INTERVIEW – Dee MC: « There is a larger side of India where women are still treated unequally »

You started performing when you were five. What was your first encounter with hip hop music?

I started training for Bharatanatyam (form of Indian classical dance) when I was 5. I started listening to hip hop music when I was in school, around the 8th grade.

You said that if you didn’t become a rapper you would have tried to be a professional B-girl. How important is dancing in your performances today?

As a rapper, dancing isn’t really important because not everyone can do it. But I have plans to incorporate both in my performances in the future.

What is the hip hop scene like in Mumbai? Are there many female rappers out there?

Mumbai hip hop scene is flourishing as we speak. The scene is definitely on the rise, but sadly there are very few female rappers in the country right now. Counting all the active femcees right now would be well below 15-20 girls.

Do you work with other artists/producers/or a label?

I work with independent artists as well as producers depending on the project. Most of the collaborations are with producers from different genres in India and few singers as well as rappers.

Which women inspire you?

Any woman who believes in herself and has a motto in life inspires me. We are all living with imaginary shackles on our feet and hands telling us that we cannot achieve anything because of our gender. Any woman strong enough to break these shackles is nothing but inspiring.

Your song « Deeva » talks about gender inequality and sexism. What do you think about women’s condition in India?

I think people fail to realize that there is a larger side of India where women are still treated unequally. Inequality is an understatement to express what really goes on in rural India. Definitely things need a lot of work, even in urban areas inequality and sexism exist indirectly if not out in the open.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why?

I do, simply because I refuse to accept stereotypes and image branding done by society in general. Especially in a country like India inequality starts at home most of the time (subjective). When we can’t get respect and appreciation at home, how can we expect to get it from society? Standing up for myself and the women in my life is in a way pro feminism to me.

What are you listening to these days?

I’m listening to Chiddy Bang, Jhene Aiko and Angel Haze these days.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’ll be working on my album this year and at the same time release individual music videos hopefully every month.

What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

I think it’s a wonderful thing that you are providing a platform for female artists like me from around the world. If you guys can arrange for international collaborations between female rappers that would be great!

Find Dee MC on Facebook and YouTube.

Éloïse Bouton

Lire l’interview en français ici.