How Indian rap royalty found a new home on reality TV: MC Stan wins Bigg Boss

DJ Stan

A 23-year-old rapper from India's slums who won one of the most well-liked reality competitions has gained widespread attention.

MC Stan, who hails from the western state of Maharashtra, was previously only well-known to hip-hop and rap fans who admired his brash rhymes and unapologetic mannerisms.

But since he appeared on the most recent season of Bigg Boss, the Indian equivalent of UK's Big Brother, his fanbase has grown by millions. His name has been trending on social media since Sunday when the show's host, actor Salman Khan, declared him the winner.

Fans have hailed Stan as the "saviour of hip-hop" in India, and viewers have gushed about his "raw and real personality.". Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh and singer Honey Singh, who dubbed Stan the "Indian Lil Wayne," are among the new fans of his music.

Stan had caused controversy long before he entered the Bigg Boss house, like many other rappers. He has come under fire for using sexually explicit and abusive lyrics, disrespecting women, and using his music to launch obscene attacks on his rivals. His former girlfriend reported him to the police last year, accusing him of assault. Despite the police's investigation into the complaint, no arrests were made.

Although the rapper hasn't publicly addressed the allegations, he did claim in October that he took part in Bigg Boss in order to "change the perception people have of me.".

However, according to his ardent supporters, the rapper's aggressive style is a part of the unique socio-political grammar of hip-hop, which captures the anxieties of people who grew up without privilege.

At the age of 12, Stan, whose real name is Altaf Tadavi, started performing in front of crowds. His family has not been extensively discussed, but his humble upbringing in a Pune city slum has played a significant role in his writing.

In an interview with Platform magazine, he said, "I feel like I am a hood baby [someone who grew up on the streets]" who saw "a lot of criminal activity and did not lead a very privileged life.".

Stan claims that qawwali, a style of Sufi devotional singing that has similarities to gospel jazz, provided him with a unique framework for understanding music as he was growing up. He told Platform that "Qawwali talks about stuff that wakes you up, and I related to that a lot.".

Prior to his time on Bigg Boss, Stan rarely participated in media interviews. According to him, his brother first introduced him to rap greats like Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and Eminem when he was a senior in high school. Stan was moved by their music, and he spent hours learning about them and listening to their work in seedy cyber cafes.

He made the decision to try it himself two years later. He started by posting his rap videos on WhatsApp and sharing them with his WhatsApp contacts. He started a YouTube channel after becoming well-known, and it now has more than six million subscribers. He also started to take his art more seriously after this.

His songs developed a sharper political edge (and more abusive lyrics), and the videos became highly stylized. Although the visuals, which included jerky jump cuts and flashy neon sets, may have appeared amateurish to some, his expression was genuine.

Stan also developed into an unexpected fashion diva. The rapper has brought hip-hop fashion closer to Indians with his funky hair extensions, pastel-punk dreadlocks, a map of tattoos, and diamond chains peeking out from under his clothes.

MC Stan
Fans adore Stan's edgy rhymes and sense of style.

Stan described learning to rap as being as accidental as learning about hip-hop: "It was like I was some alien who has come from outer space with some new stuff to show to the people who live here.".

Khuja Mat (Don't Mess With Me), which he wrote in 2019, was his big break. Millions of people viewed the diss track on YouTube, which was created in retaliation for criticism from another rapper. .

What impressed Dustin Yarde, a listener who learned about the artist through the song, was "his flow and ability to incorporate absolute nonsense into his lyrics and still sound catchy.".

Stan has had a number of hit songs since the release of Khuja Mat, particularly in his 2020 album Tadipaar. The album, which bears the name of the slum where Stan was raised, offers scathing commentary on surviving in dangerous neighborhoods as Stan describes his life in "P-town," or Pune. The young slum boy who wrote his own destiny is roughly how he identified himself as Basti ka Hasti.

He sneers in the song Amin, "Tune subhe uthke sun dekha, mene subhe uthke gun dekha (You woke up to sunshine, I woke up to guns and violence)".

According to fans, Stan has always been interested in using music to define his own identity.

He had a song from his early career called "Astaghfirullah" in which he discusses his Muslim identity and how he is viewed as a rapper in his community, according to Mr. Yarde.

Some claim that Stan is the inventor of mumble rap in India, a loosely defined subgenre of rap in which the singer mumbles rhymes without putting much emphasis on lyricism. According to Canadian fan Aziz Malik, "His songs are honest conversations that, when wrapped over a blown-out icy beat, sound dangerously revelatory.".

However, Mr. Yarde claims that he did not like a lot of Stan's most recent songs because "it seems like he uses homophobic and sexist content as expressions of victory and power.".

But I always believed he had the potential to succeed. I'm anticipating the development of his lyrics. ".

The rapper has written several songs about police brutality and claims to have served time in prison. Stan discusses how he was falsely accused of killing someone in the song Section 307, which is the section of the Indian Penal Code that deals with murder.

But for his followers, each song is a step in their own personal evolution. The subtext is the conflict between who he was and who he became. His music serves as a reminder that, despite the difficulties in his life, he overcame them on his own, according to Mr. Malik.

MC Stan with Salman Khan
Salman Khan, a superstar, hosts Bigg Boss, which is incredibly well-liked in India.

Stan brought his interpersonal skills with him when he joined Bigg Boss.

His charisma, tough talk, and unpolished talent won over both fans and competitors. His snappy one-liners, including "Shemdi," "appreciate you," "Haq se," and "feel you bro," went viral and became part of everyday speech.

The way he adapted to the opulent sets without losing sight of his roots also caught the attention of the viewers. Additionally, fans would post on social media for days whenever he performed during the show, including an impromptu rap performance while breathing helium from a balloon. For them, Stan had accomplished the seemingly insurmountable feat of bringing rap, which was on the periphery of Indian music, into the mainstream.

Stan wrote on social media after winning, "We made history, stayed authentic throughout, and rapped hip-hop on national TV.". "My mother's dream has come true," the speaker declares.

. "

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