Three months after the raging success of Bollywood film Gully Boy, the man who inspired the film, rapper Divine, is launching the first single by his music company Gully Gang Records.
Named, rather unimaginatively, Gully Gang Cypher (GGC), the track gathers together rappers enlisted by the newly formed company, and the video for it will be released on Wednesday evening.
Zoya Akhtar brought the nascent hip-hop industry of India, which is centred in Mumbai, to the mainstream through her February film Gully Boy starring Ranveer Singh.
The lead actor's character was an amalgamation of Vivian Fernandes, aka Divine, and Naved Shaikh, aka Naezy. Mentoring Ranveer in the film was Sidhant Chaturvedi, aka MC Sher. At the real life Gully Gang Records, Divine has assumed the role of mentor, and GGC is the first offering from the collection of rappers.
“Divine gave us a free hand. All he did was tell us that that this will be the beat, but we all were encouraged to do our own thing,” says rapper Shah Rule.
Shah Rule co-produced the track with Karan Kanchan, with the video directed by Joel D'Souza , Divine’s regular man.
The track stars a quartet who collectively go by the name Aavrutti. However, in GGC, Shah Rule points out, each member of Aavrutti – Sammohit, Frenzzy, Saifan and Sledge – get to voice their own creativity, which is what Divine wanted. D'Evil then takes over on the track, with Shah Rule owning the final chapter.
“We were told to express ourselves. And that’s why D’Evil, in the video, has shown himself sipping chai, sitting in a rickshaw – which most Mumbaikars will do. But he is also seen bleeding, yet recovering from that state. D’Evil has been struggling for some years and now he is finding his feet, so he is trying to show that aspect from his real life [in the video],” Shah Rule tells us.
Gully Gang Cypher features multiple languages – Punjabi, Hindi, Mumbai street slang and English – and is a punchy tale of ambition and determination.
Divine, in a statement released on the eve of the launch, said: “I never imagined I would say this but I’m thrilled to put out our first project as a team in form of a cypher, which is the rawest form of rap with lyrics being the soul.
“I love every verse on that beat because it’s all different and everyone came with their own style. This is one of my favourite songs that has come from the scene.
"There’s Punjabi, there’s Hindi, Bambaiya Hindi [slang], English, Hinglish ... it’s a problem! I can’t wait to see how people react!” he adds.
The single will be launched at Mumbai's Raasta venue at 9pm Wednesday (7.30pm UAE time) as part of a new club-focused hip-hop night called The Scene.
This will be a multi-city recurring club tour and will feature talent from the Gully Gang roster, as well as promising local talent from each city.