The School Dropout-turned-Rapstar

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Delhi based rapper Prabhdeep has made quite a mark in Indian hip-hop. This is Prabhdeep's story of his time as a student and its impact on his music.

Somewhere towards end of March, Bira was holding a massive comedy and music showcase, featuring a vibrant roster of Delhi’s hip-hop. The main attraction was Punjabi-Hindi rapper Prabhdeep.

While Prabhdeep has rocked the mic before with his classic (or ‘class-Sikh’ in his words) songs, this concert was different. Firstly, Prabh debuted The One-Eight Project, his group representing his district in the city. Second, this was the first time his parents witnessed their son live on stage.

Prabhdeep (centre) debuting the One Eight Project, with Lit Happu (left) and MC Kode (right). Image Credits- BIRA

For conventional society, Prabhdeep would not be categorised as a good kid. He dropped out of school, and chose to live a life writing and performing explicit raps.

‘I started hustling to earn a little here and there. I wanted to get away from this f***all education system.’ Prabhdeep told us while reminiscing about his teen years. Elaborating on this hustling, he added, ‘Hustle is when you just go out and try to make money out of anything. I’m not talking about bad shit. I never sold drugs. I never murdered anyone.’ He smirked. ‘My hustle was different. I made money out of the legal shit.’

On many of his songs, he has expressed his distaste of the education system. It was maybe this boldness and perseverance that brought him to the spotlight. As he rapped that night, the ground shook with the audience jumping. Behind this audience, an old Sikh couple were patiently viewing the show.

After Prabhdeep’s set ended, the parents grew teary eyed. This was no cliched emotional Bollywood movie, this was happening in real. ‘When we came to know our son wants to do this, we felt happy. I felt that whatever he does, he will get kamayabi.’ Prabh’s father remarked. ‘…and now he has got his kamayabi.

"Suno Suno aaya Prabhdeep, leke aya matlab de sangeet."

Parents are stereotyped as cautious guardians, expecting kids to follow their professional advice and dismiss their artistic dreams. So, Prabhdeep’s story comes as a breath of fresh air.

His mother also spoke about how her family questioned her son’s line of work. She added, ‘Now, I’m thankful that I don’t need to answer them as he has achieved this success, and I pray to God that he reaches new heights.’

It’s a fact that this rapper’s neighbourhood Tilak Nagar is a grim world. In previous interviews, Prabhdeep has stated how it is usual to find drugged kids and gunshots in ‘Delhi-18’ (the pin code of Tilak Nagar ends at 18). If Prabh could survive in this ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ and represent his ‘hood’ on stage, along with other native artists like producer Sez on the Beat, he definitely serves as an inspiration for a new generation of musicians.

Shaurya Singh Thapa