In 2022, the Desi hip-hop industry has solidified even further, with a slew of new artists experimenting with their music and introducing new flavours to desi hip hop listeners. Rappers in the new vanguard are redefining modern hip hop and changing perspectives. While the hip-hop genre has traditionally been linked with the old-school sound, these young skilled artists are topping playlists and showing that music has no boundaries.
Each of these rappers is unique. While some of the rappers on this list prefer new-wave music, others prefer poetry, and some just showcase their versatility.
We’re looking forward to seeing how these emerging stars make their mark on the music industry. Here are the 10 talented Indian rappers to watch out for.
The 10 Revolutionary Indian Rappers To Watch Out For
Bella is one of the most versatile and consistent desi hip hop rappers. His lyrics are hard-hitting, and he is also phenomenal at music production. He was the winner of India’s first rap reality show, “Hustle”. The rapper got his sound heard across the country, thanks to his project “Home The Album”, which he dropped in 2021. As soon as he discovered his new sound, he converted his detractors into fans, which was a big victory for Bella.
Bella released his debut mixtape, “That’s The God I Know,” in 2022, and it was a brilliant effort. Through this endeavor, he experimented with his music further and presented a variety of sounds. He released his second mixtape titled “God Made Me The Greatest.” on Wednesday (May 18).
USP: Since Bella changed his sound, he has gained a lot of listeners. He is well-known for his modern sound. However, Bella’s music is very versatile and you can find a range of sounds in his projects.
Essential Listening: “Deja Vu” by Bella is an absolute banger with lovely melodies. Call Me Safin crafted the single, which is really groovy, featuring great lyrics and astounding music. Bella’s remarkable rap-singing abilities shine through on “Deja Vu,” making this song stand out.
Uttarakhand has given many talented gems to desi hip-hop, and Raiychu is one of them. The artist is attracting a wider audience with his drill music. The sub-genre has now become a trend in South Asian countries. And both mainstream and underground rappers are trying it.
Raiychu has been in the game for a long time. He dropped his debut album “Ready To Die” in 2021. This was a great project, but unfortunately didn’t get deserving streams. After that, Raiychu did an interesting thing by releasing a seven-track EP “UK07”. He released 7 tracks in 7 days back to back.
USP: Raiychu’s music is quite dynamic. He is very proficient in trap music, but he is unrivalled in drilling. He is one of the top drill rappers in desi hip hop. He has produced some significant records in this sub-genre and has the abilities to build a name for himself as a driller.
Essential Listening: From his 2021 EP “UK07”, “KGF” is one of the best drill tracks with a tight flow and insane lyricism.
3. MC Stan
When you think of the mumble or new-school rap in desi hip hop, the first name that comes to mind is MC Stan. There was a time when Stan was among the most hated rappers from India. But in 2020, when he dropped his debut album “Tadipaar”, he successfully converted his haters into his fans through his music. MC Stan is carrying the legacy of blending passion and pain into his songs while showing how bold he is.
Following the success of “Tadipaar”, Stan dropped his much-awaited sophomore project “Insaan”. The album dominated the charts and made him reach a wider audience. This album’s sound differed completely from his debut album. With this project, MC Stan established himself as India’s leading new-school artist.
USP: In the initial days of his career, Pune-based rapper MC Stan was trying to find his sound. After “Tadipaar”, he took a particular track, adopted a mumble/new-wave sound, and became one of the biggest rappers in India. MC Stan’s music has influenced an entire generation of new-wave rappers.
Essential Listening: “Snake” was the first song he released soon after the release of his debut album. This was the first time MC Stan’s audience heard this type of music from him.
The underground scene has always been a diamond mine, and Khayek is one of the diamonds. Initially, his content was basic, and he had no point of difference. But, over time, he developed his sound, and that was the game changer. Khayek experimented with his music and tried R&B. The soothing melodic vocals of the artist gained him his base audience.
Khayek gained recognition in 2021 when he released his 5-track EP “Narak.” In this endeavour, audiences appreciated Khayek’s calming voice and good lyricism. The artist has a bright future and is undoubtedly adding a fresh flavour to desi hip hop with his songs.
USP: Everyone like mysteries, and Khayek music is all about it. There are very few artists whose music can evoke such dark and mysterious vibes. In addition, Khayek’s sound is highly commercial, giving you goosebumps in a quiet place.
Essential Listening: Through “Yaha Pe”, Khayek depicts the dark reality of society. The beat embraces the message and creates a fascinating vibe.
5. MC Insane
MC Insane captured the scene with his debut release, “The Feel Album.” With this album, he rose to prominence and started to gain a loyal fan base. The talented young artist isn’t afraid to let his emotions shine through his songs, delivering hard-hitting lyrics on vibey music.
Following the success of “The Feel Album,” MC Insane returned with his mixtape “Soul For Sale.” Aside from music, MC Insane’s camera appearance complements his songs. Insane has a strong pen game and his lyrics are indeed relatable, which makes his music more engaging.
USP: MC Insane is arguably India’s finest emo rapper, spearheading the emo-rap movement in desi hip hop. The genre has a large global following, and we’re excited to see MC Insane dominate top music charts.
Essential Listening: Although all of the songs on “The Feel Album” are outstanding, “Trust Me,” produced by Christo-zy, is one of the most heartfelt.
6. Rap ID
A rapper who has been in the game for a long time and has built a reputation for himself with superior skills, Rap ID is well-known for his impeccable lyricism. His music has a purpose, and the artist delivers it brilliantly. The emcee is peerless in his field, whether it be societal awareness or an emotional message.
In 2019, he released his debut project, “In Pahadon Mein EP.” His viral hit “Kattarwaad” had a significant influence on the country which made him stand out. In 2021, Rap ID released his mixtape “Purnviram.” The tape has a distinct sound, with remarkable lyrics and powerful music.
USP: Though Rap ID’s music is quite diverse, his finest traits are storytelling and social messaging. His storytelling style is heart warming.
Essential Listening: There are many songs worth listening, but Rap ID’s “Kahaani” is a masterpiece. This is a song with a meaningful message that will let you witness his incredible storytelling skills.
One of the finest new-school artists from Delhi, Qaab first got major recognition with the release of his song “Prime Time.” With this song, he proved that he is here to bring trap waves in India. The song is a work of art, with impeccable rhymes and refreshing vibes.
Qaab released his debut studio album “Violette” in 2022, on which, he collaborated with some very well-known rappers including Harjas, Smoke, and Rebel 7. Because “Violette” was his debut project, it did not get him much attention, but established himself as one of the top new-school rappers in desi hip hop.
USP: Qaab excels at trap and new-school music. Aside from being a great rapper, he is also a brilliant music producer.
Essential Listening: “Prime Time” by Qaab is an excellent example of new-wave hip hop. The song has amazing lyrics and a soothing vibe.
Trap Metal has been around for a long time in India. Artists like Sahil Makhija have been doing it. But Cheerfaad, is credited with pioneering the subgenre in Desi hip hop. This sort of music was unusual in India, but Cheerfaad is one of the artists pushing metal rap.
Introducing such a sound to desi hip hop was not an easy task, but Cheerfaad was up to the challenge. In 2022, he dropped new music from his long-awaited trap metal EP, “Angry Monster.” However, the sound is still not mainstream, but happily, people have begun to appreciate it, which is a win for the culture, thanks to Cheerfaad and other metal rappers.
USP: As we mentioned, Cheerfaad’s music is all about trap metal and he has developed impressive skills in the sub-genre. His lyrics and vocal tone complement the music and add power.
Essential Listening: “Swaha” is his most recent single off his forthcoming EP. The song offers you an adrenaline rush huge kudos to Bad Junkie for production.
9. Kalam Ink
Another remarkable young talent from Uttarakhand is blazing a trail with his heartfelt music. The rapper crafts soulful songs and has a distinct flow. He has the ability to tell real-life stories through vividly expressive lyrics.
In 2021, Kalam Ink gained traction. In his songs, he narrates real-life and fictional stories about himself and others, which helps him gain new listeners. People relate to his music; they discover their own tales in his songs, which validates Kalam Ink’s skills.
USP: Kalam Ink sounds incredible on lo-fi beats. The gloomy vibes in his storytelling rap songs make for an exciting experience.
Essential Listening: Kalam Ink released “K.Y.U” in 2021, which quickly became one of his most popular songs.
Another rising star on the verge of becoming a revolution in underground R&B/soul music. In his wonderful honey-tone voice, the artist expresses a range of diverse emotions. 2Facebleed began his career by covering songs and has since become an emerging phenomenon.
His heartfelt compositions and mellow vocal tone have made him a prominent feature artist in major underground projects. From Dynami8’s “Mashoor” to Khayek’s “Azaadi,” 2Facebleed has proven his versatility. He released his debut project, “Loner At Sunset,” in 2022, and it sounds lovely.
USP: It’s not easy to make R&B or Lo-Fi music. 2Facebleed is one of the Indian artists redefining the genre.
Essential Listening: “3:15,” one of his most popular tracks, has a fresh vibe. And 2Facebleed has done a terrific job on this record.