The gully boys are making noise everywhere – one at the Oscars and another on the streets of Assam.
If Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy helped bring Indian hip-hop into the mainstream conversation, the Savage of the Street – a Guwahati-based hip hop band – is trying to ‘save popular musical genre from the shackles of Bollywood’.
The rap song Hip Hop Bachao Abhiyan (Save Hip Hop Campaign) by Savage of the Street has become the talk of the town within hours of dropping the video on YouTube.
The song was released online on September 17th, 2019 and within minutes it went viral on social media handles. The rappers – Abhishek Mukherjee aka Van M, Memo Sarkar and Bhaskarjyoti Das aka Mr Awkward – talks about the sufferings of the society while striking hard about the damage real hip hop has faced over these decades.
“The Bollywood has made hip hop music a visual delight where everyone is watching the video. The songs are centred around liquor or women. To be honest, these songs do not inspire anybody. Hence, we have decided to come up with this project to show what real hip hop means. That’s why the name Hip Hop Bachao Abhiyan,” said Van M.
The video of the song was also shared by Bengaluru-based rap artiste Vighnesh Shivanand, better known by his stage name Brodha V, in his Instagram story. “Memo paid tribute to Brodha V in his verse in the song. Two days after the song was released, he shared our video and called us the “voices of Assam “and used the hashtag Real hip hop. It was a big achievement for us to be recognized by a living legend,” added a proud Van M.
The artistes of Savage of the Street have already created buzz as protest rappers with their popular tracks Durniti, Savera and Oporadh. All three are individual performers and came together for the first time ‘to save hip hop’.
“One fine day, I came across a music video Savera by Memo. It touched my heart. He was the first local artiste from Assam who made it to my playlist alongside Eminem, Tupac, Divine,” Van M said.
Van M added, “I found Das aka Mr Awkward in a street cypher. I liked his bars (one complete sentence in hip hop is known as a bar). Lachitor dexot aji jonotar loti ghoti…he was using such bars. Mr Awkward and Memo both connected with me on Facebook just after Durniti was released. We spoke and decided to collaborate.”
Watch the video:
Mr Awkward added that Hip Hop Bachao Andolan is a “dream project” of the band. Earlier, Mr Awkward released two single tracks – Mukha opposing Citizenship Amendment Bill and Oporadh.
“We are happy that the song has received positive response so far. We will continue to create music which will inspire the youths and also hold a mirror to the society,” said Mr Awkward.
On asking about barriers faced by rap artistes in Assam, Van M said, “Hip-hop music is like a mirror where listeners can view their own life and relate to it but when it comes to Assam, people are more emotionally connected to Bihu songs. Apart from that, there are no sources of earning for the artistes like us. As a hip hop artiste, we get few show offers. It will take time for the public to accept hip hop music in Assam which is only possible by creating quality hip-hop.”
Photo credit: Bhaskarjyoti Das