MC’s tasked with introducing the DJ’s and keeping the crowd energized would talk between songs, joking and interacting with the audience. During the 90’s, it became a global craze all over with artistes such as Eminem, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Drake, 50 cent, and progressed up to modern artistes such as Cardi B, Travis Scott, Jay Z, Lil’ Wayne. This genre is more known as R&B /Hip Hop globally, but to the Sri Lankan audiences it is more familiar as ‘’ Rap ‘’ music.
When most genres focused only on lovesick or heartbroken love based themes, Genres such as Hip hop and Rock focused on more realistic themes such as social discrimination, social injustice, politics, depression, greed and corruption, poverty and war etc.
Our guest today is also an upcoming Rap / R&B hip hop artiste who is creating a name for himself as a rap artist who speaks about such themes. He has a tendency to address the audiences by using themes such as motivation, depression, politics and social traits. He has released several songs including ‘’Hamath Sathek ‘’,‘’Atlas’’, ‘’Phoneix ‘’ and ‘’Caligynephobia’’. Each of his songs represents a serious theme which can be seen in the society and also some message to the modern youth, more like a piece of advice. He also has worked with fellow artists such as Costa, Drill team and several others. In addition, he has a pod cast channel where he talks about music and his perspective of music in general. His iconic tagline is ‘’ Kana haraha molayata’’ (through the ear to the brain ) so therefore meet Rayvian Floyd Driyon , better known in his stage name as ‘’Rude boy ‘’ on today’s T&C.
Q: Tell us about yourself so that the Sri Lankan audience will get to know you better.
My name is Rayviyan Floyd Driyon, goes by the stage name RUDEBOYRAY. I’m an independent conscious rap artist in Sri Lanka who has been in the scene since 2014. I’m currently working as a quality controller for a Swedish Fashion company. Other than that I host a Podcast called “Adikaram Sithivili Podcast” and a blog called “Adikaram Sithivili”.
Q: How did it all begin?
When I was in grade 7, one of my friends gave me a CD full of English songs and it included 2-3 songs by Eminem. They were Lose Yourself, Mockingbird and How Come. That’s when I was inspired to write my own rap verses. I used to rap with my friends at school for fun. In 2014, Prasa KG from “Ahasa Crew” asked me to join them and that is how I began my journey as a Sinhala rap artist.
Q: Was there any reason to select Rap/ Hip hop music?
The techniques, flows and word plays in rap music were really fascinating for me. Although rap music was not so popular in Sri Lanka at the times, it was an exciting music genre for me. I was especially attracted to Eminem’s songs and the way he expressed the struggles and rage of his life through music and I also thought to myself, if he could do it, why not me?
Q: What do you think is the speciality in this genre?
The speciality of this genre is that it is an art form in which anyone can express their feelings and thoughts in a bold-creative and a brutally honest way. With the lyrical rhyming schemes and the structure, there’s more freedom to write and express without boundaries, unlike other music genres.
Q: Most of your songs seem to be focused on social topics such as politics, society, motivation etc. Do you include your own experiences as well when writing the lyrics?
Yes, I include what I see in society and the experiences that I have undergone in my life as the inspiration for my lyrics. As a citizen in a third world country, I see how people struggle to survive and how corruption has taken over the whole social-political system, which is insane. I’m just another reporter who speaks of what’s going on in society, but the difference is that I’m brutally honest and conscious about its true self.
Q: What do you think of Sri Lankan music industry and also Rap and hip hop culture?
First of all, there is no “music industry’’ in this country yet. It’s still developing. The rap/hip hop artists in this generation have contributed a lot for this within a very short period of time recently. We can see good upcoming young rappers, producers and musicians nowadays. The audience has embraced this art form up to some extent. Majority of the audience is teenagers and it is spreading rapidly to other age groups as well, which is a good sign.
Q: To which audiences do you cater your songs mostly to?
There is no specific age group or category, but I dedicate and cater my songs fully to listeners who listen whole-heartedly and have a unique taste and awareness with their own reading about everything that’s happening around us. I have a limited audience, but they have an urge to listen and dissect the lyrics and meaning of my songs. It really intrigues me to create more controversial new contents.
Q: Do you think that this kind of style will empower the youth and avoid them from ruining their lives by living in a fantasy world and chasing after dreams they could never accomplish?
Yes, I think conscious rap can arouse youth potential in a different perspective, that they can determine the difference between reality and fantasy. It is important that they choose what dreams to chase.
Q: Your songs seem to mostly focused on psychological subjects, social issues and politics, apart from love and emotions, etc. Why did you mostly focus on those topics?
Even though rapping is mostly about loads of bragging, I like to think of rap music as an art form where you can talk about things that really matter. Even when we look at the history, we can see how rap music was used to express the sufferings of black community in the USA. So this music style is limitless and artists can use it in many different ways. Personally, I like to use it to ease the pressure and the stress that I’m going through each and every day. I fought depression for a long period of time and music was the best cure for me to overcome that unstable situation. I want my listeners to feel me through my music and help them to overcome their problems.
Q: I would like to know what you mean to express through “Caligynephobia”?
According to modern Western Medical Science, Caligynephobia is the term for “fear of beautiful women”. It is also called “Venustraphobia”. Most of the men have this fear up to some extent. I came across this term when I was in grade 6 and later on I thought of doing a music track about this unspoken medical condition. So I contacted Costa, one of the most popular rap artists in the Sinhala rap scene and we executed that mission successfully.
“Haamath Sathek” is the song that I consider as the turning point in my music career. With this single, I invented a brand new artsy persona of myself and a unique aggressive lyrical style. Most of the listeners believe it as my masterpiece; my signature track.
My latest release is “Phoenix” which was created with a whole different concept which includes my personal experiences and loads of motivational lyrics and bars. The feedback of the audience was positive and many of them contacted me in person and shared how this song is related to their own lives and the way it helped them to make it through their hard times.
One of my music videos called “Nirnamika Ganu Lamai” featured by Sathyajith Perera was nominated for the Best Hip Hop Music Video award at Derana Music Video Awards in 2015. Other than that, I have worked with Minol Witharana from Drill Team Westnahira, one of the pioneers of Sinhala rap scene; Ajith Kumarasiri, Azim Ousman, Prasa KG and more. All these tracks were produced by Harindu Fernando aka Shredder Beatz. Many more projects are to be released in the near future with various artists exclusively on my YouTube Channel, Rudeboyray and every other music platform such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc.
Q: In your opinion, who are the best artists in this industry, both locally and internationally?
Locally, I prefer Manasick and Minol from Drill Team Westnahira, MasterD and an upcoming rapper called Xyren. Internationally, I’m a huge fan of Eminem because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for his music. Also NF, Token, J.Cole, Jay-Z are also my favourites.
Q: Is there any message which you would like to give to the Sri Lankan audience and society in general?
There is a negative impression in the society about rap culture in Sri Lanka, mostly because of their lack of knowledge about rap music and its origin. Don’t be too quick to judge before you really listen to what these rappers mean. You’ll never know what you have been missing until you try it.