image image image image image

The Evolution of Hip Hop in India: From Streets to Screens

In 1973, the streets of New York witnessed a revolution that would change the world. It all started at a back-to-school party, where DJ Kool Herc's turntable wizardry gave birth to hip-hop. Fast forward to today, and hip-hop isn't just music – it's a global powerhouse shaping politics, art, and language. Come join us in this journey to explore the evolution of hip-hop in India, tracing its roots from the streets to the screens.

Hip-hop has become the 4th most listened-to genre on Spotify in India. One notable playlist, 'Rap 91,'gained significant attention, and its live event, 'Rap 91 Live,' featured over 25 artists rapping in six languages. These playlists aim to introduce hip-hop to listeners nationwide. Interestingly, over 70% of hip-hop fans on Spotify in India belong to the Gen Z demographic, highlighting the genre's appeal to the youth. Notably, the 'Rap 91' playlist experienced significant growth of over 110% in 2023.

"Gully Boy," directed by Zoya Akhtar, explores the lively world of Indian hip-hop, inspired by street rappers DIVINE and Naezy, providing insight into the evolving hip-hop scene in India; MTV Hustle plays a significant role in this musical revolution. Additionally, 'Hip-Hop Haryanvi' and 'Hip-Hop Malayalam' have seen remarkable surges, with growth rates of 500% and 600%, respectively.

Dhruv Research conducted a comprehensive survey to gauge opinions on music genres, shedding light on the dynamic landscape of India's music industry valued at $443 million.

Source: Online Survey of 1100+ Indians

The survey reveals renowned artists like Yo Yo Honey Singh, Divine contributing to the genre's growth. As the most-streamed songs by Badshah, Honey Singh, and Raftaar gain prominence. In Indian hip-hop, several artists have carved their unique niches, each contributing to the genre's vibrant landscape. Badshah takes the lead securing the second rank in popularity. Honey Singh, a seasoned figure in the hip-hop scene, claims the top spot with 24%, reflecting his enduring influence and widespread appeal, making him the most streamed and celebrated artist in India. Together, these artists showcase the diversity and richness of Indian hip-hop, captivating audiences with their unique contributions and musical expressions.

MTV Hustle showcases a remarkable lineup of contestants from various linguistic, regional, and cultural backgrounds. It shows hip hop's ability to transcend geographical and linguistic boundaries, providing a unified platform for artists. The show reinforces the idea that music is a universal language of emotion and celebrates regional tongues, breaking linguistic barriers. The success of hip hop in India is evident on Spotify, with "Excuses" by AP Dhillon amassing 374 million views and "Brown Munde" by Gurinder Gill garnering 664 million views. These tracks lead the charts, with "Excuses" boasting a remarkable 361,086,205 plays, reflecting the immense popularity and widespread appeal of hip hop within the country. Other notable tracks, such as "Tu Aake Dekh Le" by KING with 492 million views, and "No Love" by Shubh with 192 million views, also gained significant attention, boasting impressive play counts of 341,288,165 and 300,130,811 respectively.

Sidhu Moosewala's dominance extends beyond Spotify, as he holds the record for the most number-one singles on the Billboard chart. His track "295" made a significant impact by entering the prestigious Billboard 200 charts, solidifying his position as a powerhouse in the global hip hop scene. Another influential figure in Indian hip hop, Badshah, made waves on the international stage with his track "Paani Paani," securing a spot on the Billboard Global 200 Chart. What sets 'MTV Hustle' apart is its fusion of traditional folk music with contemporary hip-hop.

However, the hip hop scene in India is not a monolithic entity. From the North East to the southern landscapes of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, various artists bring their struggles and stories to the forefront. The series "Hip Hop Homeland" by 101 India shows different talents and talks about the marginalized narratives of regions often overlooked in the mainstream.

Dhruv Research's extensive survey provides valuable insights into the preferences of music enthusiasts, particularly in the realm of hip-hop. The overview of respondent interest levels reveals a significant and enthusiastic fan base for the genre. Notably, hip-hop secures a 4.98% of preferences, showcasing its growing audience and influence.

The analysis strongly indicates that hip-hop is not merely a genre but a cultural force, capturing the attention and passion of a substantial portion, while other genres collectively make up the remaining.

Rising growth trends in Music Industry

The steady rise in the number of music listeners over the past few years highlights a significant and consistent growth in the global music industry. In 2019, the count stood at an impressive 100 million, marking the beginning of a trend that has only intensified. Moving into 2020, indicating a noticeable increase in music consumption. The subsequent year, 2021, witnessed a further surge, signifying the growing popularity of music across various platforms.

Number of Music Listeners Years
100 million 2019
105 million 2020
118 million 2021
124.74 million 2022
170 million 2023

The momentum continued into 2022 and 2023 indicate a substantial leap to 170 million listeners, underscoring the music industry's robust expansion in India and the increasing role of music in people's lives. This not only reflects the accessibility of music but also points to its enduring and universal appeal, making it an integral part of global entertainment and cultural experiences.

The expanding listener base implies a broader market for the music industry, creating opportunities for artists, platforms, and related businesses to reach a larger audience. The increasing numbers may be indicative of the impact of digital platforms, streaming services, and online music accessibility, as these have become more prevalent over the years.

The Essence of Hip Hop: Beats, Stories, and Cultural Connection

Hip-hop is currently evolving into a cultural movement that exerts influence across various facets of society. Beats and rhythm, making up 34.49% of total responses in our recent online survey, play a significant role in shaping the trajectory of hip-hop.

Source: Online Survey of 1100+ Indians

This survey also highlights the recognition of storytelling through lyrics, acknowledged by 18.99% of respondents, as a key hallmark of hip-hop. Furthermore, there is a notable fusion of hip-hop with influences from the Indian subcontinent, commonly referred to as "Desi hip hop.". Moreover, hip-hop serves as a powerful tool for addressing systemic issues and advocating for positive societal change.

In music consumption, the thriving music streaming market is projected to reach a revenue of ₹473.60 million in 2023, with an expected annual growth rate of 8.72% by 2027. Beyond entertainment, hip-hop is recognized as a medium for cultural expression and representation, fostering connection and understanding among listeners. It has become a dynamic force, resonating with diverse audiences and contributing significantly to the cultural landscape.

The survey explores how hip-hop influences India's changing music scene and serves as a powerful cultural force, with Desi hip-hop breaking barriers, celebrating diversity, and dynamically shaping India's cultural identity.

Nikita Sohi

Sr. Executive
People & Culture

Registered Address:

A237 2nd floor, JMD megapolis, Sector 48 Sohna road,
Gurgaon, Haryana -122018

Contact Us

Please send your queries to :

Dhruv Research owned by DHRUVA RESEARCH
Copyright © 2021 DHRUVA RESEARCH.
All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy

Indian Constitutional
provisions for Surveys