Hip-Hop in Bangladesh: An Emerging Music Scene


Hip-hop in Bangladesh has been steadily gaining recognition and popularity since its emergence in the early 1990s. Influenced by American hip-hop culture, the genre has evolved into a unique and powerful form of musical expression within the country. Bangladeshi hip-hop artists use their lyrical talents to address issues such as politics, social problems, cultural identity, and Bangladesh’s diverse lifestyles and communities.

The genre’s roots can be traced back to the late 1970s in New York City, when hip hop emerged as an artistic medium combining elements of rapping, deejaying, breakdancing, and graffiti. Like its American counterpart, Bangladeshi hip-hop embodies this fusion of art, style, attitudes, and values. As a result, hip-hop has become an effective tool for activism and inspiring change within the country.

Today, many Bangladeshi rappers channel their creative energies into songs that tackle pressing social concerns and give voice to young people’s experiences and frustrations. Drawing inspiration from American rap legends like Tupac Shakur and Eminem, these artists craft a vibrant and distinct hip hop scene that reflects their unique local narratives while staying connected to the global hip-hop community.

History of Hip-Hop in Bangladesh

Early Influences

Hip-hop music in Bangladesh was initially inspired by American artists like Tupac Shakur and Eminem, who connected with the younger generation due to their raw lyrics and messages of resilience. The youth in Bangladesh started embracing this musical activism as a medium to express and address their societal issues.

The emergence of Deshi MCs

One of the first prominent Bangladeshi hip-hop crews was Stoic Bliss, formed in 2004. They consisted of eight members who shared a passion for rap music and used it to speak on the challenges facing the Bangladeshi people. As their popularity grew, more artists and groups emerged from the local scene, taking up the mantle of hip-hop activism.

In this new era of Bangladeshi hip-hop, Deshi MCs became a central figure. The group was formed in 2006 and quickly gained recognition with their debut album, “Banned.” Deshi MCs blended Bangladeshi folk music with modern hip-hop beats, creating a unique sound that captivated fans and critics alike. With tracks discussing political corruption, social inequality, and youth concerns, Deshi MCs helped to shape the direction of the growing hip-hop scene in Bangladesh.

Uptown Lokolz

Another influential hip-hop group in Bangladesh is Uptown Lokolz. They began as a small collective of passionate artists experimenting with the genre, but their potential was clear. Uptown Lokolz released its debut album, “Kaium E Sultan’z,” in 2008, boasting a dynamic blend of hard-hitting rhymes, catchy hooks, and melodic flows.

Their music also emphasized the power of grassroots movements, addressing critical social topics and promoting positive change. As trailblazers of hip-hop in Bangladesh, Uptown Lokolz laid a solid foundation for the genre’s growth and activism.

Bangladeshi hip-hop continues to evolve, with more artists embracing the genre and using it to communicate and inspire. The history of hip-hop in Bangladesh is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of a musical style that has transcended cultural boundaries and become a powerful force of social change.

Political and Social Themes in Bangladeshi Hip-Hop

Protest Music

Bangladeshi hip-hop has been significantly influenced by the nation’s history of protest music. Politically charged songs have been crucial in shaping social movements, wars, and demonstrations in Bangladesh. Rap music in Bangladesh has emerged as an instrument of political expression, influenced by American political hip-hop culture while adapting it to focus on local political criticism and social issues.

Religion and Secularism

Religious themes and secularism are important topics of discussion in Bangladeshi hip-hop. Bangladesh has a rich cultural history with a secular spirit that fosters religious tolerance and political equality. The role of political Islam in the country has garnered attention from local rap artists, who use their music as a platform for honest dialogue about the complex interplay between faith, politics, and cultural identity. This enables them to contribute to a broader conversation about maintaining religious harmony in contemporary Bangladeshi society.

Social Problems and Inequality

Bangladeshi hip-hop artists use their music to address pressing social issues like inequality, violence, poverty, and corruption. By rapping about these topics, they give voice to those who struggle with these societal problems and highlight the need for change. They aim to inspire listeners to challenge the status quo and seek solutions to improve the nation’s well-being.

Local hip-hop artists contribute to the rich tapestry of the nation’s musical and cultural landscape by exploring various political and social themes close to the hearts of many Bangladeshis. By incorporating issues such as protest music, religion and secularism, and social problems and inequality into their lyrics, they not only entertain but also empower and educate their audience, fostering a sense of shared identity and purpose in the pursuit of a better future.

Influence from American Hip-Hop

In Bangladesh, the hip-hop scene has been heavily influenced by American political hip-hop culture. Just like the US, Bangladeshi hip-hop artists use their music as an instrument of expression, drawing awareness to social issues and promoting political activism.

Historical Consciousness

American political hip-hop artists use their music to address issues such as race and politics, which has inspired Bangladeshi artists to do the same. However, the issues addressed in Bangladeshi hip-hop are specific to the country’s unique cultural and political landscape. This unique blend is called conscious rap, using lyrical expressions to discuss elements such as Bangladesh’s political and social problems, lifestyles, nature, cultures, and communities.

Notable American Hip-Hop Artists

Various American hip-hop artists have significantly contributed to the evolution of conscious rap and have influenced Bangladeshi hip-hop artists:

  • Kendrick Lamar: Lamar’s thought-provoking lyrics address social and political issues, resonating with Bangladeshi artists who draw on similar themes.
  • Tupac Shakur: Shakur’s raw lyricism that often discussed racism, inequality, and social issues in the ’90s left a lasting impact on the global hip-hop community, including Bangladeshi artists.
  • Eminem: Eminem’s storytelling and relatable experiences are widely appreciated in Bangladesh, influencing local rappers to become more creative.
  • NWA: NWA, with their groundbreaking album Straight Outta Compton in the late ’80s, increased the popularity of socially-conscious rap, which sparked interest in American hip-hop culture around the world, including Bangladesh.
  • Public Enemy: The socially conscious messages and politically charged lyrics found in Public Enemy’s music deeply resonated with Bangladeshi artists looking to address their nation’s specific issues.

In summary, Bangladeshi hip-hop artists have drawn significant inspiration from American political hip-hop culture. The influence is evident in the country’s conscious rap scene, which addresses Bangladesh-specific issues and promotes political activism through music. The impact of notable American hip-hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, NWA, and Public Enemy has played a critical role in shaping the Bangladeshi hip-hop landscape.

Impact on Bangladeshi Society and Culture

Bangladeshi Youth

Bangladeshi hip-hop has become an influential force among the youth in the country. This genre of music allows young people to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns about various aspects of society, politics, and cultural changes through their lyrics, beats, and performances. Hip-hop provides a space for the youth to engage in critical conversations about their identity, and as a result, has contributed to the shaping of a unique cultural identity within the Bangladeshi community. Dhaka, the capital city, has emerged as a hub for hip-hop music and a thriving community of artists, allowing for greater exposure and growth for the genre.

Studio Albums and Songs

Studio albums and songs released by Bangladeshi hip-hop artists have resonated with listeners across the country and beyond. One notable example is the Queens-based group Stoic Bliss, who, in 2004, introduced Banglish (Bangla-English) rap fusion, a new style of rap in their debut album. This innovative approach to music has paved the way for other artists and has significantly influenced contemporary Bangladeshi hip-hop. The lyrics of these songs often touch upon essential social issues and provide a platform for political and social commentary, drawing more listeners and contributing to the development of hip-hop in the country.

Global Connections

Hip-hop in Bangladesh has also established connections with global communities, providing a bridge between local and international artists and fans. Influenced by American political hip-hop culture, Bangladeshi rap has integrated the genre’s global elements while creating a distinct sound that reflects the country’s social and political context. Through collaborations, online platforms, and exposure to international hip-hop events, the Bangladeshi hip-hop community has effectively connected with its counterparts around the world, contributing to a global culture that transcends borders and enriches the music for its 160 million people.

Freedom of Speech and Censorship Challenges

Information and Communication Technology Act

In Bangladesh, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act plays a significant role in regulating freedom of speech and expression, especially in the realm of digital media. Despite Article 39 of the constitution of Bangladesh protecting free speech, the government has been known to use this act to suppress political dissent and control the flow of information.

The ICT Act has been criticized for its ambiguous provisions that allow authorities to arrest and detain individuals for content that may be considered offensive or harmful. This often leads to charges against artists, writers, and journalists who publish materials critical of the government or address controversial subjects.

Cyber Defamation

Cyber defamation is another challenge that individuals and artists in Bangladesh face within the context of the hip-hop culture. As the genre often tackles social issues and reflects the concerns of marginalized communities, some artists may come under fire for expressing opinions that differ from traditional values. As a result, they may be vulnerable to online harassment or defamation cases filed under the ICT Act.

In particular, social media platforms have served as both a catalyst for the growth of hip-hop in Bangladesh and a platform where defamation cases may originate. The rise of the internet and globalization has allowed the genre to spread, but it has also made artists more susceptible to censorship and cyber defamation.


Some hip-hop artists in Bangladesh have faced controversies due to their content and expression. As a powerful means of storytelling, hip-hop often brings attention to social, political, and religious issues that might be considered taboo in Bangladesh’s conservative society. This has led to clashes with government censorship, accusations of inciting violence or unrest, and even cases of physical harm against outspoken artists.

In conclusion, navigating the barriers of freedom of speech and censorship challenges remains a complex issue for hip-hop artists in Bangladesh. With the potential for legal repercussions under the ICT Act and the risk of cyber defamation, the genre continues to push boundaries while facing limitations imposed by various forces within society.

Future of Hip-Hop in Bangladesh

Emerging Artists and Trends

Hip-hop in Bangladesh has grown in popularity and influence over the last 15 years, with young artists embracing the genre and creating a more diverse musical landscape. One notable group is 1230 Klassick, from Uttara, Dhaka, which released the EP “Dirty Skills” featuring underground rappers SHEZAN, Janowar, and T.Zed in August 2021.

Bangladeshi hip-hop is experiencing a cultural shift, with new artists and trends emerging to reflect the country’s diverse and unique experiences. Rap has become a platform for these artists to express their thoughts, opinions, and observations about society, as well as a way to connect with listeners seeking music that resonates with their experiences.

International Collaborations

Bangladesh’s hip-hop scene is increasingly looking outward for inspiration and collaboration. The growth of platforms for sharing music, such as streaming services and social media, allow artists to update and download the latest tracks from around the world, helping to introduce new sounds and styles to the Bangladeshi audience.

Moreover, the global success of hip-hop artists such as Tupac Shakur and Eminem has exposed a new generation of Bangladeshi musicians to the power of rap as a form of activism and storytelling, paving the way for potential partnerships with international artists. This cross-cultural exchange can benefit both the local and global hip-hop community by fostering innovation, creativity, and a more nuanced understanding of different cultures.

As Bangladesh’s hip-hop scene continues to evolve, the prospect of increased international collaborations and the emergence of young, talented artists will propel the genre into a bright and promising future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top Bangladeshi rappers?

Some notable Bangladeshi rappers include THE BEASTBUZZ, CHEIF-IQ, Coldkraft from the hip-hop group 1230 Klassick, and members of the group Stoic Bliss. These artists have gained popularity both locally and internationally for their unique styles and contributions to Bangladeshi hip-hop.

Popular Bangla rap songs?

Some popular Bangla rap songs include “Abar Jigay” by Stoic Bliss, which gained significant popularity and contributed to the mainstream success of the group. Other notable tracks include songs from 1230 Klassick’s EP “Dirty Skills,” featuring underground rappers SHEZAN, Janowar, and T.Zed.

Famous Bangla rap lyrics?

Famous Bangla rap lyrics often touch on themes related to social and political issues in Bangladesh, as well as personal stories and experiences. Due to the varied backgrounds and styles of Bangladeshi rappers, specific lyrics can greatly differ from one artist to another.

Where to download Bangla rap mp3?

Bangla rap mp3s can be downloaded from various online music platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. Local music stores in Bangladesh may also offer CDs or digital downloads for purchase. It is essential to support artists by purchasing their music legally and promoting their work.

Who are Jalali Set members?

Jalali Set is a Bangladeshi hip-hop group that has played a significant role in the Bangladeshi hip-hop scene. More information about the group and its members can be found on their official social media profiles, such as Facebook or Instagram. The group often performs at local events and venues, in addition to releasing music through digital platforms.

Notable Desi hip-hop artists?

Desi hip-hop is a term used to describe hip-hop that originates from South Asia, primarily India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Notable Desi hip-hop artists include artists from various backgrounds, such as Bangladeshi rappers mentioned earlier in this section, as well as international rappers like Bohemia, Yo Yo Honey Singh, and Badshah. Each of these artists contributes to the growth and popularity of the Desi hip-hop genre.