Updated: Jun 15
by Kalen Baker
For Fans of: Snotty Nose Rez Kids, clipping., The Sorority
Hip-Hop has always been a great medium of expression for people who aren’t as openly represented in mainstream media and society. Recent offshoots of alternative hip-hop have given rise to a wider range of sounds and ideas that most people haven't thought about. Calgary’s Cartel Madras is a bold, powerful hip-hop duo who are making their voice heard through their awesome music. The group is composed of siblings Priya "Contra'' and Bhagya "Eboshi" Ramesh. They were born in India and raised in Calgary after immigrating to the city when they were young. They stand up for underdogs and marginalized groups, including immigrant women and the LGBTQ2+ community.
Both Contra and Eboshi are very talented in their vocal delivery. The flow is bouncy and creative in both MCs, and they’re very unapologetic in their lyrics, sound, and music videos. Everything is super believable and in your face. The way they mix different sounds including trap, house, and even samples from traditional Indian music, Cartel Madras makes some of the most badass and explosive hip-hop I've heard lately.
The group released their second EP, Age Of The Goonda on the legendary Sub Pop records in November. This is part two of what is to be a three part series according to the Bandcamp page for Cartel Madras’ debut mixtape Trapistan. The production on both albums is really good, but Age Of The Goonda is a noticeable step up from its predecessor. It is very textured, and stays interesting to listen to throughout the duration of the release. The beats are creative, and all around fun to listen to. There are so many cool and well placed sound effects peppered throughout every track on both releases; The way the Ferris Bueller “Oh yeah” sound shows up after a line ends with the aforementioned name. Cars speeding by and gun clicks to transition lines. Everything just fits perfectly in its place, and sections of the song structure progress very smoothly to the next.
Cartel Madras has already put out two exciting and promising releases. They’ve already taken a big step in artistic growth in the span of only one year, and I’m looking forward to part three of this trilogy. Follow them on Instagram and Bandcamp to see what they do next! These two definitely have a solid music career ahead of them.