RAGA is a popular Indian rapper, singer, and lyricist hailing from New Delhi. Born and raised in the capital city, Raga has built a reputation for himself as a famous underground rapper and an upcoming mainstream artist. Delhi has been consistently churning out hip hop artists and Raga comes as the next prized addition to the list. From Badshah to Raftaar, Ikka, Lil Golu and many more, the artists from Delhi have a unique sound and take on the world views. Raga was previously known as EwillMyth until he changed his stage name to Raga. We had a short chat with Raga, who has recently released his latest track Sheher. Here are the excerpts:
How did Ewill Myth become Raga?
(Talks of Ewill Myth in third person) The name Ewill Myth was influenced by the west, but he wanted to symbolize his culture, his motherland, and his language, which was Hindi. He met a lot of people in India, but none of them had such a distinctive name, and that was the year the term “Raag” was entered into the dictionary; therefore, Raga was born. He wanted an Indian name, so about 2013-2014, the term “rag” was introduced to the Oxford dictionary as “Raga,” which is where he obtained it. It was in keeping with his personality and had nothing to do with rags.
When did you realize that hip hop is your calling?
I was listening to rock, which my sister introduced me to, but then she introduced me to Eminem and Akon and gave me a couple records by them, which blew my mind and inspired me to start creating rhymes in 2013. There’s something about music that draws you in, and the lyrics of hip hop, as well as the rhyming schemes, piqued my interest. I rapped it back to myself the first time I wrote anything, and I was extremely proud of what I had done, and this was in 8th or 9th grade.
Tell us about Sheher
(Talks as about Raga in third person) Raga explains how the streets influenced and encouraged him to embrace hip hop as a lifestyle. He also discusses the toxicity of the lifestyle and how it drove him to rap and make a career out of it in his hood, where he had to deal with law enforcement and drug usage. In the final verse he takes the command in a self-critical manner, blaming himself for all the streets forced him to do and all the paranoia he acquired from drug misuse. He didn’t want to mention any cities or even Jamnapaar in this song because he wanted every child to be able to connect to his experience.
What kind of work do you want to create in the times to come?
I have always been a spur-of-the-moment writer who gets ideas from what is going on around me. I am never short on ideas or topics to write about. What I write about are my own and life experiences. In my lyrics, I am as honest as they come, and I don’t sugarcoat anything. In my songs, you will hear just pure rhyme schemes and genuine lyrics.
What are your next few projects?
There’s a lot coming down the pipeline. I am working on an EP and an album, as well as a slew of singles with a diverse range of artists both in India and outside.
Name your top 5 influences from India and abroad
I have always admired Eminem, Eyedea & Abilities, Rakim, and Tech N9ne for their bold and blunt lyrics and manner of expressing themselves. Faris Shafi has had a big influence on me, as have Ikka and Raftaar, who are like my brothers and always set the bar high.
What influences of east Delhi have been instrumental in your song writing?
Everything has had an impact. Depending on how I was born and raised, as well as my surroundings, the way I see a situation differs from how someone else does. As a result, I was always critical of myself. I have always told myself, “You’ve got to accomplish this.” I have always been interested in rap and have pushed myself to learn it. I realized I couldn’t spend the rest of my life surrounded by narcotics. I have always wanted to be focused and not follow in the footsteps of others. It’s as if everyone is going to jail for having a terrible reputation in society. The coolness and rigidity are present, yet they do allow me to be like water.
An interesting free wheeling chat, we surely will look up to the next upcoming works from Raga while we keep enjoying ourselves with “Sheher”!