In the vast landscape of hip-hop, a genre renowned for its rhythm and poetry, lyrical prowess stands as a hallmark of true artistry. Lyrical rappers possess a unique ability to weave intricate wordplay, vivid metaphors, and profound storytelling into their verses, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of emotions and ideas. While at the international level, listeners often complain about the lack of lyricists in the new generation, DHH has witnessed a remarkable evolution in recent years, with a surge in talented lyrical artists who have transformed the genre into a vibrant and thriving movement.
The 12 Greatest Lyricists In Indian Hip Hop
With the emergence of lyrical rap in Indian hip hop, we embark on a journey through the realms of the genre to celebrate the exceptional talents of some of the greatest lyricists in Indian hip-hop who have elevated the art form with their remarkable skills and profound lyricism.
12. Rebel 7
Hailing from Delhi, Rebel 7 has gained recognition for his unflinching lyrics, intricate wordplay, and witty punchlines. His rap style can be described as a blend of technical proficiency, storytelling, and raw emotion, which sets him apart in the contemporary hip-hop landscape. One of Rebel’s standout skills is his ability to manipulate complex rhyme schemes and cadences with ease. He showcases an impressive command over his flow, effortlessly switching between double-time verses and multisyllabic rhymes.
Encapsulating the most authentic ‘Dilli’ vibes, the artist often touches upon social issues, personal growth, and the realities of a middle class boy’s life, demonstrating his ability to connect with listeners on a relatable level. He seamlessly transitions between energetic and aggressive flows to melodic and introspective deliveries, showcasing his adaptability as an artist.
Suggested Listening: EndaVishesham (2022), Kaale (2020), Faasi (2021)
Unarguably, Muhfaad is one of the best Indian lyrical rappers who gained recognition for his distinct rap style and impressive skills. Apart from his versatility and dynamic range, one of Muhfaad’s most notable rap style elements is his commanding presence on the mic, effortlessly capturing the attention of listeners with his confident and powerful voice. His ability to maintain a consistent and engaging flow throughout his verses adds an infectious energy to his music, making him stand out as an artist.
Wordplay is his another strong suit. He excels at cleverly crafting rhymes and using puns, metaphors, and similes to convey his message with a touch of humor and creativity. The rapper often adds depth and layers to his lyrics, allowing him to explore various themes and concepts in an engaging and thought-provoking manner. This skill contributes to his ability to entertain and captivate audiences. He is a one-man army and showcases his skill in adapting to different beats and production styles.
Suggested Listening: Part 2 (2022), Gulab EP (2021), Backflip (2020)
Mumbai-born Rahul Khadtare, better known as Kidshot, rose to prominence with his exceptional ability to deliver rapid, complex flows with remarkable clarity, often incorporating intricate patterns of syllables and internal rhymes. Kidshot’s quick-paced delivery and impactful lyricism showcase his technical prowess and sets him apart from many other artists in the genre. His lightning-fast rapping style has become his trademark and has influenced countless aspiring Indian rappers.
Kidshot’s captivating wordplay showcases his creativity and attention to detail, often leaving listeners in awe of his lyrical dexterity. With his latest EP, the artist extends his craftsmanship beyond his rap skills and demonstrates musical versatility. Moreover, Kidshot’s music often delves into personal introspection, his struggles, and his journey as an artist. He is known for his raw and honest lyricism, tackling topics such as relationships, societal issues, and personal growth. His ability to balance introspection with an electrifying performance style creates a captivating and emotionally resonant experience for his listeners.
Suggested Listening: The Come Up (2023), Bhot Kuch (2020), Shukar Hai (2022)
Dakait or Dakait Shaddy has been the face of Dehradun hip-hop and Team Evolution. One of the defining elements of his music is his unparalleled mastery of rhyme and flow. His incredible vocabulary and multisyllabic rhymes set new standards for lyricism in desi hip hop. The way this talented rapper effortlessly strings together, complex and intricate patterns of rhymes can be described as rhyming in cursive.
Dakait’s lyrical content in his catalog is another hallmark of his talent. He elevated the art of using more Hindi words, delving into introspective themes, social commentary, and gangsta rap style in the scene. His lyrics are characterized by their depth, intelligence, and introspection. In addition to his lyrical prowess, Dakait’s cultural representation through his lifestyle and music videos has solidified his status as a true icon in the Uttarakhand hip-hop scene.
Suggested Listening: 396 (2022), Bade Tu Chal (2020), Bawa Bajte Hain (2020)
8. Sikander Kahlon
Rapping for ages, the Mohali Messiah — Sikander Kahlon is one of the most influential figures in Indian hip hop. Showing exceptional consistency with his remarkable albums over the years, Kahlon’s music is characterized by his distinctive style of blending Punjabi and English words, creative lyricism, and versatile flow. Known for his raspy, unique delivery, he has a knack for crafting catchy hooks and memorable one-liners. Kahlon’s wordplay is often filled with clever metaphors, similes, and pop culture references, showcasing his lyrical dexterity and wit. His ability to switch between rapid-fire delivery and laid-back flows demonstrates his versatility as an artist.
Throughout his career, Sikander Kahlon has released numerous critically acclaimed albums and mixtapes. His music often explores themes of street life, personal experiences, preaching, and his journey as an artist, allowing listeners to connect with his authenticity and vulnerability. Aside from his rap skills, Kahlon is also known for his prolific output. He has an extensive discography and has collaborated with a wide range of artists.
Suggested Listening: PRE SK (2020), MIKHAIL (2019), 100 Bars 2 (2019)
Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer, better known as EPR, is one of the most lyrical rappers in desi hip-hop. He is known for his thought-provoking rhymes, exploring a wide range of subjects such as politics, social issues, and personal introspection. EPR’s lyrical delivery is marked by his poetic sensibility, blending insightful observations with a distinct rhythm and cadence. His ability to craft engaging narratives and vivid imagery through his lyrics has earned him critical acclaim.
Repping Kolkata, the musician has received recognition for his super complex music, filled with numerous references, multi-syllabic and internal rhyming chains. With his rock-infused music, energetic performances, and unwavering commitment to activism, EPR has cemented his status as an influential figure in Indian hip-hop and beyond.
Suggested Listening: Protest Poetry (2020), Q (2020), Koi Gham Nahi (2021)
DIVINE is often regarded as one of the pioneers of hip-hop in India. The rapper is supremely skilled and, with his vivid storytelling, introspection, and insightful social commentary encapsulating Mumbai’s lingo, he has cemented himself as an influential figure in the culture for a lot of young artists. His lyrics often reflect detailed narratives, capturing the struggles, triumphs, and realities of life in the inner city. Addressing themes such as poverty, crime, and family problems, his unique style of rapping features poetic imagery, and attention to detail that bring his narratives to life, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in the worlds he creates.
From the streets of Mumbai to the Billboards of NY, DIVINE has seen a lot, allowing him to rap about his own personal experiences, emotions, and growth. Throughout his career, he has released numerous influential projects that showcase his growth as an artist and his continued commitment to creating authentic and impactful music.
Suggested Listening: Punya Paap (2020), Kohinoor (2019), Gunehgar (2022)
5. Brodha V
Despite being invincible in the game for more than a decade now, Brodha V’s songwriting is widely recognized for its creativity, versatility, and classic nature. Encapsulating an unconventional approach to lyricism, Brodha V pushes the boundaries of rap in India, incorporating vivid imagery, references, and poetic wordplay. His lyrics often exhibit a stream-of-consciousness quality, with unexpected metaphors, double entendres, and captivating rhyme schemes.
A blending of languages adds an additional layer of depth and texture to his music, while his selection of words and beats makes it distinctive. He pays close attention to rhythm, cadence, and delivery, meticulously crafting his verses to match the mood and flow of each song. This attention to detail enhances the impact of his lyrics and contributes to the overall richness of his music. His love and dedication to craft established him as one of the most respected Indian rappers.
Suggested Listening: Aathma Raama (2012), Vainko (2019), Vaishnava Jana To (2019)
The precise definition of versatility in DHH, Raftaar, is one of the most prolific and gifted rappers of all time. Since the beginning of his career, he has achieved both critical and commercial success. In the realm of lyrical mastery, where words weave tales and minds are swayed, stands an icon — Raftaar, the lyrical architect of hip hop’s grand symphony. With each verse he crafts, Raftaar wields the power of words, molding them into weapons of truth and artistry.
His words paint vivid pictures, each line a stroke on the canvas of our imagination. With surgical precision, he dissects life’s complexities, inspires youth, and demonstrates dynamism. Like a master magician, Raftaar conjures enchanting rhymes, effortlessly bending words to his will.
But his lyrical genius is not confined to the confines of the studio; it spills onto the stage with magnetic charisma. His live performances are a testament to his command over the crowd, as he takes the mic and unleashes a torrent of poetic brilliance. With each word, he captivates, inspires, and unites, reminding us that hip hop is not just a genre — it is a platform for change.
Suggested Listening: HARD DRIVE Vol 1 (2022), Black Sheep (2021), GOAT Dekho (2021)
3. Encore ABJ
In a space, where stories are etched and voices resonate, there emerges a young luminary, a poet of the new age — Abhijay Negi aka Encore ABJ, the lyrical wordsmith weaving tales of introspection and wisdom. Like an alchemist of rhyme, he transmutes his experiences into golden verses, gifting the world with a glimpse into his soul.
One of the top lyrical rappers in the Indian rap scene and half of the best Indian rap duo, ‘Seedhe Maut’, Encore’s music has a symphony of depth and authenticity, a beacon of hope amidst the noise. With each carefully crafted line, he invites us on a journey through the labyrinth of his thoughts, peeling back the layers of his consciousness. His words, like brushstrokes on a canvas, paint vivid portraits of the human condition, exposing vulnerabilities and embracing success. ABJ’s flow dances effortlessly over beats, a cadence that transcends time and space. With an unrivaled gift for storytelling, Encore ABJ becomes the griot of our generation, illustrating realistic reflections of our own fears, dreams, and aspirations.
Suggested Listening: Nayaab (2022), Bayaan (2018), Namastute (2021)
Representing Mumbai hip hop with his pen, Gravity is nothing less than a wordsmith. His lyrical wizardry is a symphony of intellect and introspection, a dance of words that resonates deep within the core of our being. With each line he writes, he challenges conventions, pushes boundaries, and forces us to confront the complexities of the human experience. His lyrics are a masterclass in storytelling, inviting us into a world where pain and triumph coexist, and where societal ills are laid bare.
King Grav’s flow, like a river of rhythm, cascades effortlessly over beats, carrying us on a journey through the maze. With his ability to effortlessly switch between rapid-fire verses and melodic refrains, he defies the lines of traditional rap, creating a sonic landscape uniquely his own. As he continues to weave his tales, we are reminded of the power of art to transform lives. In his words, we find solace, inspiration, and the unwavering belief that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
Suggested Listening: SUPERVILLAIN (2023), Walls Of Jericho (2021), Prashna Chinha (2018)
Arguably the best Indian lyrical rapper who even got praised by his opponents for bringing lyrical rap to India — the master illusionist of words, Krishna Kaul aka Krsna (stylized as KR$NA) conjures spells with his artistic abilities, captivating audiences with his mind-bending rhymes and tight delivery. His lyrical prowess is a kaleidoscope of gripping flows and audacious wordplay, a whirlwind that sweeps us into the depths of his creative persona. His rhymes are lightning bolts of brilliance, striking with precision and leaving us in awe of his technical wizardry. While writing a song, KR$NA spends enough time to create rhymes and bend syllables to his will, which is nothing short of magic, a testament to his unrivaled command over Hindi and English languages.
KR$NA’s artistic abilities reach far beyond the confines of rap; he is a master of writing complex bars, effortlessly maneuvering through instruments. His collaborations with diverse artists across the seas showcase his ability to adapt his style to different musical landscapes. KR$NA’s voice reverberates via his music, igniting fires in the hearts of aspiring artists and enthralling the masses with his unmatched prowess.
Suggested Listening: Time Will Tell (2023), Still Here (2021), No Cap (2021)