Talking to about why he does not have a stage name, the 31-year-old rapper had the best reply.
"I thought I got a cool name already because Dino James can be a stage name but it’s my real name and it sounds cool. Also sounds like a rapper," he said.
Dino comes from a humble Malayalam background. His father Jimmy James worked as an electrician. The rapper hails from a village in Madhya Pradesh.
Was his family supporting his decision of making music for a living?
"No, they had no clue what exactly I was doing. I was in Bombay and I was trying to do everything. So you have to prove it to the world. They’re no different," said the rapper, who has often taken inspiration from his life experiences for his songs such as ‘Unstoppable’, ‘Yaadein’ and ‘Maa’.
"I release 1 song then two three. So when people started accepting it, people started listening to it. I’m from a Mallu family, so they don’t understand English. So they are like, he’s happy and he’s not doing anything bad and they are very much happy with that," added the rapper, whose debut album ‘D’ came out in 2022.
Now that he has made it big, Dino enjoys a big fan following. He currently has a whopping 1 million followers on Instagram. His latest track ‘Woh’ with rappers Bashah and Ikka has garnered over 27 million views since its release three months ago.
Realism, Dino feels is the reason why his music touches so many hearts.
He said: "I think I was very real. I’m still very real in whatever I write, so I did not do hip hop just for the sake of doing Hip-Hop or because it’s cool or it’s in right now. I did it because of the pure reason why hip-hop originated."
"They said that I wanted to talk, that I wanted to speak, that I know the way to express how I’m feeling to the world. That reflected to the listener and they heard it and they said that what is happening with us is also happening with him and it feels good to listen."
Even though the pot is hot for hip-hop in the country, Dino feels there is still more scope for the genre in the country.
"We haven’t reached the ceiling yet. There is so much scope left and things left. There’s so much creativity left, people are aware about hip, but there’s so many things left that we can do," he said on a positive note.
And social media is helping.
When asked how has social media affected the rap scene in India, pat came the reply from Dino: "In a huge way because there were no labels actually trying to help rappers when I did it, actually, I did it all on my own."
"I did not get any backing. I did all my things through my channel on social media. So the positive side of social media is that you can genuinely spread your craft and reach somewhere."
Dino was seen performing in Bhubaneswar for Seagram’s Royal Stag presents Royal Stag Boombox, a first-of-its-kind musical experience.
Talking about how performing at an event like this or a music festival helps in creating awareness about a music genre or an artist, he said: "It’s a scale and if we actually do it, we cannot have this kind of production. We cannot have this kind of setup, to reach out to people."
"When a brand believes and collaborates with you, it has that kind of a power to broadcast your songs to a different stage also So its a plus point. It is always helpful to have a power behind this."