These artists showcase their diverse styles and stories through one common medium—rap.

A stylised collage of Brodha V SIRI and Gubbi on a pink background
Flix Music Saturday, December 05, 2020 - 20:15

In the past two decades, the Indian hip-hop scene has grown exponentially in popularity. In recent years especially, rap music in vernacular languages, which draws from specific cultural experiences, is making its way into the mainstream. The Kannada rap scene is no different, and rappers use the genre to express their diverse experiences. These five rappers prove that the Kannada rap scene is thriving, and is here to stay.

Siri


A picture of Siri
 

Siri Narayan is a multilingual rapper based in Bengaluru. One among the numbered female rappers in India, Siri began her journey by initially participating in college fests. She was first fascinated by rap when she first heard Nicki Minaj’s ‘B.o.B’; since then, she’s produced her own music in Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and English. With more than 23,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and collaborations with seasoned artists like Sez On The Beat in her kitty, Siri is out there to conquer the world with her music. Find her latest song 'Yaaru' here:


 

Anup K R


Kannada rapper Anup K R

Who doesn’t know this viral star? Anup K R—a graphic designer by profession—sings, is a song-writer and a rapper. He recently went viral with his spin on another viral clip of union Minister Ramdas Athavale’s slogan “Go Corona Go”. To add to his list of skills, he can also beatbox and compose music. Anup brings diverse styles to his music, and one could say that his video going viral was him getting his due fame. Anup has been posting videos on his YouTube channel for five years, and has been playing music for 12. His latest song ‘Hosa Jeevana’, in collaboration with Kannada rapper MC Bijju, is a “cliched love song”. The visuals for the music video were inspired by Yakshagana, which is one of Karnataka’s oldest art forms. Watch the video here:

 

Harish Kamble

A photo of Harish Kamble
Harish Kamble

Following the work of the celebrated music group Casteless Collective, known for spreading the message of the annihilation of caste, Harish Kamble took social media by storm in 2019 with his latest single ‘Jaati’. Harish is an activist and a rapper, and ‘Jaati’ is an anti-caste rap song. He uses his poetry and art to spread awareness on the social evil of caste discrimination, and calls out the discriminatory practices of dominant castes. Harish critiques the partial, unjust and biased social system of caste in his raps. The young musician comes from a peasant family in Bidar, and was inspired by Buddha, Ambedkar and Basava who fought for a just society.

Also read: Pushing boundaries: Casteless Collective shows how genres and people can co-exist

Watch Harish’s powerful song ‘Jaati’ here:

 

Brodha V

A photo of Brodha V
Vighnesh Shivanand, better known as Brodha V
 

There’s not much to say about Vighnesh Shivanand, or Brodha V, that his music doesn’t speak about already. The Bengaluru-based rapper started exploring the genre in his adolescence, and used to participate in contests on Orkut. Brodha V is also a lyricist and music composer. He is a multilingual rapper, and makes songs in Kannada, Hindi, Tamil and English. His first independent mixtape ‘Death Punch’ garnered very less attention when he first released it in 2011. However, as of today, he has collaborated with musicians like Raftaar, Benny Dayal and Raghu Dixit, to name a few. Watch his song ‘Maari Kannu’, released in April 2019, here:

 

Gubbi


Kannada rapper Gubbi

Karthik Sundar Gubbi, better known as his stage name Gubbi, is another multilingual rapper, who raps in Kannada, Hindi, English and, interestingly, German. What sets him apart, you ask? His employment of the vast ocean of Kannada literature in his raps. Gubbi first released a track in 2012 called ‘Munagaru’, which had over 3,000 downloads. He predominantly produces music independently; he has also lent his voice for a handful of Kannada and Tamil film songs. Listen to his song ‘Naadmaya’, released in 2016, which is a tribute to the legendary Kannada actor Dr Rajkumar:

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