Since last year, Mumbai hip-hop icon Divine has undergone many changes. The film Gully Boy and a deal with Nas’s Mass Appeal increased his mainstream popularity. Then, he even dropped his album Kohinoor. Just a few months after Kohinoor and a Gully Gang EP, the rapper is back in form dropping singles from his upcoming album Punya Paap. Mirchi, the latest single from this album might find some fans wondering if Divine is aiming for a more marketable mainstream sound.
However, with his single Mera Bhai, he comes back in form to show that he can make songs with good storytelling too. Mera Bhai starts off with Divine rapping about childhood memories and musings with his brother. In a raw and heartfelt flow, he touches upon a lot of unsettling issues, ranging from the dometsic violence that his mother suffered to jacking cars with his brother in tough times. There’s a certain optimism too, as can be evident from Divine’s first memories of listening to rap music with his brother. However, the song gets darker by the finale when instead of the hook, ‘Mai aur mera bhai‘, Divine says ‘Mai khud mera bhai‘.
These final lines bring out the plot twist. Apparently, the so-called ‘bhai’ he was talking about throughout the song was noone but himself. Like a brother, he has supported himself and seen himself through thick and thin. The philosophical nature of this narrative is depicted beautifully in the song’s accompanying music video. The nuance and metaphorical animation is directed by Debjyoti Saha who was also involved in the making of Prabh Deep’s ambitious Chitta music video.
As for the song’s production, frequent collaborator Karan Kanchan is in top form too. This year, he has been consistently cooking up fresh beats for Divine and Gully Gang. Mera Bhai is similarly no exception to show Kanchan’s prowess.
Verdict: Mera Bhai unleashes the storytelling potential of Divine, marking a strong improvement over his recent singles.