The Khatarnaak Hip-Hop Collective is ushering in the rebirth of hip-hop in India. The New Delhi based group is one of the first to holistically represent all 5 elements of Hip-Hop, founded by one of India’s most exciting emcees, Sun J. Born into a family of modest means, Sun J provides a fresh perspective about real life in New Delhi. 2018 was a banner year for the artist, and he’s starting 2019 off on the right foot with his new single and music video “Dilli”.
The title is the slang name for New Delhi, and the release coordinates with India’s Republic Day. The song is expressive, confrontational and aggressive, and rife with Sun J’s chopper-style, lightning-fast flow.
If you don’t believe that they can make authentic hip-hop masterpieces the world over, then check out this hard hitting production by Haji Springer, the mix by Deptronic, the engineering work by DJ Reminisce, and the video clip by Liberal Arts Production, to assess the extreme altitude levels the Indian based Khatarnaak project has reached with “Dilli”.
Whether you enjoy the music or not, this fact is pretty much indisputable. Much of the track actually goes pretty hard, filled with plenty of drive and confidence. Another indisputable fact!
There’s a great range of emotion shown on the work as Sun J jumps from bar to bar. Unfortunately due to my ignorance, and very little help from Google Translate I was unable to unwrap the meaning lyrics which I assume is in Hindu, though India has a vast number of languages.
However there’s a sense of urgency and awareness that pervades throughout the entire work, leading me to believe that the song is much deeper than it appears. The instrumental also helps bring it all together, ringing sweetly and dramatically under the verses.
For now I can thoroughly appreciate the technical elements – the flow, the production and the performance – which are outstanding on all counts. Given the speed, density and multi-syllabic delivery of Sun J’s lyrics, I would imagine that it is periodically difficult to comprehend what he’s saying on first listen, even for someone acquainted with the spoken language.
What is abundantly clear is that Sun J is pouring out his emotions, as he holds nothing back in his performance, while repping his city.
“Dilli” is by no means an easy listen, but it’s a brilliant one. So I would say it’s not for everyone, especially mainstream lovers. However, I doubt that the Khatarnaak project is really concerned with “everyone,” instead they hone in on their die-hard supporters, real hip-hop heads, and concentrate on consistently putting out great music, which is probably the most important element for them.
That being said, when given some time by “everyone”, “Dilli” reveals itself to be a multi-layered conceptual journey presented by one of Indian hip-hop’s best rhymers.