Mumbai: The star of India's 'gully rap' movement Divine has joined hands with the imprint of Nas' iconic label and Mass Appeal India to bring the lockdown-themed album 'SHUTDOWN.'
The hip-hop and rap compilation titled 'SHUTDOWN' is inspired by the stay-at-home circumstances for intentional and therapeutic listening amidst the rise of an unprecedented pandemic.
Speaking about his album, Divine said, "The album is an attempt to present hip hop as one of the realist genres, capable of showcasing stark reality for what is, but yet having an innate ability to heal and keep listeners motivated and positive."
He further said that creating music during lockdown is like a "welcome distraction" to keep one's mind off from what is going around.
"Making music during lockdown has been a welcome distraction from everything that's going on all around us just now. We at Gully Gang wanted to offer something special to our fans to help them through these dire times and viewed this lockdown not as a limitation, but as an opportunity to present our artistry in the most authentic manner," he said.
"Lockdown has been a big challenge but we have managed to turn it around to make it work for us. Music and other forms of art can be really important to people, documenting certain times or occasions in our lives and this album will hold a special memory in everyone's lives after the lockdown ends," the 'Mere Gully Mein' singer said.
The album features several electric collaborations with an eight-track song listing.
It circles around major themes such as the success of the underdog, social hierarchy and quotidian hustle. Every sound in every track is so perfectly placed that each listen feels akin to watching a master at work in real-time, making the album an almost interactive experience.
One of the songs of the album, 'Brinks', forges a connection between the streets of Los Angeles and the gullies of Mumbai with street hustle serving as inspiration.
'Bag' on the other hand is layered with trademark hip hop punchlines and swashbuckling verses, navigates through the themes of accomplishment and outshining competition through hard work and hustle.
Other songs in the album include 'Bas Kya Ba,' 'I'm Sorry,' 'Flavours,' 'Bandana Gang,' 'Alag Hai Disha' and 'Nahi Pata.'
The music for the tracks has been composed in collaboration with artists like US-based rapper Elvis Brown, 'Gully Gang' members Shah Rule, D'Evil, MC Altaf, Aavrutti quartet - Frenzzy, Saifan, Sammohit and Sledge who are gearing up for their forthcoming debut album, as well as KR$NA, Sikander Kahlon, Kaka Sady and 7Bantaiz.
"We are really excited to drop the super street sounding SHUTDOWN album in collaboration with Gully Gang. Divine features on multiple tracks, but his lead tracks, Bandana Gang and Bag have refreshing lyrics that echo his talent and story," said Devraj Sanyal, MD and CEO of UMG, India and South Asia.
"I am also thrilled to present a mix of some really fresh, upcoming new hip hop artists as well as some of the seasoned ones. Watch out for this one," he added.
"We have spent the past couple months curating SHUTDOWN with Gully Gang, specially for our fans to have something to look forward to during this lockdown," said Peter Bittenbender, CEO of Mass Appeal.
"Divine has evolved from being a rapper and songwriter, to now, a producer and mentor to Indian hip-hop artists. SHUTDOWN has a really raw and authentic sound that will hit home with all fans of real hip hop," he added.
The album marks the maiden hip-hop compilation to release on Mass Appeal India in partnership with Divine's Gully Gang.