Underground hip hop is a place where an artist generates hunger for his art: Indian rapper Aeke

People have a ‘Lat’ of addictions today but this guy’s Lat towards rap and underground hip hop made him one of the first generation Emcees. He has given 15 years of his life and career to work and develop underground hip hop, rap and its elements. Known as Aeke in the rap and hip hop circuit, Akash Khandelwal will tell you the basics of hip hop and rap. His years of hard and findings to make underground hip hop mainstream in India, is an inspiration for every rapper and musician. In an exclusive interview with Music Beat, Aeke actually gave us a crash course on rap and underground hip hop, took us through his journey, his debut EP, Trilibrium, and more. Every aspiring rapper, hip hoper and musician must check out his exclusive interview to know the basics of hip hop, rap, and underground hip hop in specific!

You have spent 15 years in the underground hip hop scene and created an identity as one of the rappers who has retained the five key elements of hip hop. When did you realise that hip hop, rap and bboying was your calling?

I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop artists. It started off with listening to an album called Aggression somewhere around 2000-01. Later I dug into more artists. By the time I was 15, I started understanding the language of rap pretty well and would naturally indulge in writing rhymes on a daily basis. I would write rhymes in the night and then would rap it out to my friends in the school next morning. Later I found online platforms where I met more rappers who would battle it on social media platforms, and this made my idea of rap even deeper. As I got into college and into the different music and dance scenes of Delhi, the idea of hip hop became even deeper.

I started bboying at the age of 17-18 and formed a crew called D2BX. I did bboying for a few years and later even judged and organized a few bboying jams. With organizing my own jams I even started hosting the jams and started rapping. I started writing and performing songs around the bboying circle. My songs – Cyphers Is Where Hip Hop Grows and Where Your Crew? are some of the most well knows songs in the bboying community even today. So that’s how I became a stage rapper. My journey is very different from most rappers who only get onto the stage representing only rap. For someone like me. it was for all elements.

How do you feel to be counted in the list of first-generation Emcees?

It boggles me at times because hip hop was something we never thought would explode at this scale. I was doing rap very seriously since the beginning and without realising would sharpen my skill daily be it writing, vocal training, music knowledge, freestyles etc. A handful of underground rappers in a country of a billion people worked a bit too much to make it a movement.

What are the five authentic elements of hip hop according to you?

I have always been fascinated by the hip hop culture as a whole. I first got into rap, then bboying, then got into different methods of rap like freestyling and battling. I also hung out with a lot of graffiti artists and represented HipHop DJs as a rapper/Emcee at prime events like DMC DJ Championships and IDA Championships. Other than this, hip hop has always pushed me to learn more in other fields like design and film making and that’s where the fifth element of hip hop i.e. knowledge comes into play. So Emceeing/Rap, Breaking/Bboying, Graffiti, Turntablism/Djing, and Knowledge have been an integral part of my life. But now HipHop is a lifestyle for me and I end up using the same mindset in everything be it personal life, health, etc.

Freestyle, rap battles, and the latest song, Lat on addictions, you have voiced and incorporated different areas. How do you choose them? Are they inspired by your real life?