Being an independent artist for over three decades, Baba Sehgal made rapping cool in India even before hip hop/rap emerged as a subculture. From being attached to independent music labels, producing videos, now the rapper has dedicated social media followers.

In an email interview with Anupam Chakravartty, Baba shares his excitement with EastMojo about his performance in Ziro Festival of Music.  

You were in the forefront of the Indipop movement. Millennials like us grew up with your music. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you reminisce about the Indipop days of the mid to late 90s. How has rap/hip-hop changed in recent times for you?

I consider myself a true indipop artist who has managed to survive for more than 3 decades and am truly grateful to all my fans who have been with me all along. It’s because of God’s blessing and fan love that I have managed to reach so far. The 90s were an ‘experiment’ era for Magnasound (the only independent music label then) and for artists like us.

Trying rap was an experiment, of course, which truly paid off not for me but even for Magnasound. I really don’t endorse Bollywood kind of Rap but there are a few independent solo Rap artists who are doing extremely well. Others are just copying and following the same pattern with no originality.

Baba Sehgal

Also read | Photos: Memories from Ziro Festival of Music

Is this your first visit to Northeast India? Are you familiar with any rappers/hip-hop artists from the region? What are your first thoughts when you think of Northeast India? 

Yeah, this is my first time at the Ziro festival but I have performed earlier in Guwahati and Gangtok in the initial stage of my career. But, honestly speaking, I am not at all familiar with singers/rappers from there. I believe there is huge potential and talent out there which needs to explode.

Your online fan base increased phenomenally in the last couple of years. I am personally a big fan of your videos too, especially surreal/psychedelic backgrounds. Now we see you more in the reel format, which is like a quickie and equally fascinating. So, did the formats of your video change as you moved online, to ‘reels’ space? Or is this work of your online fanbase? 

I keep myself active on social media and yes have a decent fan following. I remember doing my first digital song Going to the Gym in 2015 and releasing it on YouTube. It went completely viral and then there was no looking back, followed by Chicken Fried Rice, Aloo ka Paratha, Rihanna o Rihanna, Mere Rashke Qamar (cover), Why Am I So Sexy etc. and the few recent ones like Kela Khao, Biryani, Namaste, Bindaas Bolo, Gaane mein Tel daalo, Date par chalegi kya.

How was COVID 19 lockdown for you? What kept you busy?

During COVID times, I did a lot of new songs and brand endorsements and online live gigs. God has been kind to me.

Baba Sehgal will be performing at 8:00 PM on September 30 at the Simba Uproar Pwlo Stage, Ziro Festival of Music, Arunachal Pradesh.   

Also read | Ziro Festival: The cauldron of music that is northeast India

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