Sitting with a friend in a club on Saturday night, we started discussing the nightlife of the city. My friend is a journalist with a respected publication, and he specifically covers culture and entertainment. He is closely associated with event organizers  therefore he has a good understanding of the city’s night life. As we exchanged ideas and opinions, we concluded that Bollywood is indeed still the biggest meal ticket in the city. But what comes next on the list surprisingly is hip hop. It is even a bigger market that electronica, is that wishful thinking? Well, my friend says that is what his event management acquaintances say, and I’d say why not? So many college festivals, and what do those kids strap? New era caps to the side, often baggy pants and some urban label T or one with the face of some rapper or the other. Rap battles are often featured in college events, and hip hop makes a decent part of the music that the DJ has to rock at Malhar, Umang, Kaleidoscope etc. So if that is the case, then why is it only two or three people who seem to be making that major loot while the rest of the artists are reduced to doing hip hop just for the love? Is it possible for an emcee to quit his job and just concentrate on performing to pay his bills and eat?

In my opinion, emcees are not yet able to buy beamers from performance proceeds, but they are in a position to start making some decent dough rhyming. What many cats lack, is a professional approach to the business. We been doing recordings in the bedroom for a long time now, and matter of fact, you know that’s a joke. You ain’t going nowhere with that stuff besides just bragging to your friends who are also ready to listen to it only because they don’t have to pay for it.

So let’s talk about professionalizing the approach. Do I expect emcees to fork out thousands to spend on studio time for a track that might not earn them anything more than a few nods from pals? Well, if it’s professionally done, it shouldn’t get only the attention of friends. Besides, if you take a walk down Adarsh Nagar, you’ll discover there are many studios out there ready to record for next to peanuts. So if you can’t get a friend with a home studio, check the place out. It’s also important that an artist makes the effort to understand how the recording process goes, get a musician to help you lay down the instrumentals correctly. Learning editing software will be a great advantage too. And after recording in the studio, be sure that whoever does the mastering does it well because it’s the most important part of the track production. Thousands of people can record you, but very few can master the recordings well. Look for a decent sound engineer who can do it at a reasonable cost and you’re done.

Now the marketing begins. As a DJ, I know if someone played a track for me and I thought it was ill, I wouldn’t mind rocking the crowd with it. But to do that, the emcee must be cool with the DJ, it is business, so put down your ego and holla at the DJ every once in a while, the DJ has to send shout outs to fans on a regular, the emcee too must have some PR to do. If you get a DJ who is feeling you, make appearances at his gigs and initially hit the stage for free. The key is being able to prove that you can move the crowd. The appreciation might not be much initially, but soon as you build a credibility that can be recognized, someone will tell you -ok, come rock my joint for Rs. 2k. Yeah, those is peanuts, but check it, after three shows, you will most likely have recovered what you spent recording the track, and your charge might have already gone higher. You will also have convinced the Mumbai crowd that their rappers are worth checking out.  And from then on, the sky is the limit, you will go as far as you work, get back in the studio regularly, keep writing stuff the crowd can relate to, never miss an opportunity to shine etc.

Other little things can make a big difference in the game too, for example, marketing your track before it comes out. I’ve been seeing Arsallan Talat Jani creating a buzz about his track on FB even before it has been released. That’s a good thing, Mumbai emcees should follow that route, but you will need to holla at much more than just your friends list. No doubt a long list of FB buddies helps, but the more methods you use to market yourself, the better.

Also get a decent graphic artist to Photoshop you well. Avoid going too much on the bling and glamour, we are a small crowd so we know you better than that. And hand out your CD to whoever is willing to listen, let’s have your track on, you’ll have over 100 people exposed to it in no time, and think of any innovative ways that can push you forward.

But one thing I’ll  advice you is don’t take shortcuts by beefing to create buzz. This is Mumbai, and gangsters are not exactly celebrity here. It’s different in the US, Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel are the stuff of legends. But tell me which gangster here has women swooning all around him and college kids trying to be like him? Get real.

A major obstacle that artists will also have to deal with is the fact that we don’t have any hip hop specific management team or event organizer in town. But that’s not a major threat to the business, soon as they see the money, they will pop up.

And remember, even for the biggest musicians in bollywood, there is no money in selling CDs, money is only in the performances and the endorsements that follow. So now you have a basic blueprint to follow, we’ve taken over the city lyrically, now let’s take it over for real.

Comments (61)


  1. jaikishan says:

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  2. ShiKari Kiran says:

    Hi im a Rapper…wanna represent mumbai… waiting for a miracle…and ready with my rap track melody and lyrics… wanna show my skills to the world…but cant afford a studio..not possible for me to launch it…for camera shoots and recording equipment…need your help …u can first listen to my idea’s after that u can think about me… contact me please on 08652684123

  3. Im a rapper… wanna represent india..(mumbai)…. waiting for a miracle and ready with my track melody and lyrics….. waiting to rec a new track with a new ideas…..but afford a rec studio and rec equipment…want ur help…to join…im not doing for money…just give me chance to prove…hear my ideas and lyrics after that u can think about me….. contact me on 8652684123

  4. karan says:

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  5. Siddharth n flow tamang says:

    I ma rapper from North East an I to live in Mumbai an in am a good rapper an I can prove that. Just wana collab with Mumbai rapper u can Whatsapp me

  6. Siddharth n flow tamang says:

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  7. Sunny resh says:

    Hi I m lyricist-rapper,mumbai sehar m naya-naya aaya hu bs…bs meko yha rehne ka jugaad chie bs..5 gaj jameen jitna…or if u r musicians I will available my lyrics

    Hope aape pasand aaye kyuki ye ek struggle or ghumkad bande ke hai.
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    My what’s app no is 7219932099 &
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  8. swag says:

    I dont know where have I being going
    Bcz my dream turn as broken still I m being
    On way,so quick.. I will back in Mumbai
    For make rap as I can try my best.. #love u Mumbai from nepal

  9. well i gotta need a chance to rap i dont want money and i just wanna perform it….

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  10. rakesh says:

    Am Rakesh from Mumbai and am a tamil rapper and song writer and anybody want 2 collaborate in Tamil just call me diz is my 7738966240

  11. ajay kaith says:

    Hi this is AJ if any one need to collobrate with me contact me we all have same issue we don’t have money for studio recording but there is always hope if we get together struggling would be little bit less and we would have power of togetherness so if any one interested to contact me WhatsApp me 7807304555 I’m from shimla HP but I’m right now in Mumbai.

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