From Orkut rap battles to the mainstream, Vignesh Shivanand aka Brodha V’s musical journey has been like the hip-hop music scene in India, blooming from the underground, screaming to be heard, a voice that can’t be ignored. As he announces his new collaboration with PUMA, we listen to his inspiring journey.
From participating in rap battles on Orkut to standing here today, you’ve come a long way. Tell us about your journey.
My journey has been unbelievable and incredible! I've had my fair share of success and failure, but I've always known that music is my forte and this is what I was meant to do. I've been turned down by record labels, TV and radio stations for not fitting their "type", to playing at packed venues, and having fans send me messages telling me I helped them cope with depression and get through phases in life. Looking at all the love I get from my fans makes this journey worth it. My music is very personal to me and seeing it accepted by a diverse fan base has been extremely gratifying.
What inspires your music?
I'm a 90s guy through and through! I'm sure you'll find this answer in every interview that I've done before, but my introduction through rap was actually from the Tamil movie Kadhalan by a song called Pettai Rap. I love Rahman and find a lot of inspiration from his work. Some hip-hop artists I've been inspired by are Tupac, Big L, Eminem, Nas etc. I'm a big fan of producers like Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Dr Dre and DJ Premier. I've studied all their works and I have learnt a lot by trying to emulate them.
Brodha V X PUMA
PUMA has been a big promoter of alternate culture and a catalyst for growth of hip-hop culture, do you think your partnership with them will further blow up the hip-hop music scene into the mainstream.
I love PUMA. It's been great to be a part of a family that has other talented athletes and artists and be able to connect with them, and work on meaningful projects together. Hip hop has already made its way into the mainstream in India. By supporting artists like me who have their roots in underground music, PUMA is definitely a catalyst for the growth of real hip hop culture in India. I have a lot of plans for what I'd like to work on and hopefully we can bring more artists who deserve recognition into the limelight.
With a major film like Gully Boy bringing rap into the mainstream Bollywood scene, don’t you think it’s a great time to be an Indian rapper and hip-hop artist.
Absolutely. India was already ready for hip-hop, and Gully Boy's success was just proof of it. I was honored to have a cameo in it. Hopefully our audience will now be able to recognize the sound of true hip-hop and move away from recycled beats and generic party rap and listen to the real life experiences and stories that come out of the streets and smaller households from all over the country.
Text Samiksha Chaudhary