RAFTAAR aka. Dilin Nair is an Indian rapper, lyricist, TV personality, dancer, and music composer. He began his career in rap in 2008 with LIL GOLU and Young Amli (aka IKKA). before starting his career in rapping Raftaar used to take dance classes, and he was eventually a professional dancer. He went on to participate in Dance India Dance as a contestant.
At the start of his career his stage name was MAXXX (MA TRIPLE X). After grinding out some good songs, the trio (MAXXX, LIL GOLU, and YOUNG AMLI) in their crew named “Black Wall Street Desis” got attention from Yo Yo Honey Singh and Badshah. Later the five of them formed a group called MAFIA MUNDEER. Only a few may know that it was Honey Singh who gave names to RAFTAAR, LIL GOLU, and IKKA. Down the road the group got split up due to some credit issues. From there, Raftaar was supported by Ankit Khanna who introduced him to the Punjabi music band RDB, who then signed him onto their label, Three Records. Soon after the split between the RDB members, Raftaar joined with Manjeet Ral (now known as Manj Musik).
A STAR WAS FOUND
After he got signed with Manj Music, Raftaar released a hardcore track titled SWAG MERA DESI which totally shook the hip hop community with hard lyrics and a dope beat. SWAG MERA DESI then trended all over India. He won the “Best Urban Single” award for SWAG MERA DESI with Manj Musik at the Brit Asia TV Music Awards. Raftaar released his debut mixtape WTF – Witness The Future in 2013. He debuted in Bollywood in 2013 with his song TAMANCHE PE DISCO starring Sonakshi Sinha and Saif Ali Khan which became a major hit song of its time.
After debuting in Bollywood Raftaar started releasing some biggest hit songs like WHISTLE BAJA, TOH DISHOOM, ALL BLACK, LAK HILAADE, etc. In 2017 he got signed with Zee Music Company and released his album ZERO TO INFINITY which was a major hit as its intro song BABY MARVAKE MAANEGI hit controversies for its sarcastic name. In 2020 he released another album called MR. NAIR which is basically his surname, which also hit millions of streams.
THE REAL AIM
In many of his interviews Raftaar said that it was never his goal to become so famous. He just uses music as a medium to express his feelings and to raise social issues, as said on his song AAGE CHAL:
“Chalo band karta hu ye baate maine hawa main failladi thodi seriousness aise gaane hi karunga promote kharchunga yehi note chahe views aaye less.”
To put it simply, he will raise social issues and it does not matter if he gets views or not. For example, he released THAPPAD (which talks about problems faced by women), MANTOIYAT (talks about how people are oppressing women), TU PHIR SE AANA (a struggle of a teenage girl who faced many problems during lockdown), or MASK ON (about how our weak government is unable to save the economy from the pandemic). He also released motivational songs like PROUD, AAGE CHAL, STAND UP, etc.
RAFTAAR and his manager jointly hold a label called KALAMKAAR MUSIC which was previously known as DNH gang. It may sound unpleasant but in 2017 in an interview Emiway Bantai said that he was also joining DNH Gang, but later Emiway and Raftaar had beef with each other.
Current artists signed under Kalamkaar –
BEEF WITH EMIWAY BANTAI
Raftaar had some really public beef with Emiway Bantai in 2018. It all started with an interview in which he said “is Emiway earning right now? People should listen to him.” Emiway took offense to this and released his first diss track SAMAJH MEIN AAYA KYA, and then Raftaar responded with SHEIKH CHILLI. Emiway again came with another diss called GIRAFTAAR and Raftaar responded with AWEIN HAI. The last diss was released by Bantai called KHATAM. This was the time hip hop got really big in India and for the first time a hip hop song crossed 100 million views on YouTube. After that Gully Boy released which took hip hop to the very next level in India.
From working at a Levis showroom to hosting MTV HUSTLE, MTV ROADIES, and DANCE INDIA DANCE, one can clearly see how Raftaar went from zero to infinity.