Review: Divine, Mukti Mohan and Madurai Souljour Get Fierce in the Just-Released ‘Suede Gully’
The collaborative hip-hop music video features artists from New Delhi, Mumbai, Shillong and Madurai, representing each city’s powerful street culture
Within the first five seconds of “Suede Gully,” it becomes clear that each of the artists featured aren’t here to play. It’s darker than expected, both in terms of lyricism and cinematography, and slams in the message that India is ready to be represented by a new generation on a global level.
Composed by Sneha Khanwalkar [music director of the Gangs of Wasseypur films], Puma’s “Suede Gully” goes hip-hop-heavy but doesn’t miss featuring desi elements like the shehnai. Mumbai hip-hop superstar Divine starts with a low, fierce rap before the track moves on to bars from Shillong rap crew Khasi Bloodz and New Delhi’s Prabh Deep. All the rappers are featured in their respective cities, surrounded by dancers and striking graffiti courtesy of street artists like Shilo Shiv Suleman, Baadal Nanjundaswamy, Anpu Varkey, Zake and Indian Artist. Divine at one point stands in a revamped Mumbai local train—which is perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of the city’s resilience and commitment to hard work.
The most striking part of the video however is the entry of Madurai-based rappers Madurai Souljour at the bridge; the trio is ferocious, unapologetic and each member’s flow is very different from one another. The rap being in Tamil adds an edge and truly proves that language is no barrier while getting a message across through music. The zoom-in on Nanjundaswamy around the same time is also highly impressive.
Mumbai-based dancer Mukti Mohan is a force to be reckoned with throughout the video. Her goose bump-inducing stares into the camera and sweeping moves make her stand out in the best possible way. With the addition of several more dance crews like Bengaluru’s Black Ice crew, North East-based Unity One and Mumbai’s Beast Mode crew, there is both grit and grace which is exactly how India’s street culture should be defined: as the reality many of these artists live and the environment they grew up in.