Published: 12th August 2019
From text rap battles to films and albums, Namma Bengaluru's Gubbi is the perfect Gully Boy
Gubbi is an expert in conscious rapping and he believes in writing lyrics based on his experiences as well as about some serious issues that he sees around him every day
When Karthik Sundar Gubbi started rapping in 2006, his parents questioned how rapping would help him in the future. They probably never thought that their son would make a name for himself in this field and become a role model to many other rap-loving youngsters. But that's exactly what happened. Gubbi started his journey with rap text battles in English where he was part of several groups on social media. "There were several groups on Orkut where I used to participate in rap text battles. As the platform closed permanently, I moved to rapping. My career started with rapping in English, but a friend of mine introduced me to the trend of rapping in regional languages like Tamil and Punjabi. Although he did say that it might not work well in Kannada. I took it as a challenge and started rapping in Kannada in 2009 and now, I'm more comfortable with it," says Gubbi.
Gubbi is an expert in conscious rapping and he believes in writing lyrics based on his experiences as well as about some serious issues that he sees around him every day. In June 2019, he and his team released an album in Kannada titled Maya — it has garnered over 3,700 views on YouTube so far. "I got this project through a guitarist named Sanjeev Thomas. This album is about the life of a transgender and it highlights the serious issues that any transgender goes through in their daily lives. I think this has been one of the most serious albums that is close to my heart because I interacted with transgenders to understand what they go through both physically and mentally, " explains Gubbi, who once worked as an automobile designer for Mercedes Benz.
Rap star: Gubbi's latest project was rapping for the dubbed version of a Telugu movie called Dear Comrade
Having rapped for over nine Kannada movies like Plus, Titlu Beka and Malgudi Days, Gubbi feels that rapping in Kannada is quite a challenge for him. "It gets me out of my comfort zone to read more and write raps that are meaningful. I am good at rapping in English especially freestyle. Give me a word on the spot and I can rap right on. But whenever I rap in Kannada, I have a dictionary with me. That way I ensure that I don't give the wrong meaning to the rap. The vocabulary in regional languages is vast compared to any other language," smiles Gubbi, who raps in German too. While he was learning German, his teacher got to know that he's a rapper and encouraged him to rap in German too.
When asked what tips youngsters should follow to write good raps, he says, "One must be a good listener to become a good rapper. Youngsters these days must understand the history of rap music and how it has evolved over a period of time. One has to idolise a particular rapper and a few other famous rappers. That's when they will be able to create their own style in rapping. But it's a long process and doesn't happen overnight." Eminem and J Cole have been Gubbi's role models since the beginning of his career. While it was Eminem who inspired him to rap, J Cole helped him out of his writer's block. He's such a great fan of the rapper that he got J Cole's name tattooed on his right hand. "Whenever I hold a pen to write lyrics, I see this tattoo and it creates a spark in me," says Gubbi, who got the biggest break of his career when he was asked to rap for the Kannada version of the Telugu movie Dear Comrade.