Different cultures, different languages, one voice. That is Swadesi for you. Comprising of MC Shakahari, MC Mawali, MC Tod Phod and Mayavi, Swadesi, a hiphop outfit based in Mumbai literally boycotts the use of English in its tracks. They take pride in using Indian languages only. Team Radio City caught up with the four hip-hop geniuses to get a glimpse of what keeps ticking them. Read on.
What is your music all about?
Swadesi: We are a revolutionary rap group. We rap about social issues and truth. Our aim is to bring a change through our verses and rap style. We want to tell people that be proud about your language which is why we rap in Indian languages.
We believe you all belong to different parts of Mumbai, is it?
Swadesi: Yes, we do.
So how did you guys come together?
Swadesi: We met during several Underground Hip Hop events. We were part of different bands, but through these events, we found a connect.
When was it that you discovered your love for rap music?
Swadesi: Till we met, we were of the understanding that what we saw of rap on TV was the real thing. But it was only when we started bonding at these underground events was when we realized that there is much more to rap. Everyone had a different inspiration. One would write only in English or in Malayalam. But then, we realized that we should rap in a universal language.
But why hip hop for expression?
Swadesi: Because it involves several elements. DJing, beat buoying, rapping etc. We met Beat Boy Ninja and other musicians who influenced us with the art of hip-hop. They made us listen to different artistes and styles which helped us.
Tell us about your latest single ‘Akhri Mauka’?
Swadesi: ‘Akhri Mauka’ is our last attempt to break in as revolutionary. We will then be introducing ourselves as artistes. We wanted to have our last word before we took the plunge.
You guys have worked with Mayur Narvekar aka Bandish Projekt. What was that experience like?
Swadesi: Mayur is like Dr. Dre of India. We learnt a lot while working with him. Everyone gives us tips on what to do or not, but those are Indian tricks. But Mayur teaches us performances on an international level. He is all about hard work. He knows how to extract what he wants. Our intellect levels really match. His production levels are out of this world.
You’ve also collaborated with Mumbai’s Finest for ‘Mumbai Cypher’ which won a lot of awards including the Radio City Freedom Awards 2015? Are there other collaborations in store?
Swadesi: We are working with Dopeadelicz next on a track which will represent the South of India. We’ve worked with Vivek Rajgopalan as well.
What do you guys think of the current hip-hop scene in India?
Swadesi: Hip-hop scene in India is currently about Honey Singh, Badshah and Raftaar which is pathetic because if you go to the UK, the scene is buzzing always and every artist has a CD selling out in a store. But our people have no idea about what is hip-hop and how is it done. Also, there are very few record labels in India. Which is why artistes have to literally sell their souls to stay afloat. But yes, hip-hop has spread far and wide. If you decide to rap in your language, then the reach can be wider.
What’s coming up next in the life of Swadesi?
Swadesi: We have our tracks coming up next. ‘Karnatak’ and ‘Ek Se Dus’, namely. We will also be introducing more rappers. We even have a Nana Patekar tribute coming up as well.