This rap outfit from Mumbai wants their music to make a difference

Mar 04, 2017, 14:30 IST | Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya

Mahim’s multilingual Rap outfit South Dandies Swaraj wants their music to be an instrument for addressing social issues

South Dandies Swaraj rappers, Tamizh (left) and Sean YKV (centre) who are working on their debut album, recently performed with Kadhal Jack (extreme right) of Kacheri Movement in the city. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
South Dandies Swaraj rappers, Tamizh (left) and Sean YKV (centre) who are working on their debut album, recently performed with Kadhal Jack (extreme right) of Kacheri Movement in the city. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

“I say what I want to say and do what I want to do. There’s no in between. People will either love you for it or hate you for it.” Eminem, the global Rap icon, had elucidated the fundamentals of the genre cogently, whose origins are in Africa and Jamaica. Owing to the free flow, it entered India on a blissful note.

Legendary actor Ashok Kumar offered its first glimpse with the song, Rail Gaadi (Aashirwad), in 1968. Within two decades, the genre found allies in AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja. South Dandies Swaraj — a Rap duo comprising Suresh Agailan Bose (Sean YKV) and Rahul Prasad (Tamizh) - are taking forward the legacy, albeit in the independent space. The Mumbai-based group raps in four languages, but their highlight is Tamil.

Message in music
Sean, the lead rapper, wants to bring about a change through an album, that’s in the making. “My motto is Rap for change and Hip-Hop for life. I try to convey a message through every song. I am looking for a producer,” says Sean. The name of the band is suggestive of their South Indian roots. Earlier, the group had more members. “We were a Hip-Hop Collective with nine people, including a miniature artiste and a graffiti artiste. We had to bid goodbye to some members,” he shares.

The 28-year-old from Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu) resides in Mahim and believes that rapping in different languages will help him reach out to more people. “It helps me connect to more listeners who understand these languages. We want to take our regional languages abroad,” he adds. Sean also performed alongside Apache Indian and Shankar Mahadevan in his initial days. “I didn’t get any break after those shows. But kids would take my autograph while senior citizens would kiss my hand. They thought my Tamil was retro,” he says.

Society matters
“Our music talks about recycling, rape, terrorism, social media and other social issues,” says Sean, who can also rap in Marathi. His colleague, Tamizh, sticks to Tamil.

One of the singles from the Dandies’ kitty is Idli Vada, the traditional breakfast in South Indian households. “I observed Idli and Vada vendors and wrote a song around their daily struggle, and how they see the society through customers,” explains Sean. The track, Social Kadhal/Pyaar, dwells on the overuse of social networking sites. “The world has become dynamic with Facebook and Twitter. This song is about the youngsters who spend hours on it.” The group also has a track dedicated to the feminists, called Nari Meri Nari.

The Dandies also developed a brother culture, being close to Kacheri Movement, a Rap outfit from Dharavi. They are often seen playing gigs together.

Sean is hopeful about his music’s reach. “I am not a party person. I am interested in the social issues. We know how African Americans changed the face of Hip-Hop when they used music as a vehicle for their struggle. I will try to do the same,” he signs off.

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