The rap of Gully Boy touched and won millions of hearts around the world. A breath of fresh air, the movie changed the audience’s perception about the nature and genre of rapping. From corruption and poverty to class divide and conflicted relationships – the rap songs of Gully Boy broke away from the stereotypical depiction of women, alcohol, shoes and money. Even then, as we approach International Women’s Day, our acquaintance with female counterparts of this revolutionary art field remains limited. It is high time that we also recognize and appreciate our Gully Girls. Here is a list of 5 female Indian rappers who will tickle your minds and delight your souls.
1. Siri Narayan
Siri Narayan is a rapper you should listen to if you are looking for regional flavor in your usual dose of rap and hip-hop. Siri intermingles her English words with some Kannada wisdom. Not only is Siri one of the first Kannada rappers, but she is also a female one. In one of her interviews with a leading newspaper company, Siri admits that she faces gender bias on a daily basis. People look at her gender before listening to her rap – that is something Siri desperately wants to change. This also reflects in her songs, where she constantly talks about how women should believe in themselves and be an unstoppable force of nature.
Siri’s most popular raps: Listen to ‘Live It’ if you want to believe in yourself.
Groove to the beats of ‘Soul’ if you feel betrayed by the hypocrisy of the world around you.
2. Deepa Unnikrishnan (Dee MC)
A prodigy artist, Deepa first performed on live stage when she was only 5. As her keenness in poetry, rhyme and rhythm grew, she became fascinated with how simple words can have an impact if delivered in the right manner. Thus, began her journey as one of the most outstanding female Indian rappers.
Today, Dee MC’s raps are all about how women are perceived in India, and how they are still subordinate to men, in subtle, but harmful ways. Dee MC’s is still on her journey to spread widespread awareness about the gender imbalance through her beats and words. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Dee MC is one of the feminist Gully Girls that we have in our country today.
Dee MC’s most popular raps: Listen to ‘Chaar Logon Ki Baatein’ to learn how to ignore the gossip mongers around you.
Hear ‘Greenhouse Effect’ to get a feel of how Indian mythology still inspires the way we look at the world around us.
3. Sofia Ashraf: The Burkha Rapper
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Sofia Ashraf is one of the “woke” female Indian rappers that we have today. She raps about the damage that industrial waste causes to the ecology around us. She has intensely criticized corporate companies like Dow and Unilever in her songs. When Sofia first began rapping, she donned a hijab and went on to the stage during her college festival. She rapped about how the world looked at the Muslims post 9/11.
As of now, Ashraf identifies herself as an atheist and has also released a rap about how moral policing causes more harm than good to the people. Also, her raps talk about how faith is a subjective matter and not a mandatory rule that guides our lives. One of the most thought-provoking rappers of our times, Sofia Ashraf can give Gully Boy a run for his money when it comes to recording songs about the idea of ‘nature vs individual’.
Sofia Ashraf’s most popular raps: Listen to ‘Don’t Work for Dow’ to get an idea about how the company still continues to ignore the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (Also, listen to ‘Dow vs. Bhopal: A Toxic Rap Battle’ for a more intense experience).
Lend an ear to ‘Kodaikanal Won’t’ to poetically get a grip on the increasing levels of mercury pollution in the hill station due to a Unilever owned thermometer factory.
4. Ishita Kaur (Ish Kaur): One of the youngest Gully Girls in India
At age 13, Ishita Kaur first began rapping to combat the bullying she faced in her school. Now 18, Ishita is a successful rapper in her own right, rapping in sometimes English and sometimes Punjabi – and sometimes in both. Known by her rap name Ish Kaur, this rapper just came back from an eventful and memorable gig in Bangkok.
Although Ish Kaur’s raps are mostly about the lives of teen girls and how it revolves around family, friends, love affairs, etc. there is always a surprise element of women empowerment and survival in a male dominated society. This gives the rapper an extra edge over the rest in her field.
Ish Kaur’s most popular raps: GhaintKudi is about how girls are always conscious of their appearance and how their body image is always negatively perceived.
MeriMaa is a beautiful rap about the mother-daughter relationship, devoid of harsh or coarse language. Ish believes that rapping is all about self-expression, and the use of rude language is highly subjective.
5. Femcee Nicki Ziee G:
This Women’s International Day is all about celebrating women who are comfortable in their own skin. This is about applauding women who are not afraid to be themselves. And appreciating Femcee Nicki Ziee G becomes crucial here. Why? Not only Femcee Nicki Ziee G one of India’s finest female Indian rappers, but she is also probably the only openly gay Indian female rapper.
Femcee Nicki Ziee G first began rapping only as a hobby. But, after understanding the amount of potential and reach this art form holds, she took it up as a profession. Combining her sexual orientation with her ambition, Femcee Nicki Ziee G aims at being vocal about how women are also entitled to dream big.
Femcee Nicki Ziee G’s most popular raps: Listen to ‘Dream Chasing’ if you are feeling down and need some serious motivation about life.
Listen to ‘Mumma Earth’ if you are a green enthusiast and looking for a song you can relate to.
These 5 Gully Girls are here to beat the Gully Boy at his own game. Although a little raw and unfinished, these Gully Girls’ raps are hard hitting and ring true to the ears. On this International Women’s Day, let us lend a patient ear to the grooving and meaningful beats and lyrics of these rebellious Gully Girls.