Growing up as a kid we were not as fortunate as the kids now, who have so much banging Desi Hip Hop music to listen to and get inspired from thanks to YouTube, Soundcloud etc. We had to hunt for our anthems and make cassettes or burn it on C.D’s to retain them (I-pod’s were just coming into existence and I was in no mood to sell my Kidney or Liver to get one). Those tracks in our time influenced us to try and make a change and pursue this beautiful genre. For Desi kids growing up listening to Tupac, Notorious B.I.G you often find them bopping their heads to them and knowing their lyrics but how many of us are actually able to relate to it. I remember the sigh of relief I felt when I heard, ‘Kali Denali‘ for the first time and immediately knew that there will be several Desi’s who will be relating to this.
Here are 5 Desi Hip Hop tracks which have been considered anthems –
1. Kali Denali
This is the track which Bohemia claims is the reason to start the entire genre called, ‘Punjabi Rap‘. We support him in claiming that and in fact also second his opinion. I remember all the words to the song and we used to use the track as a standard for measuring the bass in a new car audio system. This track was the spark to the entire flame we call Desi Hip Hop. Bohemia raps about his trials and tribulations on the track and when he performs this live, he leaves it for the crowd to Ad-lib him. Surprisingly enough there was never any video for this track. He also decided to use this name as the name for his Independent Label as well and calls it, “Kali Denali Music”
2. Main Haan Desi
One of the biggest crews from the Northern part of the country, Desi Beam have never denied their inspiration from the none other than Bohemia. They dropped an anthem called, “Main Haan Desi” which gained more than 50,000 views in one day in 2009. The response to the track was phenomenal and made them a part of various headlines, news articles etc.
3. Mere Gully Mein
DIVINE’s ‘Mere Gully Mein‘ has put the rapper in a power of position like no one else. The track was in tremendous hype prior to the release itself and was taken to the next level when Sony Music decided to take it under it’s wing. There is a lot of good music coming out of Bombay and a lot of them are quoting DIVINE as their inspiration. The track is about the life of the people living in Bombay and how they face their daily challenges and smile after accomplishing them. Divine is not just a favorite for the Underground but has also received props by various mainstream celebrities as well.
It was considered as probably the biggest thing to hit Desi Hip Hop when Bohemia decided to collaborate with India’s most dominant crew Desi Beam to put out, ‘Bandookan‘. There was even a small controversy revolving around the track as it was even leaked only to be removed later and re-uploaded with a few changes in the beat. Bohemia has taken Pardhaan under his wing and signed him to ‘Kali Denali Music’s.
5. Aatma Rama
Brodha V had a dream run in 2011 and he stirred up heads when he dropped his mixtape, “The Deathpunch” and the lead single from it was, ‘Aatma Rama‘. A beautiful track and has perfectly mixed elements of Indian classical music. Brodha V is considered as one of the most respected artists from the south and this track is rock solid proof why. In 2015 Brodha V had issues with his label Sony Music and decided to separate himself from it, he has not been able to drop anything as meaningful and substantial as ‘Aatma Rama‘ in a really long time but his fans hopefully still believe in him.