Rap in India went from derivative to original over the last few years and got co-opted even quicker. But there has been an alternative hip hop movement called gully rap that has been brewing in the informal settlements of the city. These artists represent where they come from in their lyrics and talk about life in the gullies of Mumbai. Zoya Akhtar’s next big Bollywood release is situated in this community and gully rap is going to hit the mainstream soon, opening a new world of possibilities.
The evening had the premiere of VICE India’s incredible documentary, Kya Bolta Bantai that explores the past and present of gully rap through interviews with first generation crews like Mumbai's Finest, to names such as Naezy, Swadesi and DIVINE who have popularised the genre in recent years. The film was followed by a panel discussion featuring the director of the film, Naman Saraiya, music journalist Bhanuj Kappal, and Karan Amin, artist manager for Dopeadelicz and Dharavi United. The discussion was moderated by Nirmika Singh, Executive Editor Rolling Stone India. We also had an exhibition of photographs by Naman, and the 7 Bantaiz closed the evening with a special showcase.