The History of Nephop
NEPHOP (Nepali Hip-hop) is the form of musical expression and artistic culture that is performed by an individual or group with Nepali heritage, whether it be MCing (in either or both, English or Nepali language), DJing, Producing and other elements related to Hip-hop. DJ AJ has been credited with coining the term "nephop" in 2003, thus leading to the creation of the now defunct Nephop website - an online forum for Nepali Hip-hop fans to connect and collaborate.
Nephop.net was created in January 2011 to be the focal point of Nepali urban news, music, photos and videos whilst preserving the Nephop culture. As a new generation of Hip-hop lovers with Nepali roots begins to showcase their talent and skills, the site aims to provide a marketing platform for each one to reach their dream.
Birth of NepHop
When Hip-hop music went main stream in the 90s with the likes of Eminem, Nelly and Outkast, Nepal was still opening its doors to the outside world. With television limited to working class households and Internet an unheard of term, radio (playing Nepali Folk/Pop and English Rock music) was the only digital media providing entertainment for the masses. This period also saw a number of Nepalis moving overseas, their children either born or raised away from their motherland mainly due to the Jana Andolan and the Maoist's Civil War. Fast forward to the early 2000s, these children raised abroad had grown up to the sounds of Hip-hop music in a dot com generation and used the Internet to collaborate and express their talent with families and friends. The likes of Aroz, Cyclops, Original Siniz, Merricks, SINIS, Politics Uncle and many more were all part of an online forum. Nepali Hip-hop-Nephop was born.
Commercial Nephop: The Remix Era
Before commercial Hip-hop had reached the youths of Nepal via music channels and the Internet, Rappaz Union (Nirnaya Da' NSK, Caoz Capone and Sammy) and GP (DJ Girish and Pranil) had already begun releasing underground rap records amongst peers. This prompted many to follow before unsigned artists began to have their music distributed by major labels at the turn of the century. The likes of Mad Zone, Nepsydaz, Nirnaya Da' NSK, Shreeking and The Unity released rap albums in a mixture of both English and Nepali, topping the charts. However, by the mid-2000s when the likes of DJ Santosh and DJ Raju began remixing old skool Nepali hits, creating sounds that appealed to the general public. Artists would then use the term Nephop to define this new wave of sound, incorporating rapping to appeal to the younger generations.
New Skool Nephop
With the underground scene dying and the remix scene played out, Nephop music needed something to revitalize it. And in early 2010 UK artist Mr. K.C hosted an online Nephop tournament on YouTube with Judges DJ AJ, rapper Sash and music producer MK. Not only were the responses overwhelming, but it help set a platform for new artists such as Dox, Mastermind, Mc Flo, Mr.TMG, Shatter-P and many more. Towards the end of the year the Battle Blast competition was hosted in Kathmandu with AidRay from The Unity, Duke, Loorey from Nepsydaz and former Rappaz Union members Nirnaya Da NSK and Sammy on the panel. Dougie was eventually crowned the champion but the real winner in the end was Nephop music itself as the likes of Yama Buddha, GXSOUL and Rap Connect lead the pack with thousands of fans, followers and subscribers across different social platforms.
Loorey the heavy weight
The hip-hop scene in Nepal is on the rise. New artists are emerging and enjoying mild success. But the undisputed heavyweight Manas Ghale aka Loorey is in a league of his own.
With a career spanning more than ten years, Ghale and his band Nepsydaz have achieved the kind of fame and success that few in Nepal's entertainment industry experience.
Nepsydaz members were the vanguards of the hip-hop revolution in Nepal in the early 2000's. They won coveted awards like Image FM's 'best song by a group or duo' and Kantipur FM's 'most played band'. Their song 'Chudaina' became an instant household tune, with youngsters listening, whistling and dancing to the addictive beats.
Even outside the band, Ghale's career as a solo artist is thriving. At 27, he says if he wasn't a musician he would be a chef or a computer geek. Known for his professionalism, he admits he made mistakes during his younger days, for instance when he screamed "F you" at the crowd.
Loorey is happy to see hip-hop's progress in the past decade. "Different forms of hip-hop like b-boying, rap, graffiti and DJ-ing are flourishing, the artists are bettering their skills and their Youtube hits have soared. But there is still a lot of room for improvement," he says.
With a good stock of young, up-coming artists, Loorey believes that Yama Buddha, Unik Poet and MC Flo are going to be the leaders of Nepal's hip-hop scene. Ghale advises young artists to be patient and keep their passions alive, because they can't get ahead in their careers or lives without these qualities.
If given an opportunity, Ghale says he would like to collaborate with Tupac Shakur. We believe their song would be an overnight hit, with more than a million hits on Youtube and turn into a Platinum record. Although a 'Loorey feat Tupac' song is not possible in this lifetime, his fans have reason to rejoice since his solo album is releasing very soon. Here's wishing the hip-hop king a record-smashing album.