Chat Look who hopped on board Chennai Express! Give a shout out to Bangalore boys Brodha V and Smokey who’ve added their lyrics, voices, and attitude to the song Ready Steady Po, says BHUMIKA K.

They are Machas With Attitude (MWA) alright! All of 23, they are still fresh from the experience of rubbing shoulders with Bollywood badshah Shah Rukh Khan, and explaining to him what ‘machas’ are, telling him the meaning of Tamil words in their rap song, and hear him talk of his memories of Bangalore’s Nandidurg Road.

Bangalore boys Vighnesh (Brodha V) and Sumukh (Smokey), who form the team of MWA, a rap/hip hop/trip hop group, have given Bollywood a taste of rap in tappanguchi —“local street dance beats” — and are making the taunt ‘aita lakadi’ a catchy phrase in the Chennai Express song ‘Ready Steady Po’.

“This song doesn’t come in the movie. But it’s being played with the trailer as it’s based on the film’s tagline, and is quite a hit on YouTube,” says Vighnesh, a professional music producer. “But through this song we have introduced Indian hip hop to the audience. It’s not just using words like ‘yo’ and ‘yeah’ to make it hip hop…this is real Indian,” adds Sumukh, who, in his other life is a scientist researching protein biology at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)! “Hip hop is a science,” he grins, and makes the connect.

They landed in Mumbai because they were nominees for a radio channel’s music awards. They had been wanting to meet Bollywood’s music duo Vishal-Shekhar all along, and providence would have Vishal handing over the best hip hop artist award on stage to them, and inviting them over to the studio the next day. “Yeah! It was as easy as that!” grins Sumukh.

Of course they had earlier worked with Raghu Dixit, doing the rap bits for a song ‘Dheaon Dheaon’ that also had Vishal Dadlani singing, in the film Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge. “Yeah, so Vishal called us to the studio at noon, gave us a sample of the beats, gave us complete creative freedom, and said he wanted a sample by five in the evening because Shah Rukh Khan was coming to the studio! It was only then we knew we were composing for Chennai Express,” says Vighnesh. Their brief was to make the song hot. “Till then we didn’t even know SRK was real,” kids Vighnesh. “Yeah the wax figure came to life,” adds Sumukh with a grin. “There was this connection between SRK, and Vishal, and us…so we wrote the lyrics in the studio and recorded the song, all in a day.”

They describe their music as “kickass, if you can print that!” offers Vighnesh; “it’s local, tappanguch, it’s love,” adds Sumukh. “We have incorporated mantras, sitars, morsing... Our music is to entertain, have fun.” The group’s name has helped them make that south Indian connect very clear, and brought them a curious audience. They’ve done more than 60 singles to date, and most have been released online, on YouTube and facebook. People in Bangalore have misunderstood hip hop for a long time, says Sumukh. “The general public is getting more aware of the hip hop scene after Bohemia, Honey Singh, and Eminem,” adds Vighnesh.

The duo has been working together now for six years. Though both of them are from Bishop Cottons Boys’ School, they never knew each other in school! “We met up online later in Orkut... we were initially a three-member group that never met, but composed together online for about one-and-half years!” says Vighnesh. Their music got them serious enquiries to perform and so came a series of live shows in cafes, colleges, malls.

They have composed music, mostly background music scores, for over 30 films, many in Tamil, some in Malayalam too. They have also done promotional songs like the one they did for the Namma Chennai album to celebrate Madras Day. “But we are focussing on English... that way we can go abroad as rappers too.”

The Machas don’t think Bangalore has a hot music scene anymore. “Till about 2009 you could call Bangalore the rock capital of India. But now, where does a musician go? Where does he perform live? A venue like Palace Grounds is no longer available for concerts. When the night life was cut down in the city, most DJs moved out of Bangalore. There’s no money here for music,” they both pipe in, in turns.

MWA is working on their debut album which features “big names” like Flipside and Raghu Dixit, among others, they promise.

You can find MWA on facebook.com/MachasWithAttitude