Born in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, Rocky Gorkhali who calls Kalimpong/Darjeeling as his home; grew up as a sincere cricketer but his interests changed gears after he lost his beloved coach to cancer.
HIP HOP TO THE RESCUE
He was introduced to hip hop through music videos, movies, and GTA (a popular desktop game) but it was his brother who actually got him hooked on the music. ‘My brother would play Eminem’s ‘Lose yourself’ and 50 Cent’s ‘Window shopper’ all day, I memorised and imitated both the tracks and this had my brother stunned. Later, he motivated me to write my own stuff and that is how I started. I started up with my stage name as Straight Homie and used to call my brother as Hawtt Dawgg.’
Rocky wrote his first song ‘Desi Wassup’ at the age of 13 with the help of his brother.
PAYING THE BILLS
‘I shifted to Pune in 2010 and have been living on my own since then.’ He works as a graphic/visual artist and social media manager for a water park which takes care of his rent and bills. ‘Before this, I was switching jobs and was hustling on the low.’
THE ONE MAN ARMY
Rocky spent his childhood surrounded by mining areas and cement factories. His shift to Pune taught him to live his own way. ‘Cinematographers would always approach me and being the broke kid I am, I took the responsibilities of video production on my head.’ He started learning how to shoot and edit videos, use VFX and animation. ‘I didn’t want to spend bread in the studio so I got my hands on studio equipment and started recording and engineering my own tracks. It was always hard for me to find the right beat so I started producing my own beats too. I even design graphics and cover art for my songs. I am literally a one-man-army that is why they call me GORKHALI SOULJA! Bhavishyakaal was one of my first visuals that I shot and edited by myself.’
Lately he has been working with Kalimpong producer, Lanee Tunes. ‘He stacks me up with a whole lot of beats and there are so many records pending.’ His upcoming project called PAHARI KHOON has been entirely produced by producer Lanee Tunes aka Punu Rai. ‘I know he is perfect for what I’m trying to execute, it is going to be one of my realest pieces. Follow my IG @rockygorkhali to check it out.
We ask him a few questions about his future plans, #BONE and the Indian hip hop scene.
Your top five rappers of all time?
We have living legend Black Thought Off The Roots. People are too slow to understand that man. He is the best rapper of all time. But, out of the regular artistes, my five favourites of all time are 50 Cent, Eminem, Yelawolf, NAS and Mike Shinoda. I learnt a lot from these artistes and grew up on them.
What is your opinion on the current Indian hip hop scene?
It’s taking over every city but I also want Northeast Hip Hop to blow up because it’s been around for a long time. There are only a few artistes who deserve to be in the game, rest is just scam. Also, the audience is maturing over time. I’m telling you, it’s like the 90s of America right now, we still behind. We need to level up faster than other countries and I feel Indian hip hop can dominate the game because we got so many different instruments, sounds and languages.
What are your future plans as an artiste?
I have a plan to bridge the whole culture through my initiative known as #BONE, which stands for Blood of North East showcasing personalities who were infamous and worthy. I won’t say much about it because people are too quick to steal ideas these days.
What will be your message to the people who are reading this?
I represent the ones who have hunger for more and believe in achieving goals independently. I think I am the one who can set an example for people who are discriminated, underestimated and judged by the society. I will always be proud representing the Northeast and the Gorkhalis worldwide.
Youtube: ROCKY GORKHALI
By Mrinal Paul