[Photo credit: Tom McKay]
Sub Pop has signed Cartel Madras, a hip-hop duo who are spearheading a new genre of trap music, Goonda rap. Madras-born sisters Eboshi and Contra are known for their confrontational, high-energy and sexually commanding style of rap; this rising duo flaunts their South Indian identity with authority and expresses their gender and sexuality with a candor that is imperative to why and how Cartel Madras exists. We will release new music from the group in the near future, but for now check out the official video for “Pork and Leek”from TRAPISTAN, their debut mixtape from 2018.
Ishmael Butler, who signed the group had this to say, “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.”
Cartel Madras has a few Canadian festival shows on the horizon, including Calgary’s Sled Island on June 21st, Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario on July 12th, Ottawa’s Bluesfest on July 13th, and Up Here Fest in Sudbury, Ontario on August 17th.
More on Cartel Madras:
Owning sexuality, racial identity, and gender identity are recurring themes in Cartel Madras’ music. Though these themes are already present in hip hop, Cartel pushes them to even more subversive places by applying them to immigrant women. In this way, Eboshi and Contra created Cartel Madras as a mission to authentically represent the underrepresented.
Their live performances—which boldly combine elements of the underground trap, queer, and punk scenes—have been compared to full-blown riots. After just one year, word of mouth grew so profoundly that Cartel Madras had amassed a loyal organic following and media coverage.
Their debut mixtape, TRAPISTAN, captures this live energy. Contra and Eboshi enter the world of trap loudly, abrasively, unapologetically—signaling to their growing fan base that they intend to bring something entirely new to hip hop. Over booming beats, the sisters’ rap with ease through a new genre that brings together trap, house, and gangster rap with the narratives of being Tamil born, immigrant raised, and sexually empowered as women of color and women who are queer.
1. Red Notice
2. Housey (Thirsti Thots 2 Tha Front)
3. Eric Andre (Slick Rick James)
4. Pork and Leek
5. Kuthu Pattu