Divine (rapper)

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DIVINE
Vivian Wilson Fernandes
Birth nameVivian Wilson Fernandes
Born (1990-10-02) 2 October 1990 (age 31)
Andheri, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • Lyricist
  • Actor
Years active2010–present
Labels

Vivian Wilson Fernandes (born 2 October 1990), better known by his stage name DIVINE, is an Indian rapper and songwriter from Mumbai, Maharashtra. He started to gain popularity after the release of his song "Yeh Mera Bombay" (2013). He broke through with the release of his song "Mere Gully Mein" (2019) featuring fellow Mumbai rapper Naezy. On 12 December 2020, DIVINE became the first Indian rapper to be featured on Spotify Times Square billboard in New York City for his album "Punya Paap" (2020), which had claimed the top spot on Apple Music India.[1] He made his debut at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in 2022 becoming the first Indian hip-hop star to attend the Grammys.[2]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

DIVINE started his career as an underground rapper in 2011 after discovering hip hop on a T-shirt. A friend of his wore a T-shirt of 50 Cent's first album Get Rich or Die Tryin' at school. The same friend would give him his first MP3 CD with hip hop music on it which inspired him to start rapping in English.[3] He was part of the hip hop crew Mumbai's Finest. He often raps about his own life experiences, such as the life of the poor people in Mumbai and his upbringing with a single mother. He cites American rappers such as Nas, Eminem, Big L, Tupac, 50 Cent and Rakim as his influences.[3][4]

Rise to success[edit]

Following the release of his song "Yeh Mera Bombay", DIVINE obtained the attention of Sony Music India[5] while performing at the Blue Frog Festival 2014 in Mumbai, and shortly after signed a contract with them. The song later won the Best Video of the Year award by Rolling Stone India that same year. He released his breakout single "Mere Gully Mein" featuring Naezy on 16 April 2015. The song went viral and many Bollywood celebrities shared it on social media.[6] He collaborated with Indian DJ Nucleya on the track "Jungle Raja" from Nucleya's album Bass Rani, which helped him gain even more popularity. The song won Best EDM track of the Year at the GiMA Awards in 2016.

On 24 March 2016, his debut solo single "Jungli Sher" was released and it ruled the charts because of its raw depiction of the life of the poor in Mumbai. He took the song to the Breakfast Show ahead of BBC Asian Network Live on 29 April 2016. He appeared on the BBC Asian Network on the Charlie Sloth Show; he was the first Hindi-speaking rapper to freestyle on the show and also the first to rap in Hindi with the name-giving host in attendance. He was also featured on Brapp TV.[7]

DIVINE also collaborated with Nucleya on another hit track, "Scene Kya Hai" off Nucleya's album Raja Baja. He was featured on "Daru Daru" with Deep Jandu and Gangis Khan, his first commercially oriented song, which came out on 10 January 2017. His next solo single, "Farak", was released on 16 February 2017 and topped the Indipop charts on iTunes India.[8]

He appeared as a feature on the record City Slums by Indian-American rapper/singer/songwriter Raja Kumari in May 2017. The song received 2 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release.[9]

In 2018, DIVINE terminated his contract with Sony Music India. He released a remix to Lil Pump's "Gucci Gang" called "Gully Gang" independently on 18 January 2018. The song was perceived well by both critics and fans and helped him garner more attention. On 5 April 2018, he followed up with "One Side" produced by Byg Byrd. The video was produced by Red Bull Media House and came out on the rapper's own YouTube channel.

His next single, "Teesri Manzil", earned him a copyright strike from Zee Music Company a few hours after its release and was deleted from his channel. It was eventually re-released on 14 December 2018 with some changes in the lyrics. He released "Junoon", the intro to his upcoming first full-length album, on 10 November 2018. The album's name, Kohinoor, was announced on 13 February 2019 on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio show hosted by Ebro Darden. The album release was announced to be sometime in April 2019 but was finally released later. In July 2019, DIVINE released a documentary film about his career so far entitled Gully Life - The Story of DIVINE. It first aired on TV on channels such as the Discovery Channel and was released on DIVINE's YouTube channel a week later.[10]

On 20 August 2019, Nas' Mass Appeal Records and Universal Music India launched Mass Appeal India and signed DIVINE. Universal Music Group and Mass Appeal jointly took the step to take him to India and globalize the Indian hip-hop scene.[11] On 20 August 2019, in an interview with Nas published on Mass Appeal India's YouTube channel,[12] and Universal Music India's Facebook Page,[13] Nas revealed that DIVINE's debut album Kohinoor was set to release soon. It was released on 9 October 2019 and features all-new tracks recorded specifically for the album.

In 2021, GQ's global editions nominated a local artist across a world of genres and DIVINE was among the 21 most exciting young musicians.[14] DIVINE appeared on a cover of the Metallica song "The Unforgiven" with Vishal Dadlani and Shor Police, for the charity tribute album The Metallica Blacklist, released in September 2021.

In 2021, DIVINE won the award for Best Indian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Film contributions[edit]

DIVINE made his Bollywood debut for the film Mukkabaaz with the song "Paintra". The track was another collaboration with Nucleya and was released on 1 December 2017. He collaborated with famous Indian music director and singer Amit Trivedi for the Irrfan Khan-starring film Blackmail on the song "Badla", which was released on 16 March 2018 via T-Series. DIVINE also contributed to the soundtrack for Sacred Games,[15][16] an Indian Netflix original series. It features his song "Jungli Sher" as well as "Kaam 25" produced by Indo-Canadian producer Phenom, which was made specifically for the series. Its music video was released on 14 June 2018 on both DIVINE's and Netflix's YouTube channels, with the version on Netflix featuring English subtitles.

DIVINE most notably contributed to the soundtrack of Gully Boy by Zoya Akhtar, a 2019 film inspired by the lives of Naezy and himself, with Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in the lead roles. DIVINE and Naezy both helped as consultants to get an authentic representation of hip hop culture for the film. Their song "Mere Gully Mein" was remade with Ranveer Singh rapping Naezy's lyrics as part of the film. DIVINE provided additional rap lyrics for Ranveer Singh's character and composed some of the songs for the original soundtrack. A promotional single featuring American artist Nas as well as Naezy, DIVINE and Ranveer Singh was released on JioSaavn shortly prior to the film's release.

Punya Paap[edit]

On 20 September 2020 DIVINE appeared on the international remix of "Bando Diaries" by UK rapper Dutchavelli alongside OneFour from Australia, Noizy from Albania and Kekra from France. On 23 September 2020 he released his new song and video, "Punya Paap", on Mass Appeal India's YouTube channel. It was announced to be the first single off his second album, also entitled Punya Paap.

On 16 October 2020 he released "Mirchi", the second single from the album. The song with its prominent baile funk sound was well received with over 8 million views on YouTube in five days

Another track from the album, "Mera Bhai", had its music video launched on 6 November 2020. The animated video portrays a story where one of DIVINE's childhood friends betrays him out of jealousy, and end with DIVINE's message to the listeners to trust no one but themselves in today's world.

His second album, Punya Paap, was released on 3 December 2020, under the label Mass Appeal India. It consists of 11 tracks, with features from Nas, Cocoa Sarai, Dutchavelli, Stylo G, D'Evil, MC Altaf, Lisa Mishra and Phenom. The album has a blend of old school 808 patterns and new heavy, trap-hop beats with a lot of sampled loops, produced by some of the finest producers from the Indian hip hop scene, including Stunnah Beatz, iLL Wayno, and Karan Kanchan. The album has an overall ominous theme, and chronicles DIVINE's struggles and rise to the top in the Indian hip hop scene.

DIVINE took to Instagram Live to host a listening party of the album's tracks over Spotify, which was attended in large numbers. He also released more music videos that dropped in the subsequent days.

Gully Gang Entertainment[edit]

In February 2019 DIVINE announced the founding of a new company, Gully Gang Entertainment, a venture that includes a record label "Gully Gang Records", to recruit and produce hip hop talent in the Mumbai area.[17] The song "Gully Gang Cypher"[18] released on 22 May 2019 as the first collaboration of the label's artists such as the emerging rap quartet Aavrutti, solo hip-hop artists D’Evil, MC Altaf and Shah Rule as well as music producer Karan Kanchan.[19][20]

Gully Gang Entertainment saw success and got respect from all over the country and beyond. Gully Gang Entertainment as a label and a music company has paved way for the Mumbai hip hop scene. But artists from outside of Mumbai too have been signed, for instance, 100RBH from Amravati and Tsumyoki from Goa.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Track Artist(s) Written by Producer(s)
2019 Kohinoor Kohinoor DIVINE DIVINE, Benny Solomon iLL Wayno
Wallah DIVINE ft. Shah Rule DIVINE, Phenom, Xplicit Xplicit & Phenom
Gandhi Money DIVINE DIVINE, Phenom Phenom
Nas Interlude (Skit) DIVINE ft. Nas DIVINE, Nas, Phenom Phenom
Vibe Hai DIVINE ft. Aavrutti, D'Evil & Shah Rule DIVINE, D'Evil, NDS, Frenzzy, Saifan, Sammohit, Sledge, Shah Rule NDS
Chal Bombay DIVINE DIVINE, iLL Wayno, Phenom Phenom & iLLWayno
Remand DIVINE ft. Dave East DIVINE, Dave East, Phenom Phenom
Too Hype DIVINE ft. Sid Sriram & Sanjoy DIVINE, Julian De Grosso, Russell Ali, Sanjoy, Sid Sriram, Zach Cirino Sanjoy
2020 Punya Paap 3:59 AM DIVINE DIVINE, Stunnah Beatz, KR$NA, Bruno Coulais, Christophe Barratier Stunnah Beatz
Mera Bhai DIVINE DIVINE, Karan Kanchan Karan Kanchan
Walking Miracle DIVINE, Nas & Cocoa Sarai DIVINE, Nas, Cocoa Sarai, iLL Wayno iLL Wayno
Satya DIVINE DIVINE, Gulzar, Karan Kanchan, Vishal Karan Kanchan
Mirchi DIVINE ft. MC Altaf, Phenom & Stylo G DIVINE, MC Altaf, Phenom, Stylo G Phenom
Disco Rap DIVINE, D’Evil & MC Altaf DIVINE, MC Altaf, D’Evil, Karan Kanchan, NDS Karan Kanchan & NDS
Shehnai DIVINE DIVINE, Stunnah Beatz, Byrd Stunnah Beatz & Byrd
Rider DIVINE & Lisa Mishra DIVINE, Lisa Mishra, Shah Rule, Kanch, Stunnah Beatz, Kyle Sremberger Kanch & Stunnah Beatz
Top 5 D.O.A. DIVINE DIVINE, Stunnah Beatz Stunnah Beatz
Drill Karte DIVINE & Dutchavelli DIVINE, Dutchvelli, Stunnah Beatz Stunnah Beatz
Punya Paap DIVINE DIVINE, iLL Wayno iLL Wayno

Singles & collaborations[edit]

Year Track Artist(s) Producer(s) Note(s)
2013 Voice of the Streets DIVINE
Yeh Mera Bombay DIVINE Rjv Ernesto & Sez on the Beat
2014 ABE Sikander Kahlon ft. DIVINE From the album MOHALI MESSIAH by Sikander Kahlon
Bombay Rap Cypher 2014 Kav-e, Enkore, D'Evil, Poetik Justis & DIVINE Sez on the Beat
2015 Mere Gully Mein DIVINE ft. Naezy Sez on the Beat
Jungle Raja Nucleya ft. DIVINE Nucleya From the album Bass Rani by Nucleya
Ryder Music Sikander Kahlon ft. DIVINE From the album Last Resort by Sikander Kahlon
2016 Jungli Sher DIVINE Sez on the Beat
Mitra Da Swag Sikander Kahlon ft. DIVINE, Deep Jandu & Gangis Khan Harm Sandhu From the album werk16 by Sikander Kahlon
Scene Kya Hai Nucleya & DIVINE Nucleya From the album Raja Baja by Nucleya
2017 Daru Daru Deep Jandu ft. DIVINE & Gangis Khan Deep Jandu
Farak DIVINE Phenom
City Slums Raja Kumari ft. DIVINE Beat Busta & Jules Wolfson
2018 Gully Gang (Gucci Gang Remix) DIVINE Cyrill Gabriel (Madbus Audio)
One Side DIVINE Byg Byrd
Roots DIVINE ft. Raja Kumari K-Major
Teesri Manzil DIVINE Phenom
Junoon DIVINE Phenom Introduction track to the album Kohinoor
2019 Jungli Sher (Hip Hop Remix) DIVNE & Nilesh P. From The Dance Project (Season 1: Episode 7)
Age 19 Jass Manak ft. DIVINE Deep Jandu From the album Age 19 by Jass Manak
Bombay To Punjab Deep Jandu ft. DIVINE Deep Jandu From the album Bombay To Punjab by Deep Jandu
2020 Gully Gang Cypher, Vol. 2 Aavrutti, D'Evil, DIVINE, MC Altaf & Shah Rule Karan Kanchan
Chaabi Wala Bandar (Quality Control) DIVINE Stunnah Beatz Diss track aimed at rapper Emiway Bantai
Sach Bol Patta DIVINE Stunnah Beatz Second diss track aimed at rapper Emiway Bantai
Bas Kya Ba 7Bantaiz, D’Evil ft. DIVINE DRJ Sohail From the EP Shutdown by Mass Appeal, Gully Gang & DIVINE
Bag DIVINE ft. KR$NA NDS, Stunnah Beatz & Progression Music
Bandana Gang DIVINE ft. Sikander Kahlon Xplicit & Stunnah Beatz
Nahi Pata DIVINE, Frenzzy, Sammohit & Shah Rule Xplicit
No Competition Jass Manak ft. DIVINE Jass Manak From the album No Competition by Jass Manak
Bando Diaries (Remix) Dutchavelli ft. ONEFOUR, Kekra, Noizy & DIVINE
Level Up Ikka ft. DIVINE & Kaater DJ MissyK From the album I by Ikka
2021 Don't Forgive Me Shah Rule ft. DIVINE Stunnah Beatz From the EP Hooked by Shah Rule
Moosedrilla Sidhu Moose Wala ft. DIVINE Sidhu Moosewala From the album Moosetape by Sidhu Moosewala
The Unforgiven Vishal Dadlani, DIVINE & Shor Police ft. Metallica Shor Police & Devraj Sanyal From the album The Metallica Blacklist

Samples the song The Unforgiven by Metallica

Kaala Ghoda Amrit Maan ft. DIVINE Ikwinder Singh
Spicy (Freeverse) DIVINE Hit-Boy Uses the beat of Spicy by Nas
2022 Lion Heart KSHMR, DIVINE & LIT killah ft. Jeremy Oceans & KARRA KSHMR
Tu Te Kehndi C Bohemia ft. DIVINE Deep Jandu From the album I Am ICON by Bohemia

Promotional tracks[edit]

Year Song Artist(s) Producer(s) Promoting
2017 Shuffle DIVINE & SIRI Sid Vashi Bacardi Breezer Vivid
Suede Gully DIVINE, Prabh Deep, Khasi Bloodz & Madurai Souljour Sneha Khanwalkar Puma
2018 Kaam 25 DIVINE Phenom The Netflix series Sacred Games
2019 NY Se Mumbai Nas ft. DIVINE, Naezy & Ranveer Singh XD Pro & iLL Wayno Gully Boy film
Be a King DIVINE & SIRI Budweiser Experiences
Chakravyuh mein #SockThem DIVINE Karan Kanchan PUMA
Legends DIVINE Red Bull BC One
2020 Salaam DIVINE Gully Gang and Budweiser One Team initiative to support the frontline warriors fighting COVID-19
2021 Jungle Mantra DIVINE ft. Vince Staples & Pusha T The Netflix film The White Tiger
Kuch Karne Ka DIVINE HP
Bach Ke Rehna DIVINE, Badshah, Jonita Gandhi & Mikey McCleary Mikey McCleary The Netflix film Red Notice

Film music[edit]

Year Film Song Singer(s) Music
2017 Rum Pori Pathi Vizhum Anirudh Ravichander, Diwakar & DIVINE Vijaya Raghavendra
2018 Mukkabaaz Paintra DIVINE Nucleya
Blackmail Badla Amit Trivedi & DIVINE Kiran Das
2019 Gully Boy Apna Time Aayega (as lyricist) Ranveer Singh, Dub Sharma & DIVINE Dub Sharma
Azadi Dub Sharma & DIVINE Dub Sharma
Sher Aya Sher DIVINE & Major C Chandrashekar Kunder
Mere Gully Mein Ranveer Singh, DIVINE, Naezy & Sez on the Beat Sez on the Beat
Doori (as lyricist) Ranveer Singh & Rishi Rich Rishi Rich

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Song Result Ref.
2013 Rolling Stone India Best Video Award Yeh Mera Bombay – DIVINE Won [21]
2015 GIMA Awards Best EDM Track of the Year Jungle Raja (Bass Rani) – Nucleya ft. DIVINE Won [22]
2020 65th Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Apna Time Aayega (Gully Boy) – DIVINE & Ankur Tewari Won [23]
2021 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Indian Act Won [24]

Documentaries[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Divine Becomes the First Indian Rapper to Feature on New York's Times Square krsna freind Billboard". India West. IANS. 14 December 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Rapper Divine becomes first Indian hip hop star to attend Grammys".
  3. ^ a b "HT Brunch cover story: What makes 'gully boy' Divine the coolest voice of contemporary Indian hip-hop". Hindustan Times. 6 July 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  4. ^ "'I am a recognised name now, doesn't mean I'll forget my roots': DIVINE". www.indulgexpress.com. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  5. ^ Karkare, Aakash. "2017: The year when Indian hip-hop cemented its place on the music charts". Quartz India. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Will Mumbai rapper Divine become JB Nagar's Slumdog Millionaire?". Mid Day. 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  7. ^ "This hip-hop artist, who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, is going to London to perform on a BBC Radio show". DNA India. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Mumbai Rapper Divine's Biographical Song Jungli Sher's Video Shot Completely On iPhones Is Taking Over The Internet". India Times. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  9. ^ City Slums - Raja Kumari ft. Divine | Official Video, November 2017, retrieved 8 June 2020
  10. ^ Gully Life – The Story of Divine (Full Movie), retrieved 16 November 2019
  11. ^ "Divine is taking Indian Hip-Hop Scene Global with Mass Appeal India". LyricsMINT. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  12. ^ "The Divine & Nas Interview". YouTube.
  13. ^ "Universal Music India - Nas and Divine's interview". Facebook.
  14. ^ "Mumbai's DIVINE is among the 21 most exciting young musicians on Planet Earth". GQ India. 10 August 2021. Archived from the original on 10 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Saif Ali Khan to star in Netflix series Sacred Games". Hindustan Times. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Sacred Games First Look: An Intense Edge-Of-The-Seat Drama Awaits Viewers". BookMyShow. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Rapper Divine Announces Gully Gang Entertainment to Record, Recruit and Produce Hip Hop Talent". News18. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Gully Gang Cypher –Aavrutti, D'Evil, Shah Rule, Karan Kanchan". YouTube. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  19. ^ Tagat, Anurag (23 March 2019). "It's a wrap for BUDX". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Divine's Gully Gang Records Kicks Off With 'Gully Gang Cypher'". www.thewildcity.com. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Divine". Indiegaga. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  22. ^ "GIMA Awards 2016, 2016 Awards Function Gallery Images, GIMA Awards 2016". Archived from the original on 7 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Kesari lyricist Manoj Muntashir vows to boycott award shows as Filmfare Best Lyrics award goes to Gully Boy". PINKVILLA. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  24. ^ "MTV EMAs 2021: Rapper DIVINE wins for Best India Act; BTS, Ed Sheeran among top winners". Free Press Journal. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  25. ^ "Gully Life review: Discovery's documentary takes a shallow dive into Divine's life". Hindustan Times. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Gully Life - Story of Divine". Youtube. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019.

External links[edit]