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DIVINE vs. Emiway: It’s Hunting Season

Two of Indian hip-hop’s top draws are jostling for the same spot, following new releases

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Somesh Chandran Apr 18, 2020

Mumbai hip-hop artists DIVINE and Emiway have kicked off what might be Indian rap's new beef.

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Seems unimaginable now but sometime back in 2018, two of India’s elite spitters, DIVINE and Emiway were spotted at a Gully Boy afterparty, under the same roof. It was all kumbaya back then, at least it seemed so.

Let’s peel back the layers a little bit. About more than a year ago, at a gig alongside Raftaar, DIVINE was in his elements and got some things off his chest – “Inke naam mein hi EMI, to kaha se yeh rokda bhai?”

What were the chain of events that led him to issue this subpoena on stage? Not much is known, at least publicly.

He went on to incorporate a version of this line on “Remand,” one of his standout tracks from his debut album, Kohinoor. That kicked off a series of subliminal exchanges between the two and ever since, things just haven’t been the same.

Fast forward to 2020 and this skirmish seemed dormant before DIVINE brought things to a head on his IG live session last week. He said, “I asked my team, [there’s] more than 80 million streams on my album. There’s a difference between being a YouTuber and a musician”

A clear shot aimed at Emiway’s dominance on the video platform. No less than four days had passed when the man from Antop Hill dropped “Hard” — a three-minute lyrical rant laced with sarcasm.

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In it, Emiway is expressing his annoyance and questioning the consistency of his adversaries and understandably so. He’s dropped six well received tracks in the last 35 days. The views continue to stack up by the hour.

Mujhse beef karke lena chahte spot ye, kitne gane dale honge beta,” he raps on the third verse. Diving deep through the verses, it’s clear that he’s reserved every single word for none other than you know who.

Once again, Emiway finds himself in familiar territory — at the center of yet another rap beef. So far, he’s emerged unscathed in this sport, most times victorious. His day one’s would argue, every single time. Albeit this time, he’s up against a formidable opponent. Someone who always looks firm in control.

For a long time now, DIVINE has consciously stayed away from dropping an all out diss track. He’s never had to and never felt the need to. But this time, he’s wasted no time stealing Emiway’s thunder, dropping his most brutal salvo yet — “Chaabi Wala Bandar” – a reference to the battery-operated toy, “Musical Jolly Chimp”, manufactured by the Japanese company, Daishin C.K during the Fifties. A callous memed offering from the Gully Gang head honcho.

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The lyrics suggest that this shared animosity has been brewing for a couple of years now – “Pichle kuch saalon mein, humse iski boht jalli.” What follows are a series of menacing, ice cold verses. DIVINE doesn’t hold back. Ending it with a humbling reminder “Bollywood ko keench kar maine underground laya.”

The ball is now in Emiway’s court. It may not be ideal but Indian rap fans live for this. Two top draw rappers jostling for the same spot. Right now, the score reads 1-1. It’s hunting season.

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