Dharavi Rock – Delivering Authentic Gully Hip-Hop

DHARAVI ROCKS is a joint educational project between Acorn Foundation, an NGO working for the welfare of slum children and waste collectors/ragpickers (www.dharaviproject.org) and blueFROG (www.bluefrog.co.in)

Since the very beginning when music became a part of almost every culture in the world it was established as one of the best tools for communication. It is one of the better mediums for education, it improves learning skills, it inculcates self-discipline and self-confidence, it also encourages teamwork and improves social skills. Music is also known to enhance temperament and community life. All the mentioned benefits align with the objective of Dharavi Rocks.

It is in a way giving the slum kids a voice by introducing them to the world of music, bringing positive and happy creative experiences into their lives and creating a bond between communities. It is also useful in creating awareness about the importance of Art, Education and Environmental Issues among children and youth in Schools and Colleges to improve everyone’s daily lives.

The initiative has organised many music workshops and performances with Indian and Foreign Musicians, in The Maharashtra Nature Park in Dharavi and at the blueFROG club in Mumbai. Ninja from MF was holding down a workshop for breaking and he took me to one such workshop where I got to interact with these kids. To my amusement, there were a whole bunch of talented Emcees and these kids went in ham. I have never witnessed Gully Hip-Hop in it’s unadulterated form and it blew me away. These were youngins varying from 16 to 20 and were dropping verses describing their daily routines and their personal hardships. For a moment or two, I did thank my stars that I did not have to face their circumstances.


Edwin Sam

Ankit Pandya

Emcee Rock

Let me introduce to you Artslord, Edwin Sam, Ankit Pandya and Emcee Rock who are among the other rappers from the crew. When I asked Artslord who his favourite rapper was he told me, “Tupac and Divine” and continued, “I want to create history with my Rap Music. It is not just big cities that have the talent; talent is god gifted and has nothing to do with financial status”. Edwin is a bilingual rapper and tries his best to rap in English and Hindi and incorporates some really killer Mumbai lingo every now and then. Edwin went on to mention, “I like to rap… a lot and want to become Dharavi’s Eminem (he had mentioned that Slim Shady is his favourite)”.

Ankit Pandya was a little shy to converse but got into full mood when bribed with a few samosas. “My favourite rappers are Ninja and Naezy from India and Tupac from America. Tupac ney bahut kuch kiya apni community key liye aur main bhi kuch aisa karna chahta hoon” (Translation: Tupac did a lot for his community and I also want to do something similar). Emcee Rock also joined in the conversation and admitted that although he also likes his peers likes Divine, Naezy and Tupac but he does not mind Honey Singh’s music because he said, “Public bahut naachti hai unkey gaano par” (Translation: The crowd loves to dance to his music).

These dudes were power packed and if rapping was not enough they were even pretty impressive beat-boxers and it was almost impossible not to have a cypher. Check out the live session right here :

Stright outta gully

Posted by Sumeet D Suvarna on Friday, February 3, 2017

In a country where it was thought Hip-Hop could not rise above being fillers in Punjabi Music is now at a level where it being considered and used as an instrument for stimulating young masses. Hip-Hop is not just a genre but a culture, a culture which if used properly can be the most entertaining way of enriching lives.

Check out the official Facebook page for ‘Dharavi Rocks‘.