In India, the world’s second-most populous nation, underground hip-hop has already 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 sub-genres.
True to that spirit, artists often rap in their native tongue, which ranges from Hindi to Punjabi to Tamil—India is home to over 20 languages and hundreds of dialects, each of which offer different cadences and flow.
Gully rap’s multilingualism and relatable lyrics have resulted in an audience in India that extends beyond just loyal fans. Where electronic music is largely the music of the urban upper-middle class, gully rap boasts listeners across social strata. By giving voice to a citizen’s day-to-day life and representing their daily troubles, it’s slowly planting the seeds for more inclusive music culture.
Jamshedpur’s Rap & Hip-Hop Culture
Steel City is also not behind when it comes to absorbing this culture. The pace is slow if compared to metro cities, but in the next 5 years, it’s definitely going to be the next big thing. Artists from Jamshedpur has already given a no. of chartbusters to Indian and global audience, Chilke Minamiya, Koka Kola, East Side Flow, Boht Sahi are a few among them.
In an exclusive chat with the rap sensation of Steel City RaajMusic, we queried him regarding the growing rap culture in Jamshedpur, about his personal life, and what he thinks of the future of HIP-HOP in Jamshedpur.
How Raajmusic India Came Into Existence?
My real name is Ritik Raaj and I wanted to keep my name simple and easy to remember, so I kept it simple “Raaj” because it’s my last name, “Music” which I’m fond of, and India because I represent my country, so all this makes my stage name Raajmusic India.
How Did Hip-Hop & Rapping Get Into Your Bloodline?
In the very beginning, like many teenagers in India I also loved to listen to Honey Singh but one fine day, one of my friends accidentally transferred me two songs via Bluetooth. One is of Eminem and the other one of Kendrick Lamar, and that Kendrick Lamar’s song hit me on a whole new level, then I started to listen more of his songs and hence the reason my flow or you can say rap style has some of that western accent.
The fun fact is, “I’m writing since class 9 but I started to focus on these things from class 11th only, and yeah that’s how it all begun”.
Experience During The First Music Video?
Before my first video, I met a Guy RtKZ, I was introduced to him by a mutual friend of us Rohit, one day I went to his home, at that time a song named as Desiigner – Panda was the blockbuster and what we did is, he extracted the instrumental of that song and I had a pre-written beat with me, we mixed both and this is how the first song of mine 2018 EP, which was recorded on a Samsung phone came into existence.
We actually made CDs of 2018 EP and started selling it standing outside my school, at Bistupur traffic signal, and other places. I even sold it to my principal, this was the most fun as well as the best part of that song. Listening to this song always reminds me of that Nostalgia.
After this, we worked on so many songs and Jamshedpur Cypher is the first song which we recorded properly in a professional way, that was shot by WANNAGRAPHER.
How The Journey Went Ahead From There?
Well I got the chance to work with RtKZ, we both respect each other but after some time we both have to walk on different paths, but destiny was a little grateful to me and in 2018 I met this amazing guy Rapper Blaze, we both have a dream to make Jamshedpur the next big thing in the Hip-Hop Industry like Delhi or Mumbai you could say, and he is one of my dearest friends/colleagues/partners, you could name it anything because we have a very similar thought process.
Nevertheless, after that we made a group, “Jamshedpur Jamming” and every precious talent of Jamshedpur is in that group also we have created a YouTube channel named as Jamshedpur Hip-Hop TV just to make sure that all of their talents get proper acknowledgement, people’s experience matters too and we wanted to provide them with a well-edited video having top-notch cinematography and direction.
That channel is doing great since the beginning, many came and left but the talent is still available, right now I, Rapper Blaze, and Mr. Tribe are the only remaining establishing members in the group.
I Heard ‘East Side Flow’ Of Yours, What Does It Mean?
I was born in Sasaram Bihar, then my father got transferred to Raxaul after that I came to Jamshedpur then we moved to Daltenganj then Ranchi and after that, I came back to Jamshedpur again. I became used to this lifestyle and this culture.
Another part is that when we talk about East Side Flow what people think about eastern culture is there would be scenarios of Drugs, Guns in every video also a model or girl is must in a music video, I want to change this mentality of people towards eastern culture I’m not against it but people can have different opinions and that’s another reason behind my EAST SIDE FLOW, Songs which describes the culture of East and represent us is the “East Side Flow”.
The Recipe For A Great Music Video According To You?
Most of the time I spend from my pocket, sometimes people help me with non-paid collaborations, twice or thrice I received brand sponsorships too. According to me, money is not important, but what really matters is your network & contacts. If you’re creating a song, it needs beat production, mixing & mastering, videography, editing, marketing, management, and these things can’t be done with money only. You need a dedicated team of enthusiasts, a team that can match your thought process and yes this is my recipe for making a great music video.
Your Recent Project BOHT SAHI?
BOHT SAHI is basically a joint project of mine and CODE 05 Hip-Hop group, my friend DROMME has done the mix & mastering for the song, he has worked with me in my previous videos too, Kunal has done the videography and editing part and various dancers are part of this as well.
We are planning for it for the last 2 months, the song was ready in the beginning but I wanted to add a little east side flavor into it. CODE 05’s verse was ready, I added a small part from my side and that’s how it became #BohtSahi. The song received great support from the audience and got over 1 thousand likes on YouTube in less than 24 hours after the release.
If Not Hip-Hop Then What Else?
If not Hip-Hop then there are various fields I can be into. I was a little addicted to studies especially Biology, it interests me. It also want to be in the army, I really wanna serve my country. Nevertheless, if Hip-Hop will not work, one thing is guaranteed, that I would be connected to this industry and continue writing. There’s so many other things to do in the music industry, music is just one major of part of it.
Emerging Talents Of Jamshedpur ?
In my opinion, everyone is doing great to make Jamshedpur a new arena for Rapping and Hip-Hop, and emerging talents like my team-mates Rapper Blaze and Mr. Tribe are there and besides them, Aman SK and CODE 05 are some booming talents of this field too.
Future Plans Of Yours ?
My EP (Extended Play) is coming, besides that my best song is going to come which is a small tribute from my side to my city Jamshedpur, this city has cherished me with some wonderful gifts, I can’t even explain to you what I have achieved from this city, hence this song will be known as “The Jamshedpur Anthem” and it will explain my views on Steel City in flow and style.
Future Of Hip-Hop In Jamshedpur ?
We’re definitely behind when compared to cities like Delhi and Mumbai but we will not always going to be, and mark my words in the next 5 years you will see a revolution of Hip-Hop in Steel City, and this change will be collaborative efforts of everyone.
Well, after this chat with Raaj we got an Idea behind the whole rap and hip-hop community and how it is penetrating in Jamshedpur but these hidden talents need recognition and only our support can make our local talents, global. #SupportYourLocalTalent