Hip-hop’s most revered lyricist, Nas announced his independent label Mass Appeal in partnership with with Peter Bittenbender back in 2014 which went on to become the home for his iconic twelfth studio album ‘Nasir’ along with some other timeless releases like ‘Old English’ by A$AP Ferg, Young Thug, and Freddie Gibbs. As we already know, Indian Rapper, DIVINE received a cosign from Nas during the time of the release of ‘Gully Boy’, a biopic based on DIVINE’s life and his come up. Taking their relationship one step further, DIVINE has now become the first signee to Mass Appeal India, a new Indian record label launched in partnership with Universal Music that will focus on the thriving hip hop scene in India, allowing Indian MCs to be introduced to the International Audience using Universal and Mass Appeal’s massive global network and clout.
Talking about Divine and the Global hip hop scene, Nas said “I was first introduced to DIVINE’s music through the brilliant film Gully Boy. I’m proud to announce the launch of Mass Appeal India with DIVINE as the first artist on our roster. Hip-hop is the world’s most influential culture – it’s only right to share what we do at Mass Appeal on a global level. We’re excited about joining forces with the team at UMG India to help further spark a movement that is constantly in the making.”
Adding to the joy and excitement of the label, Mass Appeal also released Nas’s interview with Divine, where we see Divine reciprocate Nas’s excitement by saying “It’s an honor to be associated with a legend like Nas. I grew up listening to his music. For him to recognize not just me, but the whole Indian hip-hop scene is a big win for hip-hop, and for hip-hop in India. He is looking forward to working not just with me, but a lot of the young talent in India. I will be working with Mass Appeal India not just in a personal capacity, but also in my capacity as founder of Gully Gang Entertainment to help Mass Appeal India build a thriving ecosystem for urban music and culture in the sub-continent. So, let’s bring our A-game because the world is watching.”
Mass Appeal is the company behind the hip-hop focussed Netflix show ‘Rapture’ and also the famous YouTube series ‘Rhythm Roulette’. The company has always been involved in pushing the hip hop culture to the next level and the launch of Mass Appeal Indian truly marks as a great milestone and I’m sure it has all the Indian hip-hop heads excited for the future of the label.
Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO of UMG, India & South Asia said, “Over the past few years UMI has concentrated on creating a culture of artist-first, non-film music to satisfy India’s rapidly evolving music audience. Hip-hop has been a key area of this focus and we have found the natural partner in Mass Appeal, Nas & Peter to help realise our dream of breaking Indian hip-hop in the region, as well as to the rest of the world together. It was only right to lead this global announcement with the signing of India’s number one hip-hop star, DIVINE for his highly anticipated debut album. As he articulately puts it, “Apna time Aayega” which means, “our time will come” – now is certainly the time for Indian Hip-Hop to break into the mainstream.”
Peter Bittenbender, CEO of Mass Appeal, said, “Coming off what has been a landmark year for Mass Appeal, we are beyond thrilled to announce the global expansion of our brand in partnership with UMI and with DIVINE as our first superstar talent signing. This new venture is an incredibly exciting extension of Mass Appeal’s strategy to progress the conversation and landscape of hip hop by taking our brand to the most exciting global markets.”
Adam Granite, EVP, Market Development, Universal Music Group, said, “For many years hip-hop, regardless of local language, has been growing rapidly around the world as the authentic sound of the streets. We are excited to work together with Nas, Peter, DIVINE, Devraj and the UMI team to launch Mass Appeal India, which we believe will become India’s premier dedicated hip-hop brand. The emergence of Mass Appeal India and the signing of Divine will only fuel the next wave of Indian hip-hop and rap talent and help accelerate the growth and reach of the genre in India, the subcontinent and beyond.”