Yelhomie performing in a gig
Courtesy: Facebook

Yelhomie: Young Manipuri Rapper Winning Hearts

Through his music, Yelhomie is vocal about the problems and issues that have plagued the Manipuri society. He is not afraid to raise his voice and feels that someone needs to speak up when the freedom of speech has been bullied and oppressed over the years

January 20, 2022

Thiyam James Luwang, alias Yelhomie, is an independent musician from Manipur, specialising in rapping and hip-hop. Though young, Yelhomie is quite popular in the music fraternity, not just here in the northeast but across the country.

James decided to pick the state name as it represents the people of Manipur. Yelhomie means the indigenous people of Manipur.

The love and craze for music began at quite a young age, and Yelhomie was only six years old when he wrote his first lyrics and released his debut song when he was in Class VII. Yelhomie joined a three-piece Manipur rap band when he was in Class XI, and from hereon, his journey as a musician began to take a concrete shape.

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Yelhomie's mother has been his pillar of strength in his journey. Being a single parent, his mother encouraged him to pursue his dream and stood beside him like a rock, helping him overcome the challenges he had ever encountered. He says that only a handful of people will have confidence in him. Most of his friends and relatives doubted his calibre and wrote him off even before he started. However, his determination and grit proved all his critics wrong, and he achieved new heights. Today, the young musician owns a studio where, apart from producing his music, he also lends a helping hand to fellow musicians. He also launched a record label named Yelhomie Entertainment.

Speaking about his music, Yelhomie said that apart from writing about light-hearted issues and romance, he also writes hard-core lyrics that speak about the government, corruption, society, racism, and the people of Manipur. Through his music, Yelhomie is vocal about the problems and issues that have plagued Manipuri society. He is not afraid to raise his voice and feels that someone needs to speak up when freedom of speech has been bullied and oppressed over the years.

Nobody from the Northeast is one of the most popular songs by Yelhomie, which had a huge impact not just on the Manipuri music industry but on the north-eastern society as a whole. The song was an eye-opener for those who knew little or nothing about the northeast and its culture and problems. The song took the northeast closer to the "mainlanders," who mainly had a narrow and vague perception of the northeast.

Yelhomie not only wants to work in the northeast or keep his association only with the region's music industry, but he also dreams of working in Bollywood films someday. He says he loves Bollywood music and feels that rap music has evolved over the years. A rap artist from Manipur working in Bollywood films will inspire many youths to take up rap music as a career, says the young artist. He feels that an artist should not confine singing to just one language, as one should explore singing in different languages. Though his Hindi is weak and he enjoys rapping in English, singing in Hindi in the future is not out of the question.

The young musician further said that it is difficult to sustain as a rapper, and one must always have a Plan B ready. Yelhomie has performed in several cafes and gigs where people have loved his performances and made them his fans.

Watch Yelhomie's music video here.

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