An all-women collective of hip-hop and graffiti artists, Wild Wild Women is an emerging name in the hip-hop space, determined to bash down the fake narratives about women artists.
It was a random Sunday evening when Ashwini Hiremath and Preeti Sutar were eating Dosa at a street shop in Marol, Mumbai. Somehow, Hiremath could not suppress her age-old urge to perform with an all-women hip hop artist and proposed the idea to her friend. The duo soon decided to call all the girls they knew who had been in the hip-hop industry for a long time, and as it turned out, eight of them agreed to mark the beginning of Wild Wild Women - a women's group of rappers, break-dancers and a graffiti artist.
From this random idea in 2020 to have performed together for several gigs in different cities, the group is now a popular name in the hip-hop space of Mumbai. Even on their first random performance at Marol Art Village, they managed to gather around 60 people with a mix of slum kids and adults, all those who had come to see an all-women team perform. In the words of Hiremath, they had come to watch girls doing rap for the first time.
Coming from the different parts of Mumbai, the group of artists is united with a common interest in rap and music. Along with their real names, their artists are also popular with the special names that they have kept just for the hip-hop world.
Jacqulin Lucas, aka Jqueen, one of the rappers from the team, used to sing since her childhood and later found her calling in rap once when she sang one of the raps of Nicki Minaj in her 11th grade. Her friends were delighted to listen to her, and so was Jqueen, finally knowing what she wanted to do in life. She also learnt beatboxing as she had never heard of a girl doing it in Mumbai. After joining a crew Dogz Music, she would travel every day from Bhandup to Mahim just to practice at the Bob Marley temple at Mahim Paradise. Having done many shows with the crew, she later released a song named 'Everyday'.
Wild Wild Women, on the other hand, is like a gift to her by God, as she says. "I learnt how to love myself after meeting my girls (WWW team). It's a motivation for me to always keep moving forward,". Along with Jqueen, other rappers in the team are Pratika Prabhune, aka Mc Pep, Preeti Sutar, aka Hashtagpreeti, Shruti Raut, aka Mc Mahila and Ashwini Hiremath, aka Krantinaari.
For each of them, WWW means a comforting place. Preeti Sutar sees it as a second home and says, "I had no choice of selecting my family but WWW is a family I chose for myself, where I feel my complete authentic self. I want to keep contributing my art to this beautiful space we have created for all of us." Similarly, Shruti Raut feels glad to mention that the group depicts strong sisterhood with different minds connecting through music. Pratika Prabhune, is of the view that the group consists of strong women who want to grow and encourage other women to do their best and be bold.
The collective comprises two break-dancers, including Mugdha Mangaonkar, aka Bgirl MGK, and Deepa Singh, aka Bgirl Flowraw. While Mangaonkar has been in the space since 2013 and is one of the first B-girls who got selected in the Red Bull BC One ‘16 Open category at the Mumbai cypher, a semi-finalist in Red Bull BC One’s 2019 India cypher B-girl category, and a runner up at Who’s the King's 2019 B-girl category, Singh has a distinctive story. She would often hide her dance from her family but devoted herself to the dance in 2015. She was invited to Queen 16 festival in Leipzig, Germany in 2018 and was named amongst the top 20 at National Breaking Championship Olympics 2021, and has won plenty of competitions.
But not only their names and achievements are noteworthy, but also the fact that all of them also work in different fields. For instance, Prabhune works as a Media and Business Development Manager, Hiremath works at Microsoft, and Preeti runs her own venture.
The passion for creating music, however, binds them together and they meet, greet and eat while discussing their music. It could be said that this is how their debut album, 'I Do It For Hip Hop' was released. This album intended to introduce WWW to the world, which contrasted with the theme of the second album, 'Game Flip', aiming to voice the abilities of women in the hip-hop space.
The major reason to choose this subject highlights the misogynistic approach rooted in the industry. As Krantinaar says, when the idea of WWW was out and circulated, she would receive calls stating - "It's utter nonsense to create a thing like Wild Wild Women and women don't have consistency to be in the industry". Although Krantinaar chose to remain silent at that time, neither did she nor other group members swayed away by the comments.
Interestingly, 'Game Flip' also features graffiti artist Gauri Dabholkar, who is one of the members of WWW, and her work can be seen in the album video. She, who is also a graphic designer and a calligrapher, has been practicing the art for the last five years and considers graffiti to be a medium of freedom to showcase one's true self. Dabholkar, when talking about the group, says, "These girls are a sense of freedom and I wish to explore more about this art form with the help of my girls."
Cut to June 2022 up till which the gang has performed 4 times at places like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and the recent one at Pune. Their third and the recent album 'Uddu Azad', revolves around the importance of living at the moment - a topic away from the eagerness of proving self to the world. As Krantinaari says, "The game has already been flipped and we look forward to making songs on various other important issues."
Awareness through music
The women are trying to shift toward various social issues through their songs and albums, like the recent one in 'Uddu Azad', centering around mental health conversations. Moreover, Krantinaari's song on PCOS was even used for a programme in the rural villages of Rajasthan conducted by an international NGO, Save The Child Foundation.
A similar campaign by the same NGO has also been recently conducted in Vasai, around Mumbai, in collaboration with Wild Wild Women, where the group distributed free sanitary napkins to the menstruators. Talking about being part of the initiative, Krantinaari says, "Let us all be aware of the social issues that need our attention and be part of the change."
Amidst all of this, what the group does not forget is a determined mindset to fight the patriarchal setup encircling their passion. And they fight it right - not with the muscles but music.