DIVINE Talks Gully Boy, His Debut Album ‘Kohinoor’, Launching Gully Gang Entertainment & Much More


Unarguably, one of India’s biggest music acts at the moment, DIVINE has taken over the country by storm in recent months following the recent release and emphatic success of Bollywood’s latest take on Indian hip-hop with ‘Gully Boy‘. Having delivered several hard hitting records over the past few years and spearheading Mumbai’s hip-hop movement, the lyrical mastermind has quickly gone on to become a modern day superstar in its truest sense. And as he gears up for what promises to be his biggest year till date, we caught up with DIVINE himself ahead of his headlining performance at BUDX in Mumbai this coming weekend to talk about his rapid rise, working on Gully Boy, his debut album and much more.

Read on.


TBB: Hi Vivian! How are you doing?

Divine: Tired and energetic at the same time! Just got back from my first trip to New York and I must say it’s been inspiring.


TBB: Being one of the most prominent faces of your genre, how do you reflect back on a blockbuster Bollywood movie like ‘Gully Boy’ which has now suddenly seeded the idea of what ‘Indian hip-hop’ can be in the heads of millions of people around the country?

Divine: I think the response that the movie has received is fantastic, and the fact that it has helped people understand what hip-hop – to some extent – is great. But now the onus is on us, the hip-hop community to make sure that we don’t lose this momentum.


TBB: Your work is present all over the place on ‘Gully Boy’. And when we talk about the movie’s OST, what can you tell us about creating an anthem like ‘Azadi’ which borrows from Dub Sharma’s widely popular and bold original?

Divine: ‘Azadi’ tackles issues that I have been writing about in my songs as well, so from that perspective it was nothing out of the ordinary. But Dub Sharma had managed to capture the mood of a nation in that beat, which worked even in the movie.

TBB: ‘Gully Rap’ has always been at the heart of Mumbai’s underground hip-hop movement for several years now. With pioneers like Naezy and you spearheading that style alongside various other crews, what are your thoughts on that approach suddenly being imitated in recent times?

Divine: I believe that if you are authentic, success will find you. People can try and imitate a style, but unless you have something of value to say, it makes little difference.


TBB: Your ascension from being one of India’s hottest emerging acts to becoming the poster boy of Indian hip-hop has managed to inspire a whole generation. And with that heavy reputation which is now associated with your voice and rhymes that represents the common man, how do you deal with the expectations which surround you?

Divine: I spoke the truth, I wrote from the heart and people heard it, and liked it. I believe that if I continue doing that, continue being honest to my art, people will respect that.


TBB: Moving on to bigger things, you recently launched your independent new venture, Gully Gang Entertainment. Can you tell us a bit about it and what you hope to achieve with the brand in the months to come?

Divine: I intend making Gully Gang Entertainment the laboratory for everything hip-hop in India. It will have its own record label, Gully Gang Records, where not only will I release my own music but also of other, exciting hip-hop talent in India; I want to do more live music IPs like Gully Fest all over the country and help give emerging talent a bigger platform. I am so excited about the hip-hop talent in this country, and I want to do everything to push the genre.


Photo Credit: Gltch

TBB: Budweiser Experiences and you recently officiated the beginning of a year-long partnership which arrives on the heels of the massive success of ‘Gully Boy’. Can you shed some light on the collaboration at hand?

Divine: Budweiser is a great supporter of the creative arts and has been known to be so globally, since many decades. While I can’t share too many details of the collaboration, I can say that exciting times lay ahead for me, and the fans! More on that soon!

TBB: In a recent interview with Ebro Darden on Beats 1, you talked about your debut album, ‘Kohinoor’. How did you land on the album title? And what can we expect from this long awaited body of work?

Divine: Kohinoor, diamond in the dirt. Pretty symbolic of my life story, don’t you think? It’s grand, I agree but I also feel like my first album should have that aura around it. I want it to be the best representation of my sound and of me as an artist.


TBB: Talking about fresh new talents, are there any rising acts from the hip-hop scene on your map whom we should keep an eye out for?

Divine: There are so many that I am so excited about, and a look at the Gully Gang showcase this weekend at BUDx should give you some answers!


TBB: The stage is all set for Divine to conquer 2019! What all can you possibly reveal to us at this point of time regarding your plans for the rest of the year?

Divine: Lots more great music, and lots more shows, and my debut album!