On a personal note: DIVINE

An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention.

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | June 3, 2019 | Delhi


#rap   #hip-hop   #music   #Gully Gang Entertainment   #Gully Boy   #interview   #DIVINE   #bollywood   #Mumbai  


An underground rapper who grew up on Mumbai streets, Divine spins his music around his environment and poverty. His breakout single, ‘Meri Gully Mein’, along with fellow rapper Naezy caught Bollywood’s attention. The Hindi film ‘Gully Boy’ is inspired by their lives and grossed '237 crore globally. It is the second highest earning film of 2019 and the highest earning Bollywood film overseas.    

 
Music to you means: Life!
 
Tell us about your relationship with Naezy: Naezy is a dear friend and an artist who I respect a lot. It’s incredible how far we’ve come over the years!
 
From underground subculture to mainstream Bollywood. How is life after ‘Gully Boy’? It’s busy, it’s exciting, and all my energies are now focused on finishing my debut album. 
 
How did your surroundings and environment shape your profession? Hip-hop gave my thoughts a voice. It gave me a way out. I didn’t want to end up like people in my neighbourhood. I wanted a better life for myself, and hip-hop gave me the hope and the skills to do that.
 
How has alternative culture and YouTube helped you in building your career? YouTube, out of all the platforms, has given everyone a dream in their eyes the chance to make their dreams a reality. Whether you live in the big city or a small town, if you have a talent, YouTube gives you the platform. YouTube got me the attention and ears when I was starting out, and even today I love reading the comments of support and encouragement I get on it.
 
How do you see hip hop and rap music evolving in India? Everyone has a platform today… the rap scene isn’t just me and Naezy but so many more rappers, b-boys, producers. Hip-hop speaks to everyone, irrespective of your postal code. That is hip-hop’s biggest strength.
 
Tell us about your company, Gully Gang Entertainment: I intend to make Gully Gang Entertainment the one-stop shop for everything hip-hop in India. It will have its own record label, Gully Gang Records, where not only I will release my own music but also of others – exciting hip-hop talent in India. I want to do more live music IPs like Gully Fest all over the country and give emerging talent a bigger platform. I am also very, very excited about releasing my debut album very soon. 
 
What are the challenges for new talent in music industry? Talent – be it in any field, anywhere in the world – needs someone to believe in them, and an opportunity. That could mean more support in the form of training, infrastructure, gigs, money, mentors, etc.
 
Your greatest inspiration? My mother!
 
How does the social and political climate in the country affect your creative expression? I have seen life, poverty, helplessness, abuse, government apathy from close quarters. That’s the world I come from.
 
Major challenges India is facing today: We are a young nation with a young demographic, and while we have made many great strides, we still face issues at many levels ranging from access to clean water, affordable housing and food, and problems like rising unemployment and social issues. Then there is of course corruption, which is the root cause of all that affects us.
 
At the moment you are busy with? ‘Kohinoor’, my debut album!
 
Your future plans? To release ‘Kohinoor’, and make more music! I also want to push forward the next wave of hip-hop talent in India!

– As told to Geetanjali Minhas

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