Rap has come to have a massive presence in India. Rappers from both India and other parts of the world inspire Indian audiences massively and encourage them to chase their dreams. Rap songs are memorised, their choruses made into merchandise, and their lines considered youth slogans.

But how did all of this begin? Let us take you on a historical ride where we explore the origins of rap in India!

Rap as a Means of Protest

Protest songs have a long history in India, dating back to the pre-independence period. In reality, when India became a sovereign entity in 1947, a poem (first publicly delivered at the Indian National Congress) became a symbol of patriotism. In India, where words have failed – or have been purposefully muted – and where citizens' rights to dissent have been constrained, the power of music has continued to succeed.

Protest music has been around for a long time now and people have been singing about it for as long as they've been displeased with the status quo. Protest songs are diverse in terms of musical styles, human emotions, and social causes. These songs are frequently written as part of a cultural or political reform movement, and they are intended to catalyse that movement by bringing people together and inspiring them to act or reflect. India pioneered music as a means of protest and this was most prevalent during the independence era, but slowly died out with the ebbing away of revolutionary energies. However, current protest music by musicians like  Divine, Dub Sharma, Seedhe Maut, and others has sparked a movement and is now frequently used to project unheard voices.

Introduction of Rap in India

Baba Sehgal introduced hip-hop to India in 1990, and while several musicians had tried their luck before him, Sehgal made it huge with the song "Thanda Thanda Paani," which drew a large audience.

"Simple and catchy lyrics with repetitive looping beats attracted listeners' attention", Sehgal remarked in an interview, "this was unlike anything they had heard before."

Rap in India: The First Wave

Rap, hip-hop, Indian rap, rap in India, history, history of rap, history of Indian rap, learn rap, revolution, first wave of rap, rap music, rappers, Indian rappers, Bohemia

In the early 2000s, Bohemia gave India its first significant rap revolution. The Punjabi rapper took what was already there and gave it a whole new spin. He pushed the movement in Indian hip-hop to the international level with commercial singles like "Paisa Nasha Pyar" and "School di Kitaab”. This is regarded as one of the major milestones in Indian hip-hop, which resulted in the establishment of the authentic rap culture in India.

Desi Pop/Rap

Rap, rap music, hip-hop, Indian rap, rap in India, history of rap, history, history of Indian rap, learn rap, Honey Singh, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Desi Pop, Desi Rap, Desi Pop/Rap, Mafia Mundeer, Indian rappers

A group of five individuals, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Lil Golu, Badshah, Raftaar, and Ikka, together known as "Mafia Mundeer," came crashing into the Punjabi rap industry, influenced by Bohemia's popularity. Throughout their history, the trio has released a slew of popular Punjabi rap songs. They introduced commercial rap to the community, with the majority of it being bought up by Bollywood for exorbitant fees. Honey Singh was one of the highest-paid rap artists at the time, with a song costing over 70 lakhs. In terms of commercialization, this was rap's golden period.

Rise of Gully Rap

Naved Shaikh (Naezy), a young guy inspired by  Jay-Z and Nas (pioneers of the revolution in New York), came from the streets of Mumbai. Naezy published his first track, "Aafat" on YouTube in January 2014, along with a raw music video. The song went viral due to Naezy's diversity, amazing skills, and positive narrative.

Rap, hip-hop, rap in India, Indian rap, history, history of rap, history of Indian rap, Gully rap, learn rap, Indian rappers, Gully Gang, rap music, Thug Sangathan, Underground Sangathan

Divine and Naezy used to be 'naka' lads, rapping about their city from the “chawls” and gullies. Divine and Naezy are now celebrities, with their songs on politics and poverty causing a stir both domestically and internationally. Vivian Fernandes, AKA Divine, used to be a 'filler' in college events.

He signed with a major label, had a viral video called "Jungli Sher" and "Mere Gully Mein" with over a million views, and sold out London shows. The 25-year-old, who still lives in Andheri's JB Nagar slums, also made history as the first Indian rapper for BBC 1 radio show host and rapper Charlie Sloth's famed 'Fire in the Booth' series, rapping freestyle in Hindi.

Shah Rule, Mc Altaf, Saifan, Sammohit, and D'Evil are currently signed to Divine's big label, "Gully Gang." These veterans have first-hand knowledge of the rapping culture, having witnessed and grown up with it. They've put their rap course on FrontRow to demonstrate their knowledge of rap.

Earn Through Rap

Rap, hip-hop, rap music, Indian rap, rap in India, history of rap, history, history of Indian rap, rappers, Indian rappers, earn through rap, record label, rap label, merchandise, endorsements, royalties, monetization, rap course, learn rap, earn money, rap career, career in rap, become a rapper

Rappers make money by selling records, performing live, and going on tour. When their music is sold, published, aired, or monetized, they receive royalties from third parties. Rappers can also make money by selling their own merchandise or endorsing products.

These days, earning money isn't restricted to only a few industries; opportunities abound everywhere. Take advantage of them by enrolling in this rap course Gully Gang has created with FrontRow. Find out how to pave the way towards earning money by making music!