We have seen enormous growth in the hip-hop culture worldwide. It has been over four decades since when it first started off in the west. Hip-Hop, in general, is considered as ‘Rap’ in our society which serves no justice to its name. It’s a culture first and a form of music later. We have artists in every sector of hip-hop here. We have beatboxers, graffiti artists, dancers, music producers, rappers, performers etc. They all follow the culture and can debate on hip-hop for hours.
But, for our casual hip-hop heads, I decided to focus on the ‘Rap’ part of hip-hop. Ever wondered what kind of rapper is the one you like to follow. No? Don’t worry, here is our list of different styles of rappers that we all listen to but never differentiate.
1. COMPETITIVE RAPPERS
Battle rap artists are competitive. This type of art form is not just limited to a live performance as it can be done in the studio on a record which is more formally known as a ‘Diss‘. These type of rappers are a mix of every other category that I’m going to mention later in this article. Ace from Mumbai’s Finest, MC Kode, Poetik Justis, Jay Sehgal, The Quixotic and several other rappers are well known for their skills in the battle rap scene.
Communities like Battle Bars Bombay aka B3, Spit Dope Inc and many others have been supporting and conducting events to support battle rappers in India. These type of rappers are best in using punchlines wisely. A battle rapper is not bound to battle either, there are tracks like ‘Baatcheet’ by Badshah which sounds like he is competing with someone but no one can judge the target. This type of music uses the element of competition without targeting someone in particular.
These types of rappers are storytellers, they frame and narrate events related to a particular tale that either happened chronologically or otherwise. These stories can be a creation of thoughts or can be based on incidents that happened in the real world. Rappers who narrate are praised by the audience for their skills of storytelling and keeping to the theme throughout the song.
‘Kim‘ by Eminem is one the best storytelling tracks in the hip-hop scene in my opinion. But to keep it desi, I’d like to mention some artists like Olvin, Aakarshit, Divine, Xenon Phoenix & Big Deal who can tell stories like none other.
These type of rappers are either worshipped or are ignored. Their type of music is meant for creating a connection with their listener’s ears and soul. Rappers like these questions your inner-self based on the observations they create from the society that surrounds them. Rappers who observe are not bound to create music on social issues but they like to share their observations regarding a particular event with some upliftment induced in to their music to awaken their listener’s long slept consciousness.
Their music is based on a smooth flow and sometimes on a complex rhyme scheme without compromising the sense of their lyricism. Their style is a mix of storytelling and technicalities. Guru Lahori has done the same on ‘Duniya‘, Raftaar has done the same on ‘Aurat‘ and ‘Mother Nature‘.
4. COMPLEX RHYMERS
Complex rappers care about the flow which is created on a particular rhythm that helps them in riding the beat. These type of rappers write their verses by adding every type of rhymes here and there to create a tongue-twister sort of flow. These rappers can create or tell stories with complexing the wordplay. Lines like “Pehan Pant-Coat, bakta shabdkosh, Behanch*d tera landlord padta Stanford” from ‘Samsya‘ by Raga is one of the perfect examples for this category. In the lines from ‘Not To Be Fuc*ed With‘ “Shikari dhwani ka bhai Cheetah, main peeta bin Pizza, jaana Ibiza na visa pisa bhi kam”, I’ve used the same technique but ‘Aafat‘ by Naezy is the master of them all. Complex wordplay is a technique that some of these rappers use wisely but eventually compromise their skills in creating some meaningful lyricism.
5. CLUB RAPPERS
Club rappers, as the names suggest, are perfect for having a good time. These rappers like to stay soft on the mic by not spitting any hardcore lyricism. They like to ‘Bounce’ the crowd on the floor by using the key elements ‘Drums and Bassa‘ which is basically Drums and Bass. People and artists who hold some deeper knowledge about the culture consider it as a form of rap music but some say otherwise.
The audience, in general, has an image of rappers wearing suits, bling, oversized clothing and what not. Club rappers have created this image by putting out some super expensive videos. Artists like Yo! Yo! Honey Singh, Sukh-E, Kunwar Virk, Lil’ Golu etc. fits perfectly in this category.
Writers spend time in entwining their lyricism. These rappers write words to create a deeper meaning with a sense of smartness. They sound regular when you play their music casually but when you spend time in analysing their wordplay, you’ll understand why their music has a shelf value. Writers even spit their lyrics while changing their vocal styles to give you the feel of their lyricism. They’re often confused with storytellers as they use stories as well. They’re similar yet different. Artists like Chen-K are doing it in the underground while Bohemia is my first choice in the popular business scene.
7. CIVIC RAPPERS
There are rappers who are sort of patriots. They observe things that are either politically correct or holds a conspiracy behind its occurrence. These rappers try to deliver a message to their listeners about what actually happened or what should have happened. They don’t prefer fancy videos or instrumentals for their message and sometimes it turns out to be the reason behind their failure. This type of music holds excellence of awareness and self-consciousness but is don’t hit the radios very easily. Artists like A-List, Shaikhspeare etc are my choices for this category.