You’ve probably heard about Mumbai’s burgeoning hip-hop scene by now. The success enjoyed by Naezy and Divine is the result of years work put in by multiple hip-hop crews in the city, where it’s youth, especially those belonging to lower-income groups, have taken to the culture like a fish takes to water.

Collectives such as SlumGods, Mumbai’s Finest, BeastMode, Battle Bars Bombay and many, many more are responsible for the immense amount of hip-hop talent that’s coming out of this city, and this list aims to bring to you the one’s that we’ve earmarked to blow up next.

MC Mawali

Photo source: Mawali

Photo source: Mawali

Part of the Swadesi crew, MC Mawali aka Aklesh Suttar is an innovative Marathi rapper that you should definitely keep an eye on. With his brand of left-tinged, socially-conscious hip-hop, Mawali has established himself as one of the Mumbai underground hip-hop scene’s best MCs. He first gained traction with the release of ‘Laaj Watte Kai?’ – a track that addressed the women’s rights and safety in India – and followed that up with the release of ‘Hip-Hop Seekha’, a song that quickly became an anthem within Mumbai’s hip-hop community.

Widely respected within the community, Mawali draws inspiration from revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, seeking to bring about social change with his music. Live, he performs alongside his Swadesi crewmates MC TodFod (more about him below) and others, bringing the house down with his engaging mix of old-school hip-hop beats and experimental bass music.

Listen to thisLaaj Watte KaiHip-Hop Seekha, Gondal {prod. By Bandish Projekt}

MC TodFod

Photo source: Dharmesh Parmar

Photo source: Dharmesh Parmar

MC TodFod is another member of the Swadesi crew that’s been turning heads in the community. Drawing from the crew’s shared desire to bring about tangible socio-political change with their music, MC TodFod aka Dharmesh Parmar occupies a unique position within the city’s hip-hop community. He raps in Gujarati, approaching his subject matter from a right-of-centre perspective that adds a different narrative to the stories that the Mumbai hip-hop scene addresses. His single ‘Cows’ {prod. By Bandish Projekt}, released in support of the Maharashtra government’s beef band, stirred up some minor controversy in the city. TodFod’s sound reflects the Swadesi crew’s affinity for Indian-influenced bass music – frequently collaborating with Bandish Projekt’s Mayur Narvekar.

Listen to this: Su Che KarvanuCows {prod. By Bandish Projekt}, Ek Se Aanth {prod. By Bandish Projekt}

Emiway

Photo source:

Photo source: Emiway

Emiway is one of YouTube India’s most popular music stars. He possesses an uncanny ability to craft viral hits that spread like wildfire. His output is remarkable – dropping tracks on a regular basis sans the support of any management team or label. He’s single-handedly created a fan base for himself, tapping into his everyday surroundings to create an entertaining and identifiable brand of bantai-rap.

Listen to this: Tadak PadakMaal Wali AuntyFun Dekho

D’Evil

Photo source: D'EVIL

Photo source: D’EVIL

D’Evil aka Dhaval Parab is one of the mainstays of Mumbai’s underground hip-hop community. A veteran of the battle-rap scene, Parab has been honing his craft for a while now. His latest single, titled ‘Kadki’, is a testament to the work he’s put in over the years. Parab started out as part of Orkut’s Insignia community, a breeding ground for Indian hip-hop. His output so far has been slow and inconsistent, but with the release of ‘Kadki’,one hopes that this talented MC will build on a hugely promising debut.

Listen to thisKadkiBhalti Soch, B3 Battle

SlumGods

Photo source:

Photo source: SlumGods

The Dharavi-based crew has been under the spotlight for a while now, but no matter how big the hip-hop scene in the city grows, the work that these guys do will always form the backbone of this movement. Formed in 2009, SlumGods is a collective that has been using hip-hop to restore pride and positivity amongst the people of Dharavi and remove the poverty-porn framework with which the area is associated. They organize everything from workshops and cyphers to B-boy classes in the area, and have earned acclaim from international hip-hop artists such as Seti X and DJ Sarasa.

Listen to this: Bajaao DocumentaryThe Guardian Documentary

Featured photo source: Mawali