Rahul Dit-O
© Vaqaas Mansuri

Story behind the song: ‘Top Dawg’ by Rahul Dit-O, Karan Kanchan

The Kannada rapper towers over the rest in his song for Red Bull 64 Bars. Here he explains his process and what he loved most about the project.
Written by Anurag Tagat
5 min readPublished on
The title of the track is ‘Top Dawg’. It literally means the person who is dominant in their sector. I consider myself as the main player in the Kannada rap scene, hence the title.
My thought process begins as soon as the vibe of the beat is ready. If I have any references or flavour of the track, I ask the beat producer if they have a similar beat. If not, we will work together to create a vibe for the track. I’ll pick a topic that is relevant at that point of time in my life and convey that through my lyrics.
I have watched most of the previous episodes of Red Bull 64 Bars. The project has showcased some of the best rappers and hip-hop artists in India. Every rapper had their own flavour. And since this is the first episode of Red Bull 64 Bars from the Kannada indie scene, I wanted to sound different and bring in more of the regional flow.
Rahul Dit-O

Rahul Dit-O

© Vaqaas Mansuri

Here in the Kannada scene, there is a misinterpretation of what actual rap is and what party or pop music sounds like. In the past I have strived to make tracks to prove such difference and show what actual rap sounds like. I continue to do that in this track too.
Because I want to be more in line with what people use in their everyday activities, I use just a few English terms. But my mother tongue, Kannada, is where my origins lay. My major skills are there. A few years back, the Kannada rap scene had a sizable audience, but it has since expanded significantly, and I'm extremely proud to say that I embody such a culture.
My favourite bars which I wrote on this track are:
  • Bengalurinda Bombay representing Kannada
  • Asali Rap’na Kelak Banro Nanna Sangada
  • Bere Levelige Tagond Hogtin Antha
  • Yellu Kochkolodilla Naanu Bai Bai Bombada
Which means I'm honoured to represent the Bengaluru hip-hop scene. I’m also saying, “Let's listen to and support authentic hip-hop”. And in the rest of the song, I actually take the scene forward and prove my words, instead of just blabbering about how I'll take it to the next level.
Working with a producer like Karan Kanchan was not difficult for me because he was always receptive to ideas and comments. There was hardly any back-and-forth conversation. He quickly got to the point and comprehended precisely what I wanted. He was enthusiastic as well when we talked about the beat switch. Until the ideal sound and vibe were achieved, we also experimented with various sounds and concepts. He felt happier to be a part of it by the time we finished the track. That was the kind of rapport we quickly developed. Karan is now more like an elder brother and is a lovable, respectful person.
Rahul Dit-O and Karan Kanchan in the Red Bull 64 Bars studio

Rahul Dit-O and Karan Kanchan in the Red Bull 64 Bars studio

© Vaqaas Mansuri

Before meeting with Karan, I had already heard many of the famous tracks that he produced. My favourite among them were DIVINE’s songs ‘Satya’ and ‘Baazigar’. Karan gave me the most dominant beat I could have imagined because he knew exactly what I was expecting. I felt really inspired as an artist to write a verse on such a hard beat.
Red Bull 64 Bars is a very relevant project for hip-hop in India as it provides a platform for aspiring and established rappers to showcase their skills and creativity, and gain recognition and exposure.
Moreover, the challenge can also encourage the growth and development of the hip-hop community in India because it brings together artists, producers and fans from different parts of the country to celebrate and promote the genre.
When I was asked to be part of the project, I saw it as a recognition of the talent and a chance to gain exposure and recognition from a wider, undiscovered audience. It was quite challenging for me to push my creative boundaries and pen game, as I am competing with other talented artists and seeking to stand out from the crowd.
Moreover, this project stood as a platform for me to connect with other creatives, collaborate on future projects, and build my network within the hip-hop community in India and beyond. This can lead to new opportunities and further growth in my career.
Rahul Dit-O in the Red Bull 64 Bars studio

Rahul Dit-O in the Red Bull 64 Bars studio

© Vaqaas Mansuri

By featuring a diverse range of artists and styles, including regional languages like Kannada, the project can help to promote a more nuanced and diverse understanding of hip-hop culture and music. This can be especially valuable in a country as large as India, where there are many different regional cultures, languages and musical traditions.
This project can help to challenge dominant narratives and promote a more inclusive and equitable hip-hop community. This can be especially valuable in a genre that has historically been dominated by certain regions, languages, and identities.
So in the long term, projects like Red Bull 64 Bars have the potential to make a significant impact by promoting diversity, inclusivity, and creativity within the genre, and helping to build a more vibrant and dynamic hip-hop scene overall.