A hip-hop revolution in Hyderabad

The hip-hop scene is burgeoning in Hyderabad, all thanks to the six-month-old ‘Hyderabad Street Culture’. The group of five ciphers at public parks and areas like Necklace Road, and metro stations, effectively bolstering the local hip-hop community.

Ciphering involves planned or spontaneous gatherings where rappers engage in freestyle performances. HSC derives its inspiration from the unfiltered and authentic hip-hop ciphers of the late ’90s and seeks to revive their essence. Additionally, they even include beatboxers into these gatherings, highlighting the significance of live music creation.

Comprising self-taught rappers Mohammed Shahjahan (raps Punjabi and Hindi), Mohammed Hidayat (Dakhni rapper), Santosh Kumar (Telugu rapper), and beatboxers Amruth, and Kushal Annoju, HSC is dedicated to offering an avenue for emerging talents, while challenging stereotypes linked to the genre.

It all started when Shahjahan, who had roots in the city, relocated from Chandigarh. Missing the vibrant hip-hop community he had been part of in Chandigarh, he took it upon himself to create a thriving hip-hop scene in Hyderabad by initiating cipher events. Despite the initial obstacles, he eventually hosted a successful cipher event in March this year. Over time, he met like-minded people from the city to form Hyderabad Street Culture, a hub for hip-hop artistes to unite and nurture a flourishing community.

“Because hip-hop is born on the street, you need to take it to the streets to connect with its true essence. Confining hip-hop performances to clubs limits people’s understanding of the genre,” Shahjahan says. Sharing that hip-hop can be appreciated by individuals of all ages, including children and the elderly, he adds, “There are several misconceptions related to hip-hop and the lifestyles associated with it, and we are striving to break those stereotypes.”

Starting from around 10-20 participants from the first cipher, the rapper community has grown to become a community of 200 artistes, performing in Telugu, Hindi, Dakhani, and English languages. “Our approach is a way to embrace and showcase the language and culture of Hyderabad, and the themes of raps revolve around all sorts of socio-political and concerning issues,” Shahjahan shares.

Apart from ciphering and rapping, the community is also into other elements of hip-hop culture, including beatboxing, graffiti, skateboarding, and DJing. One could stay informed about their weekly event schedule on their Instagram page, ‘HydStreetCulture’.

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