The moment I heard him, I fell in love – with his words. Yamabuddha’s words are powerful but even more powerful is the way he delivers them. An emcee, rapper and poet he recently came out with his mix tape and is already popular as a rapper on youtube and Facebook with 3520 (and counting) likes for his page. “I prefer being called an emcee rather than a rapper. I can rap, I recite spoken word poetry, I can just speak over the mic and inspire you with my words,” he says with a certainty. Most people who have seen him on stage or heard his songs would agree.

Now in his early twenties, Yamabuddha started writing fifteen years ago. He used to write poems as a kid in Nepali but he “fell for hip hop” during his mid teen ages. “Someone had written the name ‘Tupac Shakur’ on the board back in college. I didn’t know what or who he was and was curious to find out. This is how I first came across hip hop and rapping,” shares Yamabuddha.

Yamabuddha officially started writing his own tracks after ghost writing for a well known Nepali hip hop artist (whose name he wouldn’t reveal). Now he has 16 full tracks of his own on a CD and 21 tracks on youtube both in Nepali as well as English.

“I like to be versatile and experiment,” he says. “I like to tell stories through my songs,” he adds and I am reminded of two of his songs, ‘Sathi’ and ‘Yo Prasanga’ which tell touching stories of a person who died of drug abuse and of the struggles of being born a woman in a predominantly male society.

Yamabuddha…how did the name come to be? I ask. He smiles to tell me: “When I was in London, I visited a museum there. On one photograph there, it was written that Buddha was born in India. I was sad to see that. So when I needed a stage name to participate in a rap battle, I called myself Buddha. One of my friends, after listening to my songs suggested that since my songs included some fierce emotions as well, the name ‘Buddha’ alone did not suit me much. Hence, I added Yama to it, in reference to the god of death.”

Hip Hop, he believes is something that the youth of today can hold on to. He has seen people’s lives change because of Hip Hop, he says. “The youth today are under a lot of pressure. They lack a proper platform to channel their energies,” says Yamabuddha who believes in the power of creative expression.

Talking about the genre of Hip Hop itself, he feels that most people have yet to understand what Hip Hop is all about. “What you see in the commercial media is misleading. Hip Hop is all about whatever goes into the society and giving back to it,” he elaboratesopining that the situation of Hip Hop in Nepal is hopeful. Earlier he had been inspired by Nepali Hip Hop artists such as Nepsydaz who he says, have shown that something of that caliber was also possible here in Nepal.

Yamabuddha is all about expression and he believes in the same. “When you begin to express yourself, you realize there are people who can relate to you.” He says “The most important thing is to be yourself; to not forget your roots”.