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June 17, 2017

Prabh Deep: The Rapper Who Lives By His Raps

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Rohit Soin

“I dropped out of school, worked a couple of jobs and danced. But when I got into music, I made it mine”

“I don’t know any secrets. I don’t know technical stuff, or how to create subliminal rhymes. I just write.” Listening to Prabh Deep Sagar means disposing of any preconceived notions you might have about rappers. He has no airs, and the 23-year-old emcee from Delhi, who raps in Punjabi and Hindi, is self-made in every sense of the term. And given that there is much discussion these days about India’s underground hip-hop community not being underground anymore, it’s important to acknowledge that he is one of the many reasons why.

Starting out as a b-boy, the outspoken artiste with a distinctive voice discovered a passion and a simple desire to be connected to hip-hop culture in a larger way. “I really had no plans at first,” he admits. “I dropped out of school, worked a couple of jobs and danced. But when I got into music, I made it mine. And I’m right here, still doing it.” After meeting others in the community, he made it his mission to learn everything he could, and did a great deal to encourage other up-and-comers. In late 2016, he teamed up with another home-grown trailblazer, beat maker Sez, to put out his debut album Class-Sikh. With it, Sagar set himself apart from the mainstream wave, addressing issues that he felt strongly about and garnering a lot of applause for his delivery and flow. ‘G’ Maane, the explicit debut single, quickly became popular with those frustrated with the Indian music industry, which he describes as “confusing”.

The one thing that upsets him the most about it, however, is that performers like him don’t get paid on time. “That’s the single biggest problem every upcoming independent artiste has to deal with. My music is sorted; same with my production.” Ask him what’s inspiring him right now and he states, “My bank balance — which is zero right now. Eighty per cent of the time it is zero!” Unfiltered and opinionated, his is exactly the kind of fire that will power many more hard-hitting albums, one of which he’s just about to drop.

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