Hip-Hop Artist and Crews Of Sri Lanka
Situated in the South of India is the island Nation of Sri Lanka. Like India, it shares much in common; It has a multi-cultural and diverse population which is coexisting peacefully after ending a 30-year-old civil war very recently. The civil war led to many losses to the people of Sri Lanka, everything was affected.
But after the end of the civil war everything is returning back to its normal state and the culture of Hip Hop is no exception. The hip hop culture has been in Sri Lanka since the same time it was introduced in India, i.e. around the 90’s, and the natives and people of Sri Lanka have added their own unique twist to the hip hop culture.
The forerunners of the hip hop culture were none other than ‘Rude Boy Republic in the mid-’90s to Brown Boogie Nation and then to Iraj. The above quintessentially laid the foundation and the path to the present hip hop culture in Sri Lanka.
1) Rude Boy Republic
The old school or you can say the Old Testament, the one who started it all. It was Rude Boy Republic (RBR) who set the cogwheels of the Sri Lankan hip-hop culture in motion. Their music and their distinctive sound inspired a whole generation of young Sri Lankan MC’s to hit the hip-hop scene. The crew influence is recognisable in every aspect of the local hip hop scene. RBR came into existence when there was no market. No one knew how to utilise this new talent. Yet they beat all odds and established as the fathers of Hip-Hop scene in Sri Lanka.
The crew consists of Asif Ansar, along with Ruki and Shiraz. As they recall, they started their journey “presenting their talents between the breaks between bands at old school live concerts”. All their music has been written and performed by them. People of Sri Lanka had never seen or heard original Sri Lankan hip hop before them.
2) Brown Boogie Nation
Brown Boogie Nation (BBN) was formed by Randheer Withana, together with pop idols Bathiya and Santhush. They were influenced by something that was a totally new experience for the mass. They went ahead to completely revolutionise the music industry and continue to dominate the charts today. BBN is in its subtle sort of way has been making a comeback, much to the delight of many.
BBN’s song boldly titled ‘Lions and Tigers’ is a delight to listen. This song is set on the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war.
This artist has left an incredible impact on the Sri Lankan music industry in general and hip-hop culture in particular. Iraj is responsible for single-handedly introducing a large number of talented artists to the mainstream audiences which might not otherwise have been discovered by them. Iraj is somehow responsible for the career of popular rappers like Killer Bee, Krishan, Bone Killer, Ranidu. Iraj over his extensive career has created some killer beats and also produced a quality of timeless classics that, to this date, still grace local chart shows. It has been eleven years since the release of his self-titled debut album. Iraj is going strong and still continues to stay relevant in the face of growing competition. He is a force to be reckoned and which proves that old is gold.
4) Drill Team
Drill Team is vigorously followed on the social media with its own cult-like following. They are arguably the finest lyricists working in Sinhala rap right now. Their raps or cyphers are envied by every rapper in the hip hop scene and along with every new release, the group wins new ground, which takes the Sri Lankan music to new heights than it has been before.
Their bravado is just a façade or front of the group’s lyrics which underneath tackle serious social issues which torments the society such as poverty, identity, and racism. Saying that this team is a game changer is like rubbing salt to wounds, they are actually, in reality, more than that.
When we talk about Tamil Rap in Sri Lanka, the first rapper to come in mind is none other than Krishan. He is regarded as one of the true pioneers of Tamil Rap. Krishan came to the limelight in the year 2005 after featuring as an artist in Iraj’s songs and hit singles which include the critically praiseworthy ‘J-Town Story’ and the also popular radio hit ‘Ran Ran Ran’.
He then went on to establish himself as one of the most identifiable voice in the Sri Lankan hip hop circuit, rapping in both Tamil and English, and also collaborating with a number of other rappers and mainstream artists, both Tamilians and Sinhalese.
Well, these were our favourite Artists and Crews from Sri Lanka. Have a different favourite? Share with us in the comment section! Which City, State or Country should we cover next?