The most respected, the most consistent rapper in the game. Representing KTM city and Nephop to the fullest.
Back strong in the mainstream after a 7 year long underground journey...'naImean ?
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Underground Mc Flo
Mainstream MC Flo
Rapper MC Flo has remained true to his art so far, winning over a lot of conscientious fans, but he’s thinking of going mainstream because that’s the only way he can get his music to the masses
MC Flo raps of the real life. Mero Guitar for example is an ode to a beat-up guitar that the artist played, sang his heart out with and eventually sold. I think we can all relate to this. Everybody has that one thing that is much cherished but yet is given up for whatever reason. The separation brings to light its importance. Of course, the song does lack that G factor, but why can’t an emcee rap about his guitar?
Anurag Sharma aka MC Flo has been recording rap on his Rs 300 headset since 2009 and uploading tracks on to the Internet ever since. One of his songs, Maile Hasna Siken, which he uploaded on YouTube two years ago, has more than a hundred thousand views, if you don’t count the hits on the re-uploads by fans. It has also been covered by many on the video-sharing site. So even though the artiste’s name is not as much a constant as Yama Buddha’s or Manas Ghale’s in the local media, he has managed to grow into a legend of sorts, even having his own fan pages on social networking sites.
Flo—who has been writing poetry since he was in school—started listening to hip-hop when in high school, taking inspiration primarily from Eminem. Along the way, he realised that gangster lyrics
were not for him so he moved on to experimenting with more conscious wordplay. “The gangster stuff is quite irrelevant for a person like me, especially in Nepal,” says Flo.
When the emcee started half a decade ago, he was downloading free tracks off the Internet and overdubbing his lyrics onto them. “I start out by listening to the track first and during the process, a concept develops. It takes about an hour or two to get done with the lyrics, and I start recording as soon as it’s done,” says the rapper. The uploads that he makes public are raw, almost always featuring the hissing noise of the microphone. Very independent. Very underground. The content of Flo’s lyrics and the way he delivers the rhymes, however, make up for the unprocessed quality of the tracks. Without the help of a high-end studio or state-of-the-art equipment and experienced technicians, MC Flo, the one-man wrecking crew, soldiers on alone: doing everything from pre to post-production—even laying down the samples for his tracks and editing them—and getting the music out there himself. Whatever technical limitations listeners can discern are more than compensated for by his delivery. His sound is reminiscent of the raw sound of hip-hop when it was old school.
The primary reason that Flo’s lyrics sound so genuine is that they arerooted in Nepal-specific social realism. There are no descriptions of larger-than-life parties or drive-bys. There’s no attempt at portraying the ‘thug life’ in any way. Aamaa Ma, for example, is a list of complaints from a son to his mother. The son is sick and tired of the situation in his home, which works as a metaphor for the country itself. The words are blunt and the emcee has no intention of filtering anything. It’s the honesty in the lyrics, that makes it so effective and the best part of it is the positive note the song ends with.
Despite the social condition the rapper makes evident in the song, he has tagged along a disclaimer with it that says that he is not trying to impart a message of any sort. He says, “I just make music for the sole reason of self-expression. Reformation is not the artistes’ responsibility; the people who work for the system should do it.” Although Flo claims to make art for himself, his songs bear an undeniable stamp of conscious hip-hop—music that calls for change.
Ma is another song that is largely based on Nepali society and its situation. In this, Flo is the voice of all that is wrong. Actually, Flo is the voice of the country itself, with all its problems. The track is divided into two sections; in the first one, he pours out all the negativity in Nepali, and right after the two-and-a-half minute mark, he switches to English and moves onto rapping about wanting to do good. But the best part of the song is the fact that Flo makes use of very local references in his lyrics—from pothole-infested roads to the well-behaved statues smeared with bird droppings—all of which make the piece relatable and Nepal-specific.
It’s not just his songs that refrain from embodying the basic mainstream attitude; his videos have been made in the same vein. Some of them, like the 2012 release Lay it Down, for example, feature a series of graphic illustrations created by the artiste himself. There is one illustration for each couplet the rapper delivers, relevant to the rhyme that it is synced with. For a change, it’s great to see videos that actually have more substance than HD-camera shot videos that feature the usual shiny cars, high-tops, swimming pools and ‘swag’-possessed youngsters. What’s more, Flo wins with his sense of humour.
MC Flo has been underground for quite a long time now, but in 2014, he signed up to host the Raw Barz rap battle event and featured in a couple of shows. He also released a track titled Darth Vader earlier that year, and in it he revealed that he was planning on going mainstream. “I am planning on releasing a music video this December and will be working to produce an album in 2015,” says Flo.
Some of his fans might frown upon finding out that an artiste who has been in the shadows for so long, doing what he loves to do, wants to switch tack. A large part of becoming a mainstream artiste is about catering to the audience, and for somebody who creates to express, the switch can be viewed by some as a selling out. But true to character, he’s brutally honest about why he wants to change. “I want to be popular, and I’m ready to put on the bling-bling and all if I have to,” he says. “Besides portraying oneself that way is also a creative asset.” It’s not all that out of the ordinary for an artiste to want to become popular, especially in a country where the hip-hop scene is so small and even the most popular players in the game aren’t making much off it anyway. Nep-hop, like any other genre, needs more material out there in order for it to become a legitimate part of the Nepali musicscape. And in Flo’s case, who’s been the real deal so far, we’ll just have to see how the crossing over works out for him. He says, “I want to go mainstream because I want to get my music out there.” And up to now he has a lot song on mainstream collecting thousands of fans.