Calgary rap duo Cartel Madras signed to Sub-Pop record label

Sub-Pop announced Monday it has signed sisters Bhagya and Priya Ramesh, who go by the stage names Eboshi and Contra.

Sisters Eboshi and Contra are set to play Sled Island on June 21

From left to right: Priya and Bhagya's mother, Geetha Ramesh, Vivek Shraya, Priya Ramesh and Bhagya Ramesh. The rap duo have been signed to a label. (Ryan Tram (Yung Kamaji))

Started at the bottom now we're here — Calgary-based rap duo Cartel Madras could soon be reaching Drake-sized audiences, after being signed to a storied record label.

Sub-Pop announced Monday it has signed sisters Bhagya and Priya Ramesh, who go by the stage names Eboshi and Contra.

The pair were born in Madras (now known as Chennai), India, and pioneer a new genre of rap music they call "Goonda rap," which means "thug" in South Asian circles. 

They've said in past interviews they want to use their music to explore their identity as queer women of colour.

"Excitement is the main ingredient of their magic. On record and on stage they glow under the spotlight. They're electric, totally tapped into the current. And c'mon, two fly sisters spitting heat? Real rare … it's too good," said Ishmael Butler of Sub-Pop in a release.

The label, which major label Warner Music has a 49 per cent stake in, has also represented acts like Nirvana, Modest Mouse and Sonic Youth, and Calgary acts Chad VangGaalen and Chixdiggit. 

Cartel Madras will be playing Sled Island in Calgary on June 21.


  • An earlier version of this story said Warner Music owned Sup-Pop. While Warner Music does have a large stake in the label, Sub-Pop remains independent.
    Jun 18, 2019 2:39 PM MT


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