Hip-hop duo Music

Meet Hyderabad rappers Ahsaas and MJ Robb

Hip-hop duo Ahsaas and MJ Robb   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It has been eight years since Mohd Altaf Hussain and Md Salman Ali Khan, two former laundromat employees discovered a common love for hip-hop beats. Little did the friends realise that in the years to follow, they would be able to work and also make time for their passion. Meet the Hyderabadi hip-hop duo Ahsaas (Altaf) and MJ Robb (Salman) who rap on the Hyderabadi culture and lifestyle. “The songs represent where we are from and are an ode to the Purana Sheher (Old City) of Hyderabad,” say the duo.

Debut track

Screenshot from the ‘Marfa Baja Be’ song

Screenshot from the ‘Marfa Baja Be’ song   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

While their debut track ‘Awaara’ (2015) was about love and longing, the next single ‘Marfa Baja Be’ featured the foot-tapping Marfa beats played at Hyderabadi weddings. So far, the duo have released eight songs on the Hyderabadi way of life and traits. Ahsaas (Altaf) works for Gemini Consulting & Services while Robb (Salman) is an employee of Sawera Township. Says Rob, “Money saved after the household expenses is used to make songs. We record songs after work and use our weekly offs to shoot videos and write lyrics.”

The duo collaborate to weave fragments of daily conversations and write songs inspired by their social milieu. “We do not have time to make music so we give the words to hip-hop music producers who compose the music,” says Ahsaas. There’s palpable excitement in his voice as he talks about their new single ‘Purana Sheher’. Delhi-based Jaysan (Sanjay Mathpal) is the beat producer for this energetic number. Shot in and around Hyderabad, the song is close to their hearts. Some of its lines include: Sultanat Nizami Mir Osman Ali Khan Ki Tu Sunaa Kya Kahaani? Toh Sun, Aake Dekh Aake Dekh Mera Purana Sheher mera India Mein No. 1 Hyderabad Sheher Mera, Dekh Zara Dekh.

Pride of Hyderabad

Hyderabad has been an inspiration for song writers but very few focus on the city’s purana sheher (Old City). We rap on its old-world charm and nawabi attitude and its engaging energy. Most of the people here are night birds and do not sleep till 3 am; they are satisfied with the simple things in life. Khatti dal taleva khaake zindagi mast hai (Sour dal and mutton fry will make them happy),” shares Ahsaas.

The duo admit their initial videos lacked the stylish flair the hip-hop genre lends to their current release. ”Style and attitude came from experience,” says Ahsaas. Adds Robb, “Our first song won’t be as good as the recent release. It took time to understand what sound suits our style and figure out how to create our own rap style.” Initially they couldn’t engage video editors and managed on their own but now they have a team — Ameer Zaheer and Md. Omer to shoot and edit their videos.

The duo hope to make their voices heard across digital platforms. “Desi hip hop peaked with the Gully Boy film and created more listeners for rap music. One of the lines in Purana Sheher says, ‘Mere Hyderabadi slang, flow ke toh hai, worldwide bandiyan diwaani’ . We hope to entertain and spread Deccani culture and lingo through our songs,” they sign off.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 11:46:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/hyderabads-rappers-ahsaas-and-mj-robbs-new-single-purana-sheher-is-an-ode-to-the-pride-of-hyderabad/article32384501.ece

Next Story