Raftaar and DJ Nucleya on finding the best rapper among the excellent

Updated: Aug 19, 2019, 08:40 IST | Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

Sharing the mentors' seat on the hip-hop music-based reality show MTV Hustle, Raftaar and DJ Nucleya on finding the best among the excellent.


Considering its widespread reach, cinema has been upheld by cinephiles and movie-makers as a tool to inspire change in society. But, in the case of Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, it may not necessarily be the commercial release that served as a magic wand for the hip-hop industry. At least, that's what DJ Nucleya believes as he tells mid-day, "Whether or not [underground rappers] are spoken about in the media, they will continue to grow. The reason the film got made is because the scene is unstoppable. What we see in the media or even mainstream music, is only five per cent of what's actually happening." Usually selective when heaping praise on artistes, the DJ, with a mention in Forbes' list of the wealthiest, appears mesmerised with the talent he's seeing on the music reality show, MTV Hustle, that he co-judges with Raftaar and Raja Kumari. He says he isn't mincing words when stating, "This will be a revolution."

A world obsessed with perfection is having its influence on both fields, the academic as well as the creative. As students continue to score near-cent per cent in examinations, artistes have consistently raised the bar in every field. We're compelled to ask what then makes for the winning recipe in a world where excellence is ordinary. Raftaar agrees that while lyricism is of utmost importance in rap, several other factors come into play. "The voice is the most engrossing element of artistry. It has the power to ensure that the lyrics and wordplay have been delivered in such a way that they weave an emotional tone. One must be able to paint a snapshot of their life's experiences by particularising universal struggles. In doing so, one helps listeners understand a part of them, whether that's beautiful or ugly." One's ability to play with words such that they give a glimpse into their personality, is also crucial. "Great artistes have a unique vision and a potential to be excellent. They are born with it and not doctored into it. A good rapper is one who is comfortable rendering a variety of sounds in different production styles. That comfort points to a mastery of many necessary skills. But, I'd like to add that in music, [beauty] is in the eye of the beholder. That makes it harder to define what truly makes a rapper great. We have to consider the consensus by fans."

Also Read: Raftaar: Admiration makes me feel responsible as an artiste


Not one to frown upon the havoc that commercialisation in music could play on its quality, Raftaar celebrates the fact that hip-hop music is now a "full-fledged profession". Besides, commercialisation, he says, gives artistes abundant scope to evolve. "My only advice to artistes is that they should not [limit] music to their means of making money; make it a faith that you would die for. Artistes must responsibly shoulder the legacy they want to carry forward." Having interacted with the participants during auditions, man of many struggles Nucleya could see parts of him in several contestants. He is glad that the new crop of artistes no longer look Westwards to draw influences. "Over the last five years, rappers have become comfortable communicating in their own language. We have artistes from so many states sharing this platform. Their desire is inspiring."

Also Read: Raftaar: My dreams have become bigger now

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