegionz, a label that fostered and encouraged young talent. He has also worked with many brands in the past, teaming up with India’s Finest Hip Hop to streamline content and expand the platform further.
What might be interesting to witness, besides all the amazing lessons from this course, is how students who grasp this knowledge use it across multiple languages – something very unique to India. Bringing out lyrical finesse in each of these students might be a challenge well accepted by Dr. Ingle and the rest of the faculty.
We congratulate and thank UPG College and the University of Mumbai for introducing this first-of-its-kind Hip Hop course in India. We hope this can bring a better understanding to Hip Hop enthusiasts, those with an inclination towards the cultural history and evolution of this subculture, and rappers or producers who may benefit from the musical aspect of the course.
Here’s a video that gives a very slight glimpse of the local Hip Hop culture in Mumbai back in 2017 at Control ALT Delete 11, India’s largest crowdfunded music festival. Video by Wicked Broz featuring Swadesi, Dopeadelicz, Emiway Bantai, 7 Bantais and Enimiez.
Information used in this article and images gathered from India’s Finest Hip Hop Instagram page.