CMU Approved

Approved: Cartel Madras

By | Published on Thursday 10 October 2019

Cartel Madras

Sibling rappers Eboshi and Contra began releasing music as Cartel Madras last year, and have quickly established a following with their confident sound and lyrical dexterity. Based in Calgary, Canada – but originally from Chennai, India – they term their style ‘goonda rap’, the word ‘goonda’ meaning ‘thug’ in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

“We really want people who come to our shows to feel like they’ve been punched in the face”, says Contra. “It’s like a riot just passed you, and you’re like, ‘What was that? What did I just experience?’ But also, ‘How do I do that again?'”

“We are two queer, POC rappers that are actively creating space for ourselves and other artists like us”, adds Eboshi. “There’s a certain thing that hip hop does, that gangster rap does: a narrative of being larger than life, kind of violent but in power”.

“We are paying tribute to that”, she goes on, “but also focusing that on women who are queer and brown, telling stories that haven’t been told. We are speaking to, and about, narratives that are not magnified in popular culture, while paying tribute to the subgenres that have continuously influenced our sound. That’s what we want goonda rap to become”.

The duo have just released new single ‘Goonda Gold’, taken from their debut album ‘Age Of The Goonda’, which will be released through Sub Pop on 1 Nov.

Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, who signed Cartel Madras in his capacity as an A&R for the label, said earlier this year: “The energy and passion they bring combined with their superior rapping skills makes the Cartel a must hear and see. Excitement is the main ingredient of their magic. On record and on stage they glow under the spotlight. They’re electric, totally tapped into the current. And c’mon, two fly sisters spitting heat? Real rare… it’s too good”.

Watch the video for ‘Goonda Gold’ here:

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