A year in the making, the wait for India’s premier hip-hop star DIVINE’s debut album, Kohinoor, finally gets over on October 9. Kohinoor is the first release from the Indian imprint of Nas’ iconic label, Mass Appeal after its launch in India in collaboration with Universal Music Group.
The eight-track album – that includes the hip-hop legend Nas on a track – showcases different facets of DIVINE’s personality and skills, and introduces fans and listeners to the world of Vivian Fernandes.With collaborations at the heart of the album, Kohinoor is the mark of an artist who has found his voice and is unafraid to stake his claim on the world.
From working with producers like Grammy Award-winning Ill Wayno – who also produced the Nas, Naezy and DIVINE track, ‘NY Se Mumbai’ – to old-time collaborators Phenom aka Pinaki Rattan and Gully Gang associates like Shah Rule, Aavrutti and D’evil, and names like New York rapper and US hip-hop’s next big thing, Dave East and Carnatic singer and songwriter Sid Sriram, on Kohinoor listeners get to hear of variety of styles and sounds.The face of the hip-hop movement in India, Kohinoor is an introduction to DIVINE for the world watching.
Razor sharp words with a bite and set to beats that wouldn’t be out of place in a bar in Brooklyn, all eight tracks on Kohinoor are personal, and an insight into DIVINE’s world. Like in ‘Kohinoor’, where DIVINE invokes the city he grew up in, his mother, friends and the hip-hop community. Or in ‘Wallah’ which features Shah Rule, where he talks about how his success drove his friends away. Or ‘Vibe hai’, which is his salute to the Gully Gang movement, and his crew. On ‘Remand’, DIVINE’s fiery passion meets Dave East’s street cred.
“This album is a part of me, and a chance for me to tell people my story,” says DIVINE of Kohinoor. “I wanted to give my fans my side of the story, to move the curtain and let them see what my life is all about. I have learnt some truths the hard way, and I have no regrets in life. Music wise, I have worked with people that I have a great working relationship with, people who get me like Pinaki aka Phenom or my Gully Gang boys. And I was very clear about the kind of people I wanted on this album. Like Ill Wayno, Dave East and even Sid, who I have wanted to work with for such a long time,” he adds.
While the album is packed with sounds and themes that those familiar with DIVINE have come to expect, it does have a few surprises in store. Like the reggaeton-infused cheeky Chal Bombay, DIVINE’s first-ever ‘love’ song or the R&B style ‘Too Hype’ with Sid Sriram.
Kohinoor is one of the hotly-anticipated albums of the year, and will release on Mass Appeal India. And on October 12, DIVINE will launch Kohinoor in Mumbai in what will be his first-ever public performance of the album. The album launch will be presented by OnePlus Music Festival.
Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO, Universal Music Group, India and South Asia, said, “DIVINE’s Kohinoor is the most awaited indigenous hip-hop album of all time and at Mass Appeal India, we are proud to ensure that this epic album is heard by Indians, the Asian diaspora worldwide and the hip-hop loving population the world over. For the first time ever an album from India is being worked in a global partnership between Mass Appeal US for the American markets, Island UK for the UK markets and Mass Appeal India for the Indian, Asian and other emerging markets. We’re getting some amazing global feedback on Kohinoor already, ahead of its release & we can’t wait to share this with all the DIVINE fans here and everywhere”
Peter Bittenbender, CEO of Mass Appeal, said, “This is a monumental day for Indian Hip Hop with DIVINE claiming his rightful spot at the top of the game. For Nas and the team at Mass Appeal India this is an incredibly proud moment as Kohinoor is a perfect body of work to showcase DIVINE's immense talents and take his music to the world. The best part of Kohinoor is that it's just the beginning for DIVINE and all we have planned at Mass Appeal India!
With a focus on working DIVINE to the mainstream in the US, Canada and the UK we will showcase just how big this movement truly can get on a global level"
One of the most popular and respected hip-hop artists in India, DIVINE, has played a key role in the rise of gully rap. Brutally honest and authentic in his storytelling, his autobiographical lyrics recently inspired Bollywood director Zoya Akhtar’s feature film Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh which was released to global acclaim in February 2019. DIVINE recently launched Gully Gang Entertainment, a multi-purpose entity that will serve as both a record label (Gully Gang Records), and general entertainment conglomerate - allowing DIVINE and his team to expand the sound and scope of Indian hip-hop, by managing new talent and creating live music IPs.
About Mass Appeal India
Based in Mumbai, Mass Appeal India is the first global extension of the Mass Appeal brand, a multi-media entertainment platform dedicated to amplifying India’s burgeoning hip-hop culture on a global scale. In partnership with Universal Music Group, Mass Appeal India signs and collaborates with the brightest stars from India’s fastest growing music scene and works with brands and content creators to connect
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.