‘India is listening to’ is a look at what music is wildly popular in the country at the moment, and whether it’s worth your time.
Divine is one of the most prominent voices in Indian Hip hop. From being a partial inspiration for the Zoya Akhtar directorial Gully Boy to being the first Indian artist signed by Hip Hop stalwart Nas and Universal Music Group’s record label Mass Appeal India, Divine has firmly cemented his place as one of India’s Hip Hop heavyweights. His latest track, “Kohinoor,” is a nod to where he is from and who he is.
“Kohinoor” starts out with a short intro and as soon as that ends, the song is relentless. It’s hard to break this song up into verses or hooks or anything you’d find in a more pop-oriented Hip Hop song. Divine starts rapping and doesn’t let up for a staggering two minutes. Much like Nas, the artist that signed him, Divine aims to prove that his songs don’t need a chorus to be compelling.
Divine’s calibre as a rapper who can write gripping lyrics is beyond question at this point. But his reintroduction to the world through Mass Appeal needed a song that showcased his skill, and let people outside of India know who he is. As such, the blistering verse includes various references to Mumbai, his crew, and even Gully Boy.
It’s not a perfect song though. There is a change in the beat late in the song that feels entirely out of place. The change from the sample running through the track to trap drums is jarring and odd.
All in all, “Kohinoor” is a track on which Divine puts his best on display for the world to see.
Who will love it: Fans of Divine, fans of chorus-less Hip Hop.
The Good: Divine’s lyrics and flow.
The Bad: The odd beat change towards the end.
The Verdict: “Kohinoor” may not be for everyone, but Divine uses it to assert his place in Indian Hip Hop.