Wrap around a cause

After creating ripples in the west, the genre of Conscious Rap tries to break ice with fans in Indians as the band DNOAX sings about issues bothering the common man

As countless corruption cases are getting exposed and even more being unearthed in our country at present, there seems no end to the skeletons waiting to emerge out of the cupboard. While feeling of frustration among youth is at an all time high, a unique hip hop band has heard the cry of the people and is touring the nation doing their bit to spin a pun on the social and political situation with a new genre of hip-hop.

A 20 member band DNOAX (Desi Number One Artistes X) with emcees from various parts of India, have brought Conscious hip-hop or political rap to the music enthusiasts and are among the premier bands in the country to do so.

DNOAX has one album already under its belt named They See (Desi) Revolution and will be performing in
different cities of India, including Kolkata and Mumbai, as part of The Park hotel's New Festival. "Desire for political change is being felt around the world and we want to support this revolution through music. Our next album will have songs dedicated to the uprising in Egypt, Libya and Syria," says Monica Rajendran, a classical singer in the band who comes from Hyderabad. Their second album is slated for release later this year.

The band recently performed at The Park's New Festival last week, introducing Delhiites to this novel genre. The crowd seemed to enjoy the foot tapping music. The band started off with a track called Blood Falling Like Rain which harped on the issue of human suffering. But the audience reacted better to Mere Naal 2, a Punjabi club track and Raging Flame with the lyrics depicting the yearning for truth and justice within everyone. "People generally think that rap is shallow, loud and all about bling. Also, the only exposure that to rap and hip-hop in India is through Bollywood, which churns out popular and commercial music. But this genre begs to differ. It is fresh, new in India and I think the youth will respond well to it," said Meghna Nijhawan, a music enthusiast  and an attendee of the show.

"We used to have late night practice sessions on Skype and on phones as none of us hail from the same city. Our band has influences of Classical, Alternative and Techno styles. We sing for the jobless, the underprivileged and plight of a common man in the present era where might is right," says band member Abhishek Dhusia aka Ace from Mumbai.

While the mainstream rappers and hip-hop artists talk of extravagance and their various nocturnal exploits, Conscious rappers are more like spokespersons for society and claim to be the voice of the ignored and the downtrodden. The genre took birth in the US during early 70s, and gained popularity with artists like Grandmaster Flash, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Tupac Shakur rapping about real life issues like hunger and unemployment, as opposed to fast cars and pretty girls in petite clothing. DNOAX seems to have brought the rebellion to the East, and a similar response to their talent is expected in the coming time.

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