With abundant plurality in culture and dialect spanning across India, it is not surprising that Indian hip-hop musicians have created regional subgenres of note. This includes everything from Punjabi tracks that have become a global phenomenon to Malabari Hip-Hop tracks that are still making their mark.
For those who grew up in Kerala, Mappilapattu is something that they might be all too familiar with. This folk music genre of the Muslim community that originated in the Malabar area of the state, has a long and winding history. In fact, it is considered an indispensable part of the Malayali literary heritage. While few youngsters may listen to the typical Mappilapattu, its cultural relevance is undeniable, especially when the music holds the potential to be transformed into so much more.
'Malabari Banger', a track created by artists MHR, Dabzee, Joker and SA might seem like any other catchy hip-hop track at first. However, a closer listen reveals a deep understanding of the cultural roots of the artists and the locale. The lyrics in the regional Malabari dialect are a nod to the rich linguistic heritage of Malabar, where languages like Malayalam and Arabic melded over the centuries to create a unique linguistic identity.
The track also has an unmistakable resemblance to the aforementioned Mappilapattu. This music genre characterised by its soulful tunes and lyrical storytelling, often touches upon themes of love, faith, and nostalgia. While the rhythm and pace of Malabari Banger are reminiscent of age-old Mappilapattu, the sonic landscape it creates is undeniably modern. The beat is infectious, and the production is top-notch, a testament to the artists' dedication to their craft. It seamlessly merge the traditional with the contemporary to create a track that has become an earworm and a social media favourite.
But this isn't the first time MHR, Dabzee, SA, and Joker have showcased their musical prowess and cultural relevance to create remarkable music. They created the track 'Manavalan Thug', featured in the movie Thallumala. The song received accolades for its cultural authenticity, musicality, and lyrical intelligence. Its popularity was a nod to their talent to create music that resonates with the hearts of their audience while staying true to their roots.
In the world of indie hip hop, where authenticity is paramount, Malabari Banger is a track that shows what can be achieved when artists stay true to their roots while being open to contemporary influences and inspired experimentations. Through music like this, artists can embrace their cultural heritage and weave compelling contemporary narrative. And how in doing so, they create something uniquely their own, resonating not only with their local audience but also capturing the attention of music lovers worldwide.
You can listen to the track below: