ENTERING THE fray as an underground rap artiste in 2011, Divine rose to fame in 2013 with the release of his single Yeh Mera Bombay, which caught the attention of record label Song Music India.
They were quick to tie him down to a contract. Ever since, the Mumbai-based rapper has come a long way. After the success of Gully Boy (2019), a film that brought attention to the rap and hip-hop scene in the country, Divine, an artiste who has only released singles, is finally out with his first ever album.
Excerpts from an interview:
How big was it for you to bag an international record company for the album?
It’s a huge deal for any hip-hop artiste, let alone an Indian hip-hop artiste. I think this will help bring so much more attention and support to the movement here in India. It can only mean good things for the scene.
You’re known to not indulge in too much dialogue with record labels on pondering to mass demand. How important is it to be true to your art?
It’s definitely essential. It’s probably the only thing that matters. The moment you cater to trends or pay attention to what people think about you, or what you are expected to do, people will see through you. Being honest and authentic is key.
You have an aggressive style of rapping. In the track Kohinoor, you’ve mentioned artistes who indulge in plagiarism. What’s your take on it?
If you say what you mean, and if you have something to say, you don’t need to copy others’ words. The sooner you develop your style and your flow, the better. Speaking of the album, it wasn’t just about spitting verses. There are a lot of things that interest me, excite me and songs such as Too hype with Sid Sriram, and Chal Bombay are an effort to bring that other side out.
After the film Gully Boy, Indian rap has got mainstream attention. How much credit do you take for that?
I alone am not responsible for getting the scene the attention it is getting. There are a lot of rap artistes who have made that possible. Yes, I might be the face of Indian hip-hop and I do believe that I have a style and flow that’s mine and unique, and not something a lot of people in the scene can claim to have.
How long does it take to write a track? Why is the album called Kohinoor?
It could take minutes or days. It totally depends on my mood, what I am thinking, what’s on my mind. There is no set pattern but I try and complete a song in a day. Kohinoor means mountain of light, and we as a hip-hop scene are in the limelight. It is time to take over.