Mathew Joy Mathew finds out what keeps Kerala’s rap crew Street Academics ticking
The song from their latest video Chatha Kakka (dead crow) starts with the most existential question, ‘Who am I?’ (Njan aaranavo....Njan aara?), with some trippy shots; and that’s how Street Academics does it. These Kerala-based rappers are as hardcore as it gets when it comes to their lyrics and themes.
Their crew primarily has five people from different paths of life, but the team Street Academics is a battalion of youngsters. The five member crew of Street Academics are Abhimanyu Raman, better known as EarthGrime, Haris Saleem aka The Maapla, Rajeev Ernesto aka Pakarcha Vyadhi, Amjad Nadeem aka Azuran, and Vivek Radhakrishnan aka DJ Viv3k.
“Since starting six years ago, all our songs’ theme usually pivot around the common man’s socio-political milieu, rather than focusing on themes like love, which have faded with repetition. We wanted to hit hard with themes which could either be contemporary or have a deeper philosophical appeal. But our next song is going to be motivational. We want to give something back to all our listeners, something which would keep them going in their lives,” says Vivek.
When asked how the local crowd responds to their fast-paced intense rap, Vivek says, “People have slowly started to accept rap in the South. If you listen to the songs in mainstream movies they have started integrating rap into the songs. Even clothing style has been influenced from hip-hop culture. Though there are a lot of youngsters who listen to independent rap songs, most of them are still in school but there is still a lot to change. Like I said, since young kids are listening to us, let’s hope that the future could be brighter.”
Our lyricism is basically an amalgamation of slam poetry and hard-hitting rhymes. Being strong advocates of independent music or “the underground hip-hop” scene, we are in contrast to the popular culture of our country where the music industry is a side-kick to the film industry and such rebellious thoughts make hip-hop what it is. As hip-hop legend Tupac said, ‘I am not saying I am gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.’ We represent a culture more than just music. We stand for freedom, to break contemporary styles of music, thought and way of life.”
Reach Out: www.facebook.com/streetacademics