Irfana Hameed, a Kodaikanal-based rapper and singer, has become the first female artist to be signed by the Def Jam Recordings India label. The ferocious lyricist behind the critically acclaimed ‘Ko-Lab’ EP, Irfana is one of the earliest emcees signed by Universal Music India’s largest Hip-Hop label division within India and South Asia.
After her debut release with Universal Music India through Found Out Records, Irfana Hameed established her stature as a promising female emcee from Tamil Nadu. Her early musical life began with traditional Carnatic vocal and veena training. However, the young artist was introduced to Hip-Hop in elementary school when she heard Eminem on circulating pen drives in the fifth grade.
Irfana’s affecting discography explores provocative themes of anti-fascism, Tamil and Muslim culture, and femininity. Irfana Hameed also gave her vocals to Netflix’s web-series Masaba Masaba’s title track – “I am your King.” She was the forerunner for boAt’s Women’s day campaign featuring Rashmika Mandanna. Her track ‘Kannil Pettole’, which features Malayalam superstar Tovino Thomas, turned her into a Hip-Hop sensation across Southern India. The young artist recently featured in ‘Emerging Women in Hip-hop’ by Vogue magazine.
Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, announced the launch of Def Jam India, in 2022. Def Jam India follows the blueprint of the historic Hip-Hop label ‘Def Jam Recordings’ which has led and influenced the global hip-hop culture for over 35 years. The explosion in popularity of hip-hop as a genre in India has increased dramatically in recent years, and the launch of Def Jam India breathed a new life into India’s growing Hip-Hop scene.
Talking about her triumph Irfana Hameed said, “I’m honored to be associated with such a historic label. I hope that my achievement serves as an inspiration for all hip-hop artists in India, female or otherwise! I look forward to releasing meaningful hip-hop music with Def Jam India and Universal Music India, especially because I grew up watching Def Jam Slam and this is quite the dream come true! I hope to encourage all young emcees to take the leap and dive right in – it’s a great time to be a hip-hop artist in India!”