One of the most fascinating and rapidly growing music cultures in the world is hip-hop. Hip-hop culture quickly gained popularity around the world and even made it to India. It has become a popular genre in India, especially amongst youth. Thanks to social media, budding artists have a platform to showcase their talent and attract the right audience. One such budding artist, Jay Kila is making inroads into the Indian rap scene.

Jay Kila, aka Young Bollywood, is an international hip-hop artist based in Mumbai, India. Originally from NYC, his music is a fusion of Indo-Western vibes with sharp lyricism and heavy beats guaranteed to get a party started. He has toured the East Coast of America, performed in France, and opened for Wu-Tang Clan. We picked his brain to know how he keeps it fresh in the hip-hop scene.

What is rap for you?

Rap for me is creative expression. It’s an addiction, a challenge, a puzzle waiting to be solved. It’s also a lovely form of music

Rap in one word is….

LIFE

Most underrated rappers in the country right now?

Besides myself, I’d say there are a lot of underrated artists like Yeda Anna in Mumbai, Khullar G from Delhi, and Dhanji from Gujarat – for female MCs, Irfana, and Reble are both super dope.

When did you start getting into rap?

I started listening to rap way back in middle school, but it wasn’t until college that I started writing and making rap. After I got an Apple laptop for the first time and could use GarageBand.

What kind of music or songs shape you as an artist?

I used to be big into alt and punk rock. Bands like blink182, and Green Day, had a big influence on me. Then in terms of hip-hop artists, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Lil Wayne were my three biggest inspirations. The Slim Shady LP is one of my favorite albums of all time.

What kind of themes you do explore in your music?

The themes in my music are usually partying, Mumbai, activities I do, and motivation. I like to make music that makes people feel good while staying true to myself.

People have a stereotypical image of rap music being associated with money or showing off. What do you think about that?

I think all the stereotypical images of rap are played out at this point. Flexing is cool but it’s also getting old. I view rap as having a conversation with the artist, so for me, it’s like I don’t wanna hear people just brag about themselves all the time (just like I wouldn’t want to IRL) unless it’s done in a fun way.

How do you keep your music fresh?

I keep my music fresh by looking for new sounds and song ideas. Always asking myself how I can improve. Also, by looking for new experiences in real life and paying attention to how they impact me.

Who would you want to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with artists from other genres like OAFF Music, Kayan, Sukriti Prakriti, and Ritviz.

What is that one piece of advice you would like to share with the readers?

Everything great takes time, so patience is key.

Jay Kila is also a pioneer in the Web 3 space – his latest project OTP India is a collection of hip-hop NFT trading cards designed to empower Indian hip-hop artists. Hip-hop will continue to develop in India as new, talented rappers get recognition. For both the artists and the audience, the future of Indian hip-hop is quite promising.