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Divine, known as one of the inspiration behind Bollywood hit Gully Boy, has become the first rapper from India to be featured on a Times Square billboard in New York City. It follows the release of his much-awaited new album Punya Paap.
Released on 4 December, the album has claimed the top spot on Apple Music India (all genres) since its release.
The 11-track album features collaborations with artistes such as hip-hop veteran Nas, Grammy winning Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Cocoa Sarai, British Drill rapper Dutchavelli, Grammy winning producer iLL Wayno, London-based dancehall artiste Stylo G and Indian-American singer-songwriter Lisa Mishra.
Man I’m waking up knowing my face is on the billboard at Times Square! Dream…
— DIVINE (@VivianDivine) December 13, 2020
Divine, whose real name is Vivian Fernandes, rose to mainstream music last year with the release of his song “Mere Gully Mein” featuring fellow Mumbai rapper Naezy. Previously, his music had featured on Netflix’s Sacred Games and Bollywood films Mukkabaaz (2017) and Blackmail (2018).
“Releasing an album is always an important milestone for any artists. I’m grateful to my fans above all who’ve waited patiently since my previous album Mirchi secured a spot on the YouTube Top 100 Global Songs recently, a first for me with regards to a global charting,” said Divine.
“And now that we’ve made it to the iconic Times Square. This is a sign that the story of hip-hop in India is no longer confined to a nascent perspective, but it’s burgeoning and we are headed for exciting times. Life is good and I’m grateful.”
Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO – India and South Asia of Universal Music Group, took to social media to congratulate the 30-year-old rapper.
“Anything’s possible if you want it bad enough,” he tweeted.