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The Beast Within: Hip Hop Homeland

The Beast Mode crew wants to put India on the international hip hop map.

When it comes to hip hop crews in the city, the monstrous Beast Mode crew leads the charge with an army of rappers, b-boys, b-girls, beat boxers, skateboarders, BMX riders, graffiti artists, football freestylers and DJs among others.

Leading the assault into their fourth year with the sole intention of vanquishing their opponents in battles is Sumeet Suvarna aka Ninja. Beast Mode is Ninja’s brainchild and putting India on the international hip hop circuit is his fanatical dream. “We wanted to be the first Indian urban collective hip hop crew. Basically we wanted all these individual talents to grow together and build a culture,” Ninja says.

Of course, money and sponsors are vital for them to compete and showcase in the international arena due to which the crew is hell bent on participating in all the battles and competitions with the intention of winning it so as to channel those rewards and money to inch towards their goals. “We’re planning to do huge events and take the whole crew abroad representing India to countries like America,” Ninja adds.

The Santa Cruz boy’s quest for soaking the culture in had him take a trip to New York and other countries to learn and experience the hip hop culture. “With some help from my dad, I went to New York and San Francisco to learn more about hip hop culture. I also travelled to Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan,” Ninja says.

Beast Mode boasts of two records in the Guinness and Limca world record events in the football freestyle and b-boying categories. With sound knowledge of urban dance styles such as lite feet, house, old school and new school hip hop, dougie, dancehall and jerking, the members have showcased their talents from local battles in Bangalore and Mumbai to international stages in Malaysia and South Korea. 

Says Beast Mode crew member Arif, “Beast Mode happened after we (Ninja, Sonic and Mik 62) decided to start a crew consisting of not just b-boys but also all style hip hop dancers, BMX riders, skateboarders, beat boxers, football freestylers.”

The crew includes dancers such as Mik62, Style – E, ShawtyPink, Sonic, Kage, SleecRoc, Ironhead, Flexx, BeastMillah, Sensor, Wind, Evilmonk, IllSmit, Nitin, FloFoot, Wildchild, Prideroc, Lawrence, Slimlegs, Sahil, Rajhan, Rudra and Magnum. Zake fills in for the graffiti part while RidiQ spins his DJ duties.

An ensemble of rappers such as Enkore, Shinobi (Ninja), Kinga Rhymes, Dévil and Heam spits out their poetic lyrics while beat boxers SphereFx, Avinash tewari and Wildchild exercises their vocal percussions.

Ninja himself is a kaleidoscope of talent as he dabbles with rapping, skateboarding, beat boxing, b boying, all style dancing and graffiti. There’s more; a former stuntman, Ninja is a trained martial artist as well as a music producer and videographer. Phew, that’s quite a lot on one’s plate. So what does he focus on mainly? Says Ninja, “I’m more focused on b-boying and managing the crew. I also try to make at least 2-3 videos a month.”

Ninja and his brethren do not take a fancy to commercial Bollywood rap either. They want to talk about the real thing. “We actually talk about reality and we try to change that whole Honey Singh stuff about alcohol, girls and money. It’s all bull shit, Bollywood crap,” Ninja says. The crew along with Mumbai’s finest will be launching their album titled Mumbai Till I Die soon. One thing that binds together this multifaceted cult is their staunch love for this city.

But this close knit group has their own problems and egos to deal with as well. “Indian b-boys have a lot of ego problems going on. Unlike here, in the US they practice together. Hip hop is really young in India and everyone should stick together to make the Indian community strong,” Says Ninja, who lists crews such as Rocfresh and smoking kills as some of the best.

Ninja believes that they were born to do this which explains the name that basically stands for Born Ethical Abilities on Streets. And the Beast can be rather intimidating as they try to murder their opponents during the battles.

The Beast Mode crew is featured in Hip Hop Homeland, a series about India's underground hip hop scene.

 

By Mohan KK