You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
In the big fat Indian weddings we find it all starting from Wedding-Planner, Wedding-Singer and Wedding- Designers, but now there’s a new thing Wedding-Rapper. Meet Siddharth Sood who raps only at the weddings and know why.
Time was set to meet this man who calls himself the only Wedding Rapper in the country. At the first look Siddharth Sood doesn’t look like those rappers with big chains, tattoos or pants down the waist but more like typical IT professional. However, when we sat down over a lunch and he got down into his grooves I was swayed that he got some funny bones and can talk while rhyming his words. The ice-breaker was, “We can’t be sitting together nor be friends if you are ordering vegetarian!” After sharing a good laugh two things were sure, the order had to be non-vegetarian and conversation was going to be great.
“Let me first tell you what Rap is all about, it will give you a better idea about what I do. It is acronym of Rhythm and Poetry which is of three types: Old School – in this there are artists like Tupac, Run DMC and MC Hammer, it is the oldest form. Gangster – Eminem and 50 Cent, they sing about guns and drugs. And the last one is Freestyle – that’s what I do. It is something you cook up or should I say made on the spot – interactive form of rap.” To bring his point home, MC Sid does one for me, “Check! Check! As I turn to this, there is a dude with specs, he got a cool watch and looks ok, he smiles a bit when I start to rap, and there is a cool phone over there. As I turn to see he writes for a magazine called ‘Society’!”
Then comes the obvious question, how did it all began? It looks like this is the best part of the story as it brings glow in his eyes and excitement in his voice. “One night after party while dropping two girls home, to impress I started rapping along with Eminem’s Stan. I forgot the lyrics so started making up myself, though I was caught. But it was cool among the ladies and people appreciated my talent. Then I started doing club gigs with all those chains and stuffs like 50 Cents. It was everything like Eminem in 8-Miles movie, you battle it out with the opponent. It is an American version of jugalbandi in India but with abuses. I didn’t find anybody in India doing it so came up with my own act where I interact with the audience. It is like Russell Peter plus Eminem – it is spontaneous and funny but also in rap style.” says this thirty years old gentleman.
“I was working with Channel [V] as VJ for a while and then had a contract with Kingfisher which took me all over the country’s party circuit. Somewhere in 2007 an event manager asked me whether I would like to do my act at the wedding functions. I said I will do it anywhere if you are paying me well. My first wedding gig was a cocktail-party at Inter-Continental on Marine Drive, a place called Dome. They were so impressed that they even called for guy’s sangeet. It’s been seven years I have been a Wedding Rapper.” Things look pretty good now though it is not what he really had planned for his life. “My father is IIT Kharakpur pass-out businessman, brother an engineer and mother runs an NGO, so there were great expectations from me also. I finished my MBA in Business Management from SIBM Pune in 2009 but didn’t get job, thanks to global recession! I was left with no option but do what I was doing. On top of that rapping at the weddings was quite lucrative as wedding is a big market in India.”
Giving an overview of his job, “The best thing about my job is that you get to travel all around the world with great people who are ‘invite-only’ guest, unlimited alcohol and great food all for free. And my job is just to make the fun things funnier. I call myself Destination Wedding Specialist – It is like 200 each from bride and groom’s side, go to a holiday destination and I tag along with them. When they go out they have to do something and that’s where my role comes in. There are two functions I am expert at – Cocktail party and Mehendi or Pool party where I am the DJ, MC and rapper. ”
All profession has its dos and don’ts, so does his but they are quite funny. “Even though I have performed everywhere in the world my acts are only for Indians. Whites don’t get me and I don’t get them. But I must tell you that audience in India are the hardest nuts to crack. It’s like if you can drive your car in Delhi and Mumbai you can drive it anywhere in the world. I learnt my lesson in hard way. Once in a Punjabi wedding in Amritsar I called a mid-aged man ‘Dev Anand’ and it didn’t go well with him. All he wanted was to call him somebody younger which would have made his wife happy. The solution was I had to call him Brad Pitt.” After going through lots of first hand experiences Sid has come up with tips on how to be a good Wedding Rapper. “Understanding the mentality of the Indian audience there are few things one need to take care of. Never say bad words – no matter what because we think it is an auspicious occasion. And say good things about the bride and the women around – whenever I didn’t my show got flop.”
In his success and upward graph of career he gives a big credit to Yo Yo Honey Singh and he tells you why. “Before 2011 or should I say before Honey Singh I had to explain people that I rap, which is singing songs very fast. Now I don’t have to but just tell that I perform like Honey Singh in lesser money. Now everybody wants a rapper, it has become very cool thing in India. I am a big fan of Eminem, and Honey Singh has done what Eminem has done in America. He was the only white man rapping in black dominated world. He proved that you just got to be talented.” As he continues talking about the inspirations, “Earlier it was Eminem now I am Jay-Z fan. He is cooler, has his own clothing line, owns one of the biggest record label and above all he got Beyonce.”
Still for his father his son doesn’t come home on time and needs to get real job, for relatives – ‘what are you making out of your life’ and for grandfather he is a banjo-master in the band-party. “My father really hates that I wake up around noon. Thankfully my mother understands as she is connected with the arts line. Other than that I am into song production – making wedding songs, viral videos for YouTube, opened a media interactive lab where I can sit down and make videos. Also I am coming up with a Wedding App called Boda which means ‘wedding’ in Spanish. It will be a real time giving you all the details, and kind of guest concierge service. Also I am into photography, I really like the idea of ‘the best camera is the one in your pocket’ you can’t go and fetch your camera to click the moment. In America iPhone photography is a big thing,” says the Himachali whose family migrated to Chandigarh from Lahore. “Most of the time I am on the road but whenever I get time I go for golf! Lastly it’s high time for me to get hitched and I am all in for love marriage.” Well it looks like though he raps his songs but takes life slow, all the best!!
(Published in Society July’14, Page No. 42)