Morung Express News
Unlike other mainstream genres, hip hop music surfaced in Nagaland a little late, with its emergence almost underground for the last many years. Yet, the emerging subculture continues to be one that draws the attention of the young and frustrated population in the State.
Rapper Moko Koza is one young artist ushering in a new anthem for establishment of hip hop culture in Nagaland. For the past few years, Koza has been rapping in English, Nagamese and Tenyidie on the socio-economic and political realities in Nagaland. 'Puisa', one of the most popular songs of Koza, slams on the obsession over money in Naga society. One day (Khunhie Puo), Koza's first single in a local dialect, is one song that most youth can relate to: the frustration of being a disappointment to one's parents, and yet assuring the hope of success one day.
"It just came naturally, you know. I know my local dialects and to put it in a song, it makes our own people from all walks of life understand it better. With a little bit of humor and truth, I like to put out the facts which will grasp the attention of the listeners. This is how I like to make my music. For me it's important to keep the listeners connected with me because whatever I write, it's in general terms and I want my listeners to relate to what I put out in my songs," says Koza.
The 24 years old developed his interest in music at the age of 10, where he began writing his own songs by the age of 15. "I grew up from a family who were fans of music specially oldies and local songs," says Koza. However, choosing hip hop genre was almost accidental for the young artist, who chanced upon a CD of hip hop music collection during a day out with his father in 2005. Koza considers Eminem as a major source of influence in his music, besides Kid Cudi, Falling in Reverse, Lil Wayne. The realness of such artists, who puts in their stories and transforms these contents into songs, is what motivates him the most.
In 2013, Koza released his first single 'Just my Imagination'. This was followed by several other singles and collaborations such as 'One Day', 'Internationally known', ‘Happy Today', each well received by listeners both in the State and across the country. With a Masters degree in Anthropology, Koza now works as a full time musician under Infinity Inc. record label based in Dimapur.
Pursuing music like any other career does not assure a smooth trajectory. "Being an artist, personally it is tough when you're trying to live independently and trying to make a living off your own through your music. Performing in shows is the daily bread to survive. You make music, release it online, gain more audiences and get shows. That's how it basically goes around. Music career is also a professional job and I'm happy to be working with something I love," admits Koza.
Social mediums like Facebook have also enabled artists like Koza to reach out to more listeners beyond the North East region.
While it does take ample time and hard work to reach that goal, Koza believes that, "At the end of the day, it's worth the struggle. No backdoors appointments and corruptions, it is pure hustle."
Koza holds the view that the current state of hip-hop community in Nagaland is in good hands. All the subculture needs is "the right type of music and more content to help propel it to higher level."
"The Hip hop/Rap community in Nagaland has made a small establishment in the region in recent years with the people actually appreciating the art and culture and embracing it," says Koza. With the right contents and materials, he is optimistic that rap music will soon be considered as one of the major genre in our very own region too.
Hip hop in Nagaland is a different story, according to Koza, unlike its origins. The genre has been embraced by both the privileged and underprivileged in the State. While the popular music genre has also evoked a controversial cultural phenomenon, Koza affirms that Hip hop has been used as an outlet to rage against injustice and wrongs and address social and political issues too.
"It depends on the rapper. How he chooses to do with his music. It can either be violent or can be used as a tool to express consciousness among the people," remarks Koza.