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Rap, where it matters

Updated on: 30 January,2023 08:12 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Agencies |

MC Heam encourages jail inmates to express their emotions using hip-hop music

Rap, where it matters

MC Heam

As part of AR Rahman’s The Dharavi Project, MC Heam headed to the Udaipur Central Jail to kickstart music classes with the prison’s inmates. “With so many hip-hop artistes coming from rough pasts, it’s no surprise that some of the best rap songs are about [time spent in] prison. Artistes like Tupac and Gucci Mane, among others, have even written music while serving time. Behind bars or not, some of hip-hop’s biggest hits are those about being incarcerated, getting out and never going back. Whether you’re talking about Snoop Dogg’s Murder was the case or Nas’s One love, prison is the subject of many great rap songs, and these tracks are still being produced today,” says the rapper, who taught 1,000 inmates.

Like he would with any other student, Heam says he had to first work on building a foundation and establishing the principles of hip-hop, before encouraging them to create music. “That process took seven days. I told them about rap. It is not easy to learn it, but rap is about emotions, and that  is something that [they could showcase]. This is a good way for them to express themselves. I wanted them to write about what they’ve endured. This is their only source of entertainment.”

Heam doesn’t look back at his time spent in Delhi’s Najafgarh with fondness. “It was a place with a lot of negativity, and criminal activity. I have seen people suffer; we could hear gun shots. So, I was always keen to know what happens in jail, and how people are treated. So, I think this has been a beautiful experience.”

Also Read: Golden Globe Awards January 2023: AR Rahman congratulates team 'RRR', says 'incredible, paradigm shift'

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