As season 10 of talent competition India’s Got Talent enters its quarter-finals, Sikkim hip-hop artist UNB aka Ugen Bhatia remains a key contender proving his worth amidst dance troupes, fusion bands and even a magician.

Looking back at the journey from starting his record label Kauso in 2017 – it now has over 527,000 subscribers – he calls it a rollercoaster time. “It’s a challenge. Thoda exposure toh mil raha hai [I’m getting a bit of exposure from it] but I’m looking forward to going out and making more music,” he says

Previously part of the more hip-hop centric reality show MTV Hustle 2.0 earlier this year, UNB understands that there’s a wholly different audience to work on for India’s Got Talent. One of the reasons to enter – perhaps apart from an early exit from MTV Hustle 2.0 – was that UNB could reach Indian households of millions who may not have been fully acquainted with rap. Sure, one of the judges includes pop/hip-hop star Badshah – along with actors Kirron Kher and Shilpa Shetty Kundra – but UNB says he wanted to represent his community and the North East regions on the show. “Coming from Sikkim, I thought this was one of the good mediums to get out there and go places. That’s what’s happening right now,” he says.

The key focus in the songs that UNB performs – like “Sahi Hai” and his recent single “Faschuka Hu” – is that there’s entertainment value and a message. “I’m learning to write those kind of songs as well. Things are going good,” he adds. With star guests like Vicky Kaushal coming by and adding their own praise for artists like UNB, he admits there’s a bit of pressure being in the spotlight. “I’m just being real […] I keep it very simple so that everyone understands,” the rapper adds.

UNB is not a lone hip-hop figure on Indian primetime T.V. by any measure and he knows that Indian hip-hop is pretty much everywhere these days. “Kaafi accha scene hai [it’s a good scene], to represent the hip-hop community,” he adds.

On the back of the reach that he’s got from the show, there are international shows being planned in the U.K. and possibly Australia, alongside India shows. He adds, “I’m planning to drop a couple of projects, as soon as I come out of India’s Got Talent. I also want to focus on bringing more underground and underrated artists from Sikkim and other states in the North East on Kauso Records now.”