Cartel Madras

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Cartel Madras
OriginCalgary, AB
GenresHip Hop
Years active2017-present
LabelsSub Pop, Royal Mountain Records
  • Contra

Cartel Madras is a Canadian hip hop duo from Calgary, Alberta, consisting of sisters Priya "Contra" Ramesh and Bhagya "Eboshi" Ramesh.[1][2] The duo released their debut mixtape, Project Goonda Part 1: Trapistan, in 2018.[3][4][5] In 2019, they signed to Sub Pop and Royal Mountain Records and their EP, Age of the Goonda, was released on November 1.[6][7]


Both sisters emigrated from Chennai, India and identify as queer women of colour.[2] The formation of Cartel Madras was inspired by a performance by Princess Nokia.[1] They classify their music as "Goonda Rap”, a play on a term used in South Asian circles to describe a "thug".[1][2] The duo cite M.I.A., Scarface, and Freddie Gibbs as influences.[8]


Cartel Madras began by releasing songs on their Soundcloud.[4] Their debut mixtape Project Goonda Part 1: Trapistan was released in 2018 and was self produced. The duo helped develop a collective known as THOTPOLICE which consists of close collaborators like Jae Sterling, yungkamaji, and Jide.[2] The lead single for the mixtape was titled "Pork and Leek".[3] Later that year, Cartel Madras played at Pop Montreal, opening for Cupcakke.[3]

In 2019, Cartel Madras won $10,000 from the Telus Storyhive grant to film a music video for "Eric Andre (Slick Rick James)".[2] The music video featured cameos from K.d. lang and Vivek Shraya and was released in May 2019.[9][2] They also appeared on the Snotty Nose Rez Kids album TRAPLINE.[10] In 2019, Sub Pop announced they had signed Cartel Madras and that new music was being worked on.[6] The duo announced an EP, Age of the Goonda, to be released on November 1, 2019.[7] Two singles were released in the lead up to the EP release, "Lil Pump Type Beat" and "Goonda Gold".[11] After the EP release, the duo announced a series of Canadian tour dates, opening for Hollerado, Fetty Wap, and Clipping.[12]



Project Goonda Part 1: Trapistan (2018)


Age of the Goonda (2019)


"Pork and Leek" (2018)

"Lil Pump Type Beat" (2019)

"Goonda Gold" (2019)


  1. ^ a b c "Calgary-based hip-hop group redefines 'coolness' by simply existing | The Star". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Calgary-based hip-hop duo Cartel Madras draws attention — and music video cameos — from some big names". CBC Music. Feb 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Get Familiar with Cartel Madras: Watch the Video for "Pork and Leek" Now". Complex. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  4. ^ a b "Chennai Meets Calgary: Cartel Madras Put Trap on the Map -". Rolling Stone India. 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  5. ^ Barutowicz, Aldona (2019-04-02). "Indo-Calgarian Rappers Cartel Madras are a Study in Juxtaposition and Harmony". Avenue Calgary. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  6. ^ a b "Calgary-Based Rap Duo Cartel Madras Sign to Sub Pop". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  7. ^ a b "Fall 2019 guide: 17 albums you need to hear". CBC Music.
  8. ^ "Cartel Madras Pave a New Path of Visibility with 'Age of the Goonda'". Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  9. ^ Lau, Melody (April 24, 2020). "Cartel Madras wants to introduce you to Calgary's new hip-hop scene". CBC Music.
  10. ^ "Snotty Nose Rez Kids Move Quickly From Polaris Prize Short List to New Album 'Rez Bangers & KoolaPops'". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  11. ^ "Cartel Madras Share "Goonda Gold" Video". Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  12. ^ "Watch: Cartel Madras' Explosive New Single 'Goonda Gold' -". 2019-10-08. Retrieved 2019-12-15.