Hip-hop is a very competitive genre, but DIVINE has already shown that he is ready to do what it takes to make it to the top. He has been one of the most prominent faces of Desi Hip-hop, making a name for himself over the last few years. DIVINE is a respected artist in the underground scene, also he is among the most commercially successful Indian rappers.
His fans seem to be drawn to his raw, authentic, and heartfelt lyrics. Today, Raptrill takes a look at 15 things you didn’t know about DIVINE. Learn about a living Indian hip-hop legend below.
15 Things You didn’t know about DIVINE
1. What Is DIVINE’s Real Name?
DIVINE’s real name is Vivian Fernandes. He chose Divine (stylized as DIVINE) as his artist name because, when he was a teenager, he used to go to church in Marol with his grandmother, perform gospel songs, and write devotional rhymes. He once said, quoted by The Indian Express, “when I began to rap, I called myself DIVINE. No other name came to mind.”
2. He Was The First Hindi Rapper To Rap On BBC Asian Network
DIVINE appeared with British DJ Charlie Sloth on BBC Asian Network’s “Fire in the Booth” hosted by Tommy Sandhu, making him the first Hindi rapper to do so.
3. DIVINE’s Biggest Dream Was To Bring His Mother Back
DIVINE was raised by his grandmother, who also exposed him to music when he was a kid because his mother used to work overseas. Every year, he would only spend a few months with his mother. DIVINE’s definition of being successful as a rapper was being capable of bringing his mother to India. After 13 years, he was finally able to fulfill his dream and bring her back to India in 2017.
4. His Father Was An Alcoholic
Because of his father’s alcohol addiction, DIVINE had to face several difficulties during his formative years. His parents did not get along, and her mother had to travel to the Middle East to work in order to support the family. His father sold the house and handed him half and his brother half of the proceeds before leaving them alone.
5. He Was A Member Of the Indian Rap Crew “Mumbai’s Finest”
In 2011, Vivian got his start as an underground rapper and joined the hip-hop group Mumbai’s Finest. He quoted, “I learnt more about hip-hop and writing rap when I met Abhishek Dhusia (Ace) and Amey Patkar (AP), founders of the city’s first rap crew — Mumbai’s Finest.”
6. Before Becoming The Pioneer Of Hindi Rap, He Used To Rap In English
Since DIVINE believed English was the only language in which hip-hop can be done, he solely wrote and rapped in English while he was a member of the rap group. But after leaving the crew and venturing out on his own as a rapper, he discovered that most of the locals speak Hindi and couldn’t comprehend his English lyrics. As a result, he began writing in Hindi about his hometown and lifestyle.
7. DIVINE Has Won Multiple Awards
He has received a lot of awards throughout his career. He received the Rolling Stone India Best Video Award in 2013, the Outlook Social Media Award for Artist of the Year in 2018, and the GIMA Award for Best EDM Track of the Year in 2015.
8. His Debut Album Is A Multi-Platinum
Rapper DIVINE’s debut album, “Kohinoor,” has been certified multiple platinum. The reggaeton-infused song “Chal Bombay” from the album has gone 30X platinum as of March 2021, while the album “Kohinoor” has been certified 20X platinum.
9. DIVINE Is Greatly Inspired By 50 Cent, Eminem, And Nas
DIVINE once saw his friend rocking an interesting t-shirt. When asked, his buddy told him about the T-shirt, which featured a picture of the rapper 50 Cent. His friend introduced him to 50 Cent, Eminem, and Dr. Dre and gave him a CD of their finest rap songs. He spent hours after school writing lyrics because he was so inspired. Though, his rapping style is highly influenced by the East Coast veteran Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones aka Nas.
10. DIVINE Got Signed With Nas’ Label Mass Appeal
DIVINE is the first artist signed to Nas’ Music Label, Mass Appeal India. He stated, “It’s an honor to be associated with a legend like Nas. I grew up listening to his music. For him to recognize not just me, but the whole Indian hip-hop scene is a big win for hip-hop, and for hip-hop in India.”
11. He Had To Deal With Copyright Strikes
With the release of the song Teesri Manzil, DIVINE received copyright claims from the renowned music label Zee Music Company on YouTube. The rapper then changed the lyrics and re-uploaded the song.
12. He Was Spotted At The 64th Grammy Awards
The popular Hip-Hop artist, DIVINE, was spotted on April 3 in Las Vegas at the 64th annual Grammy Awards. The multi-platinum rapper made history as the first Indian rapper to attend the Grammy Award Ceremony.
13. He Launched His Record Label Called Gully Gang Entertainment
In February 2019, the hip-hop superstar announced the official launch of his independent music label, Gully Gang Entertainment, which is now one of the biggest hip-hop labels in India.
14. He Has Collaborated With Many International Rappers
Apart from teaming up with popular Indian rappers, DIVINE has some huge international collaborations in his catalog. Nas, Jadakiss, Russ, Armani White, Noizy, Dutchavelli, Stylo G, Dave East, Hit-Boy, and iLL Wayno are some of them.
15. DIVINE Got Featured On Time Square Billboard
With the release of his album “Punya Paap” in December 2020, DIVINE became the first Indian rapper to feature on the Times Square Billboard in New York. The song “Mirchi” appeared on the list of the Top 100 Global Songs on YouTube.