Prabh Deep and the Artful Narrative

The New Delhi rapper plays with people’s perceptions of hip-hop and subverts assumptions on his debut album, ‘Class-Sikh...

When New Delhi rapper Prabh Deep, born Prabhdeep Singh, began to lose faith in breakdancing, his primary hobby and occasional source of income, he started working at a call center. “I thought, ‘I think call centers are the best for me, because I’m school dropped-out, I have no degree,’” recalls Singh. It wasn’t just the lack of education requirements and the promise of a stable income that drew him to the profession, however. “I really wanted to learn a few things, because call centers was always interesting to me,” he says.

You would be forgiven if you should find yourself confused as to how an exuberant 23-year-old like Singh would find the idea of a call center “interesting”–images of labyrinthine grey cubicles and sleep-deprived employees glued to their headsets don’t exactly roil the blood. Perhaps Singh is aware of this paradox, because it’s with a wry smile that he continues, “I really wanted to judge people over the call, how they say things, you know.” He grins. “I did that for four years. Now I can guess, by hi and hellos, what the mood is [on the other] side.”

Such sensitivity to the relationship between voice and emotion should be unsurprising coming from any rapper, whose chief art is to 

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