DIVINE from Mumbai is one of the 21 most exciting young musicians on planet Earth

GQ India appoints

DIVINE

The rapper who bridged Mumbai to Crown Heights

Age: 30 years old

Birthplace: Bombay

Key track: “Mere Gully Mein”

Right behind the glittering terminal of Mumbai International Airport lies a bustling neighborhood called Andheri East. A patchwork of tin, tarp and glass, it’s a mix of slums and working-class neighborhoods – and home to millions of people who have arrived, over the decades, in India’s dream city. It was also where a young boy named Vivian Fernandes discovered hip-hop.

He first encountered the culture on a friend’s T-shirt sporting 50 Cent’s face and on a borrowed CD filled with dozens of songs from Tupac, Biggie, and Wu-Tang Clan. In 2015, “Mere Gully Mein” – a track he built online with Naezy, another up-and-coming young rapper – went viral on YouTube, spawning the rap gully subgenre. DIVINE’s seminal verse, pronounced in its local Bambaiya Hindi dialect, was brash and rebellious but honest and clean.

In 2019, Nas signed him to the label he co-owns, Mass Appeal, giving DIVINE international distribution. In December, her face flashed on a massive Spotify billboard in Times Square. And earlier this year, he scored feature films by Pusha T and Vince Staples. “When sounds merge,” he says, “magic is created”.

But DIVINE remains committed to the streets, launching a business called Gully Gang Entertainment that helps nurture the talent of under-represented groups. “People made me. I will never be able to forget it, ”he says from his home studio in 59, always his zip code. “I’m just a guy with a mic. To stay grounded, be rooted in your culture. This is the only way to go. –Nidhi Gupta


GQ USA nominees

POLO G

The melodic prince of American hip-hop

Age: 22

Birthplace: Chicago

Key track: “Rapstar”

Louis Vuitton Homme shirt, his own watch; Audemars Piguet; jewelry (throughout), his | Stylized by Jake Sammis. Grooming by Hee Soo Kwon with Dior Beauty. Couture by Yelena Travkina. Produced by Danielle Gruberger.

This summer, as heavyweight rappers like J. Cole and Migos returned from a hiatus, they found a new name to dominate the charts. Shy Taurus Tremani Bartlett, 22, calls himself Polo G, after his favorite fashion brand and a friend named Gucci, who died at 16. said, “and it’s been fun. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered a deeper passion for it. He’s sitting in the lobby of Dream Downtown, Manhattan, pondering his new project, Hall of Fame, which topped the Billboard 200 and is starting to sound like one of those pivotal third albums that heralds generational talent (think Kanye’s Graduation or Forest Hills Drive 2014 by J. Cole). On Fame, Polo went from melodic street rapper to megastar, proving he can hang on to his idols (Lil Wayne), make great pop songs (“For the Love of New York”) and land a hit in topped the charts while retaining its basic sound (“Rapstar”). The title, he says, is a road map. It is a question of “knowing what type of inheritance I want to leave in five years”, he explains. But first, he rests – at least for a minute. “I treat it like an off season, I’m just trying to improve.” The championships await you. –Frazier Tharpe


GQ Spain nominated

ISRAELL FERNANDEZ

The man who brings out the new energy of flamenco

Age: 29

Birthplace: Toledo

Key track: “La Inocencia”

Fendi coat and pants; Hermès shirt and scarf. Photo: Jor Martinez | Photographed by Jor Martinez on Gran Vía, Madrid. Stylized by Juan Luis Ascanio. Grooming by Sandra Garcia Heras for the artistic direction. Produced by Natalia Torres.

Comments are closed.