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Interviews |  21 Jun 2018 19:00 |  By RnMTeam

I didn't face challenges as a female rapper but I have faced challenges, being a female in this country: Dee MC

MUMBAI: The rapping and hip-hop scene is scene golden days in recent times. While we have grooved to hit raps by rappers like Badshah and Raftaar, there are many new names coming up on the hip-hop and rapping scene. One such name is Dee MC aka Deepa Unnikrishnan, who is emerging as a kick-ass rapper on the hip-hop scene. Dee MC will be performing today at Artist Aloud’s ‘World Music Day Festival’ to be held at Hard Rock Cafe. In an exclusive interview, Dee MC talks about her upcoming performance, her rapping career, social issues and more.

Tell us about your upcoming performance at ‘World Music Day Festival’ in association with Artist Aloud.

It's an amazing journey and I’m glad to be a part of this event and I’m sure it’s going to be very grand. I’m also glad to be sharing the stage with two other amazing artists. And, I’m very happy that hip-hop is being included on a grander scale now.

I have two artists, who will be performing with me on my set and apart from that, there are two other artists, who will be performing at the event. They are Mumbai’s Final and M CEE Kaur. Two artists, who will be performing with me, are Coitik Justis and D’Evil from Mumbai.

Any key highlight of the performance, do you want to share?

It’s going to be a thirty-minute performance and I have a couple of unreleased tracks from my upcoming album, which will be released by the end of this year. It would also include all of my recent music for which I had collaborated with different music producers. There is a lot of variety and it is going sonically be different from the two other sets because I have music from different artists. Each track has a social message as well. So, there is a track, called Marriageable Age. It’s about what females face in India like they become a ticking time bomb after crossing a certain age as everybody forces them to get married. There is another track which is about my collaboration with an organisation called Menstrual Hygiene Day. It is about creating awareness about periods. My songs have a social message. I have fun songs as well for the love of hip-hop. It is going to be a mix of everything.

How did this idea of collaborating Rap and hip-hop with a social message?

I believe that hip-hop as a genre has the power to open peoples’ minds. In a place like India, where the only entertainment people consume is through Bollywood. Also, there is also a saying that says it is people also want Bollywood only and it works here. I wish this scenario changes due to hip-hop as everyone is rapping in their respective state. And, when we do a rap, it is usually about social issues as nobody makes a song on them. When they rap about such issues, people feel a connection. It had earlier happened in America and now it has spread across the world. I believe it will progress in India too.

How has been your journey so far? How challenging was it?

When I started rapping, I honestly did not start it with intent to make a career out of it. I started it because it gave me immense pleasure in just being able to do this. I was surprised with myself and I wanted to see how would I improve myself compared to people who had started before. For six-seven years now, people are doing hip-hop in the country. Seeing them, I received more encouragement. So, it was like a community and there was no angle of business as such. Earlier, nobody cared for hip hop. But, since, last three-four years, people are actually noticing it as a profession. Source of income has started coming since past two years. I’m sure people are going to watch out for hip hop for the next five years.

As a female rapper in India, what challenges did you face?

 I didn’t face challenges as a female rapper but I have faced challenges, being a female in this country. My challenges are like any other girl in India faces. I started rapping at a very small age of 19. Though I have moved out now, during that time, my house was in Kalyan and most of the events happened during night far away from my place. So, as a female, I was protected and not allowed to attend the events. This was the only challenge I faced. Apart from that being a female rapper, I was always being encouraged because there were not many female rappers in the scene. So, when I joined the scene, everybody was like, who is this new rapper? If at all I needed help, everybody was very helpful. And, of course, there are always people, who do not believe in your capabilities and this has nothing to do with gender.

Which is that one social issue, you would want to voice through your rap?

One most important thing, I would like to convey in my rap would be the hypocrisy that exists in our country. Everybody thinks that they are very modern and have come far in life. But, everybody has their deep-rooted prejudices and their own superstitions and always females are the ones who face the wrath of it. Whatever topics I choose will be related to something that I have personally gone through.

You write lyrics for your own rap. How did you develop this skill?

When I was in school, I use to write poetry in English, which is my favourite language and I had a pretty good command of it. Reading Telling stories was something that interested me. As I grew up, I came across western music and a little bit of rap in our Bollywood music. I was attracted towards it as I loved by hearting it and being able to recite it out. So, when I stepped in college, I was into hip-hop as a dancer first. When I joined the crew, I also learned B-boying, but I realised that it hurts me, so I switched to rapping. I use to write raps of other established rappers and by heart it. One of the rappers from Mumbai introduced me to the Mumbai rapping scene. Then, I started writing my own rap.

You revealed about your album release at the end of this year. Can you tell us more about it?

I had been to the UK last year for my first international tour. I was there for about 45 days at the South Banks Centre. I was supposed to choose one artist from the UK and collaborate with them. So, I choose a producer, who had got in touch with me. After the tour, I stayed back for two weeks and discussed the idea of an album with him. We have been working on the idea for the past year. It’s a very vibrant song and has Indian elements, which the Indian audience will relate to. I’m really excited about it.