The path to a rap career was not an easy one for Nepalese rapper Prakash Neupane. He believes that what he faced is the reality everyone in his country has to go through. As per his views, Nepalese rap has always suffered in the shadow of everyday problems found in the country. Neupane is better in the rap community as KAS. He has also used this theme in many songs like Satta and Bang Bang.
Rapping is an emerging form of NepHop (Nepali Hip Hop) in the country. Common people still shy away from pursuing it as a passion and a career due to socio-political conditions. Rap is often associated with a rebellious taboo in the country due to lack of exposure. Prakash is motivated to break away from the shackles and bring out Nepalese rap to the world.
Unlike countries in the West, the rap scene in Nepal has not had a lot of years to develop. It properly emerged in the years after 2003. ‘The first proper Nepali rap was released in 1995 by rattan Subedi. We have come a long way in a very short time. Given the right help and tools, the industry could flourish quite rapidly, just like K Pop’, says KAS. He considers himself as a spokesperson for the youth who do not find the right guidance to start their careers. Prakash further argues by using Korean Pop as an example. South Korean rappers have created a nurturing playfield for themselves and are now competing with the rap and hip hop giants of the west.
Growing up in the town of Kohlpur, Neupane was always taught to keep his artistic side oppressed and stick to orthodox social norms. ‘Shifting to Khatmandu was an important event for my career. There I learned about Hip Hop and that it was a part of me. Khatmandu helped me be myself’, shares KAS. Only a few cities in Nepal have the right exposure and atmosphere to enhance the talents of those who wish to make a career out of it. Proper institutions which can mentor people having raw talent are still very rare in the country.
Nepalese rap themes are also quite different from Western rap. Nepal is new to the Hip Hop culture and everything had to be done from scratch. There is a common theme that the Nepalese rappers share with western rappers. Western rappers mostly have their focus on topics such as street life and racism against a certain community. On the other hand, Nepalese rap addresses the concerns of political and social injustices faced by the community as a whole. KAS considers Nepalese rap as the underdog and likes to put it this way, ‘Nepal has its rap legends like any other country. Every rapper here knows and cherishes Yama Buddha who is like the Nepalese counterpart to Eminem. He also has fans in New York and Toronto’.