Mumbai’s gully rap phenomenon, which is India’s fastest-growing hip-hop scene, has found itself some critics from a most unlikely place: Kolkata. On Tuesday, a group calling itself Adiacot, comprising emcees EPR, Hulkyboyy and El Deepo, released its first song Gully Mein Apne Kutta Bhi Sher Hai, where digs are taken at the Mumbai hip-hop scene, particularly its breakout star, Divine.
“The hip-hop scene in India was getting stagnantly boring and so we decided to spice things up a lil bit,” the group describes their objective behind the song on YouTube. While Hulkyboyy (Sagnik Choudhury) and El Deepo (Soumyadeep Dasgupta) are fairly new faces outside the Kolkata hip-hop scene, Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer aka EPR is a known emcee-cum-rapper and part of the band Underground Authority.
If the title was a no-brainer regarding whom the group is dissing, they also uploaded the song’s video on YouTube with the words “Divine Diss” and “Emiway Diss” in the title. Emiway is a Marathi rapper from Mumbai.
“Tareefen apni apni khud ki karte, kahe ka ghamand?” (You keep praising yourself, why so proud of yourself?) they ask in the first line. It is a dig at how Mumbai hip-hop rappers, like the best in the game from all over the world, put forward exaggeratedly vain ideas of themselves. Even Adiacot cannot escape some self-praising for they appropriate the words “East Coast” (“Representing the... east coast”) with which the birthplace of hip-hop – New York City in the east coast of the United States – is known.
The jabs at Divine and company include profanity: “Public ko chutiya banaya jooton-jooton ke ad mein”, which refers to Divine and other rappers contributing to a stylish music video aimed at selling Puma’s shoes. Nucleya seems to be the target of “Mucleya – khoofiya khabar hai gang me tere bhade ka tattu” (targetting the electronic musician’s frequent collaborations with Divine), and “Ukhad kya tu lega tu toh zony ka chaprasi hai” (Divine, for all his packaging as an independent hip-hop voice who’s still in touch with the gully, drops songs under contract with Sony Music India).
This is not the first time a hip-hop collective has cracked down on Mumbai’s gully rap scene. The first assault was by Tadpatri Talkies from Mumbai, which created the character Gari-B (wordplay on gareebi) with local rapper Anmol Gawand aka EMF. Gari-B, with his first song Gari-B Ki Kahani, made a surreal spoof of gully rap’s signature theme of the rapper rising from the slums, talking of his poverty and rough childhood, and hustling it out in Mumbai.
“It’s sad to see most of these new rappers emerging who bank on the whole ‘I am too poor to afford food’ story and this song perfects in making fun of that attitude,” Gaurang Bailoor of Tadpatri Talkies told Firstpost, explaining the song and the video’s concept. In the video, Gari-B angrily raps about having bhel all day for breakfast, dessert, and even a three-course meal.
While Gari-B Ki Kahani was a spoof of the gully rap sound and imagery, as reflected in Gari-B’s videos, Adiacot’s Gully Mein Apne Kutta Bhi Sher Hai is the typical straightforward dissing hip-hop track.