YouTube Music head Lyor Cohen was recently in Mumbai, and as someone who has worked with rap artistes for over 30 years, a trip to The After School of Hip Hop in the heart of Dharavi in Mumbai was top-most on his agenda.
Even as the Google-owned music streaming platform hit three million downloads in the first week since its launch in India, Cohen spoke about the emergence of rap music in Mumbai’s slums, significance of Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy and T-series leading the way on YouTube.
Talking about where he places Indian rap artistes vis a vis the international scene, Cohen said:
"“The moment that they liberate themselves from paying respects to the origins of rap music in New York City and say you have to say excuse me, f*** New York. We appreciate the fact that rap came from there but we are going to make it ours. We are going to own it and create our own experiences, is the moment at it explodes.” " - Lyor Cohen, Head of YouTube Music
On an Indian company like T-series being the most subscribed channel on YouTube, he said:
"“I think T-Series is a great company - smart and effective. I believe they have a YouTube first approach and obviously it’s been paying off. We’re working for the Indian music industry and building a healthier and more sustainable business.”" - Lyor Cohen
On Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, which revolves around emergence of rap in Mumbai’s slums, he said:
"“I didn’t see ‘Gully Boy’ in its totality but I saw the trailer, and it was very fascinating for me. Even though I have been working in rap music and rap music has much to with struggle of everyday life. I have never seen struggle in this context.”" - Lyor Cohen
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