Mangaluru: What do Eminem, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and All Ok have in common? They are all rappers. The only difference between them is that All Ok is a Kannada rapper. Rap or Hip-hop has come a long way from the streets of USA and now, to the streets of Namma Kudla.
Rap music, a sub-genre of the hip-hop genre, has been a popular form of music among the youth and initially, was used an outlet and a voice for the disenfranchised youth of marginalized backgrounds and low-income areas.
It has been a while since hip-hop culture made its way into the Indian scene, and even if many do not listen to this kind of music, they have at least heard of it. As India is a land of several different languages, naturally, there are rap artistes who perform in their local vernacular, and they are growing in number. Hip-hop has already made its way into Hindi and other language songs, including Kannada. "Gully Boy", the Bollywood movie so far, to revolve around the hip-hop/rap genre, was released to critical acclaim.
Here in Mangaluru, Namma Kudla, we have seen English rappers, Hindi rappers and Kannada rappers. Now, there is a new breed of rap artiste growing in numbers and they are getting ready to take the stage and battle it out for a chance to shine and come to the forefront.
Tulu rappers, while already in existence, have never really been given the chance to showcase their talents or to make something of their talents. That is why Raja, proprietor of Libey Entertainment Network, decided to organise a competition solely for Tulu rappers to come forth and wow the people of Mangaluru.
Speaking about his intentions behind organising the Tulu Rap Competition 2020, Raja told NewsKarnataka.com, "Tulu rap is not really famous here in a big way and the artistes don't get a platform. In the Tulu culture, they (the Tulu folk) generally concentrate on the traditional things and comedy and not on modern styles."
"We just wanted to try it out once and see how it goes. Later, we also plan to start a rap 'cypher' (A cypher is an informal gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or breakdancers in a circle, in order to jam together) so that the rappers can make videos and post them to their YouTube channels," he added.
Elaborating on the contest, Raja said that the winner will get a chance to sing in a Tulu movie. "I will be producing a Tulu movie under the banner of my company 'Libey Entertainment Network'. I have already spoken to a director and he has agreed to come on board the project. He works in the Sandalwood industry and is currently working on a Kannada film. His next project will be this Tulu film," he said, adding that the details about the movie will be revealed during the finale of the Tulu Rap Competition 2020.
To prepare for the Tulu rap competition, two auditions were held in the city. A total of 20 rappers appeared for the auditions, from which 16 were chosen to move on to the final round, which will be held on Saturday, February 1, at Srinivas University, Pandeshwar.
One among the finalists is Adithya Hegde, stage name AMH 19. A video of him at the Tulu Rap competition auditions has been doing the rounds on social media recently.
Although he hails from Shanvalli, Yallapur, Adithya was born and raised in Mangaluru. He spent 23 long years right here in Namma Kudla, before moving to Mysuru, where he now works at Asian Paints Ltd.
Adithya's native tongue is the Havyaka dialect of Kannada (a dialect of the Kannada language spoken by Havyaka Brahmins), however, he found himself drawn to the Tulu language.
Asked what attracted him to the Tulu language, Adithya said, "The slang and the swag that go along with the language is what I was attracted to."
About how he started rapping in Tulu, he said, "I used to travel to school by bus from Valencia to Mangaladevi. The way that some of the conductors used to say 'Kankanady, Agnes, Mallikatte, Krishnapura', the names of all the stops, it felt like a kind of rap to me. So one day, when I was here in Mysuru, a rap song came together in my head around it (the conductors' words), that nostalgia."
Adithya has been rapping for about two years, although more as a hobby and not on a public stage, that is till recently when he auditioned for the Tulu Rap Competiton 2020 at Srinivas University.
"This is a great opportunity for us (Tulu rappers) to show what we Tulu people have to say. This competition is all about the stage, the mic and your own people, what else can anyone ask for?" he said when asked about his opinion about the Tulu Rap competition.
Asked what he thought of the future of Tulu rap, Adithya said, "Tulu is a very interesting language and there's a lot under the hood just waiting to burst out."
Even though he has not yet had a taste of the limelight, Adithya hopes to one day become a professional rapper. "I dream a lot... Tulu songs going worldwide is one of them. I would also like to meet Divine, Eminem and Snoop Dogg," he added.
The Tulu Rap Competition 2020 is being organised by Libey Entertainment Network, in association with Srinivas University, Pandeshwar, Mangaluru. The grand finale will be held on February 1 at Srinivas University at 3 PM.
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