City-based Raj Verma, aka Yung.Raj, has been making beatboxing look effortless for a decade. But anyone who’s tried to make percussion sounds through the mouth would know it’s not easy.
Yung.Raj, who began by mimicking the sounds of everything from percussion instruments to objects from daily life at the age of 16 years, recently performed at the nation’s largest hip-hop festival Breezer Vivid Shuffle in Mumbai. The event showcases and celebrates the best of hip-hop and street culture in Mumbai.
He shares with us why beatboxing is more than just producing sounds for him.
Boxed in melody
Yung.Raj burst onto the music and podcast streaming platform SoundCloud last year in 2018 with two short extended plays (EPs), Laced Loops and October Heat. He has even performed with internationally acclaimed acts like Foreign Beggars, Shri, Karsh Kale, Niladri Kumar, Shiva Sound System and Func. Till the late 2017, he was also an active member of the popular acapella outfit Voctronica.
He has recently introduced several other EPs like Steppin Stoned, Waterpipe Dreams and Recovery Package, which have not only hit the club scene but also got him spots at some of the country’s biggest music festivals and platforms. The DJ and beatboxer is also planning to come up with something new soon.
Finding his groove
Elaborating on his tryst with beatboxing, the former student of Meridian School and St Mary’s College says, “I first came across beatboxing in 2009. That led me to watching tutorials on the internet. I practiced one small beat at a time, but nothing seriously. I pursued it as a hobby for the first few months. Then, I went to a music academy to learn more about music and instruments.” But it wasn’t until Voctronica (India’s first all-vocal ensemble), he says, when his confidence grew.
Yung.Raj, who claims to have quite a lot of gigs lined up in different cities across India, also reminisces about how the beatboxing scene in Hyderabad was still smaller back in 2009 when he’d started off. Despite the decade that’s gone by, he believes that beatboxing has a long way to go, both in Hyderabad as well as across the nation. “Today, the beatboxing scene in Hyderabad has improved, with more and more hip-hop and rap ‘battles’. But, yes, beatbox, though at a nascent stage, is exploding,” he says, concluding....