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Last Updated : Aug 09, 2019 10:39 PM IST | Source:

Will MTV's rap reality show give the needed boost to independent hip-hop music in India?

MTV Hustle which will begin from August 10 will air every Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

It was Ranveer Singh’s Gully Boy that redefined rap in India, so much so that now India is getting its first rap reality show.

In its new content line-up for the second half of 2019, MTV, the music and English entertainment channel, has launched The Hustle, which will bring to the people the underground rap talent India has.

MTV Hustle, which will begin from August 10, will air every Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm.


The show will have judges like hip hop stars like Nucleya, Raja Kumari and Raftaar, who will also mentor and support the young talent in honing their rap skills.

As many as 15 rap artists have been selected for the show, which saw talent auditioning from metros, non-metros and small towns like Vapi, Dehradun, Amritsar, Darbhanga, Almora, among others.

Ask Ferzad Palia, Head – Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, why MTV is exploring this new music category, he says, “Hip Hop is becoming a rage in the country and is one of the upcoming genres for music in India. It is also one of the most exciting and fastest-growing music cultures.”

Even music streaming platforms are focusing on getting more hip-hop content, of which rap is a category.

“Hip Hop is poised to be among the most promising emerging music genres on Gaana in the next few years, especially after Gully Boy got it into mainstream cinema, said Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana.

“This is because the hip-hop culture, especially rap, has gone from being an unexplored thing to a means for our youngsters trying to find an escapade as well as a means of expression within a short span of time. What is interesting is that this music is no longer the bastion of urban Indians, and the new generation rappers like DIVINE, Naezy, Raftaar, Bohemia, Emiway to name a few have propelled it from urban ghettos to markets beyond the eight key metros,” he added.

Gaana had launched five hip-hop originals in the past quarter to cater to the rising demand, said Agarwal.

While rap has seeped into Bollywood, Palia thinks that “it still needs more exposure on a mainstream level.”

“With its ability to give voice to young India, rap has gathered a lot of acceptance among youth and is fast catching up to be an independent music genre,” he added.

And with MTV Hustle, Palia hopes to keep the rap momentum up in India and provide young and talented rappers a large, definitive platform that will give them national exposure.

“In the recent years, though there is a rise in rap culture in India, there was no mainstream platform to support the artists and make this genre of music mass accessible,” he added.

Experts also say that one big challenge with Indian hip-hop is that the artists are not groomed through the system.

And the market can only grow when there are more than a handful of hip-hop artists in India.

While there are festivals and concerts where rappers perform, these artists are in need of a bigger platform.

YouTube and music streaming apps are important for rappers as these platforms give legitimacy to their work but getting recognition on television will give rappers and the genre acceptability on a wider scale.

Even advertisers interest for the category is increasing. Brands are both funding and advertising in videos made by the rappers.

Rapper Divine has worked on tracks for brands like Puma, Hero MotoCorp and Bacardi Breezer.

For Hustle, MTV has got four brands on board.

JBL will be the presenting sponsor; Breezer Vivid Live Life in Colour & Phillips One Blade are its co-sponsors and Hike Messenger as its sticker partner.

In addition to print and television promotions, the channel will focus on digital integrations.

The channel will organize a multi-city Hustle Cypher activation in Mumbai and Delhi. This will be a 12 hour on-ground plus digital contest across five colleges.

Indian independent hip-hop yet is not mainstream, and it is such shows that could decide the fate of the genre in the country.

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First Published on Aug 9, 2019 10:39 pm
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