Rap shows in Nepal are on the rise. Artists are hopeful of reinforced rhythm

Smriti Biswokarma, popularly known as Dmriti, performs for an episode of Wai Wai Dynamite Breakbars. Photo: YouTube screengrab
Smriti Biswokarma, popularly known as Dmriti, performs for an episode of Wai Wai Dynamite Breakbars. Photo: YouTube screengrab

For Smriti Biswokarma, popularly known as Dmriti, a rap show is the best platform to show her talent. She says she is where she is today all because of such shows. 

Dmriti is one of the most talented and emerging rappers in Nepal today. She came to the limelight after winning the Wai Wai Dynamite Breakbars, a rap battle event held among 16 rappers, in November 2021. With the title, she became the first female rapper to win such a competition. 

There are many other new faces to think alike. 

Relatively, in Nepal, rap music is one of the rapidly growing musical genres. While many other genres are losing their rhythm, rap music still stays in power. Recent rap shows on television and YouTube are evident of the fact but they also mean the genre will stay popular here for at least a few decades.  

How it started

Nepali hip-hop music, more popularly known as Nephop, dates back to the 2000s. The duo of Girish Khatiwada and Pranish Timilsina, popularly known as GP, were the pioneers to start rap culture in Nepal. Back then, when the duo released their song ‘Ma Yesto Chhu, Ma Testo Chhu’ featuring Sudin Pokharel alias DA69, rap music achieved remarkable hype in the Nepali music scene. Other artists such as Nirnaya Shrestha, Nepsydez, Mad Zone and others also made rap music more popular. 

In 2011, the Nepali rap scene got Yama Buddha, who enriched the Nepali hip-hop scene exceptionally. His songs such as Saathi, Aama, and Yo Prasanga were the greatest hits in the Nepali music industry. Almost every song by Yama Buddha was the talk of the town among the youth. Those songs not only created a space in the hearts of thousands but also strengthened Nephop. 

In 2013, the Nepali hip-hop scene witnessed something unique. Raw Barz, the first-ever rap battle phenomenon, was introduced to the scene. Numbers of aspiring and potential rap artists participated in it. The show is also labelled the milestone of the Nephop. The first-ever rap battle did not only hold rap battles but also introduced many talented rappers to Nepali rap music.

Raw Barz then used to be one of the most anticipated shows for the youth in the early and mid-2010s. Its rap battles were extremely popular among Nepalis living in different parts of the world. One of its rap battles that features Uniq Poet and Laure has now over 20 million views in nine years. Balen, Laure, Uniq Poet and Easi 12 are some of the popular figures who exploited Raw Barz to rise to the limelight.  

Taking the show ahead

G_Bob vs Maila during a rap show of All Nepal Thug Family. Photo: Screengrab via YouTube
G_Bob vs Maila during a rap show of All Nepal Thug Family. Photo: Screengrab via YouTube

Now, with the popularity of visual content, there are rap shows on TV and YouTube. They hold rap battles and groom talented artists to promote the industry. 

All Nepal Thug Family (ANTF), Wai Wai Dynamite Breakbars Battle and Nephop Ko Shreepech are popular rap shows currently. The first two rap shows have recently concluded their final round whereas Nephop Ko Shreepech is in its audition round.  

These recent rap shows are going to be no less popular than Raw Barz. For example, a video of G-Bob vs Maila has been viewed 16 million times in two months.    

Now, back to Dmriti, the winner of Wai Wai Dynamite Break Bars. Her song, Female Rapper, released in January created a hullaballoo in the Nepali rap scene. As of writing this piece, the music video has over 252,000 views. Most probably, it is one of the few rap songs by a female rapper that garnered such immense hype. 

“Earlier my songs used to be heard by only the rappers, but now, the audience is from diverse backgrounds, ” she says. “It strengthens my public relations as well.” 

Participating and winning the show had made her realise music can be even pursued as a career. 

Contribution to the industry

The rap shows, undoubtedly, are fruitful for the rap scene, says Kolin Bikram Rana, the Raw Barz founder. “We not only hosted the events but also explored a lot of hidden talents and introduced them to the Nepali music scene. Currently, the demand for rappers in any show or event is high today.”

Rana is happy to see various rap shows coming up in recent days. When he started Raw Barz, there was no other platform that would promote Nepali rap artists. Rana believes the new rap shows have continued the legacy to promote Nephop while changing peoples’ perception of hip-hop music. 

Remembering that his show Raw Barz had reached even the US, the UK and India, he hopes the new shows will follow suit, which will essentially be helpful to develop the genre further.

Likewise, rapper Balen Shah says rap shows are a great platform for emerging and potential rappers.  

There may be many talented rappers but could be lacking a platform to showcase their talent. For those individuals, the rap shows can be a boon, says Shah, more popularly known with his first name Balen only, also a judge of the show, Nephop Ko Shreepech. 

Balen admits that rap shows have helped him also to build his career in music. He, hence, is confident that many aspiring rappers like him will also feel the same. 

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Prasun Sangroula is an Onlinekhabar correspondent, mainly covering arts, society and sports.

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