Music Review: Gully Boy (Hindi)

Composer(s): Ankur Tewari, Chandrashekar Kunder, Divine, Dub Sharma, IshQ Bector, Jasleen Royal, Kaam Bhaari, Karsh Kale, Midival Punditz, Mikey McCleary, Naezy, Prem-Hardeep, Raghu Dixit, Rishi Rich, Sez on the Beat, Spitfire, Viveick Rajagopalan
Listen to the songs online here: JioSaavn

The last time Dharavi's underground rap scene was explored, it was more in a socio-political context, and Gully Boy takes this to the next level, with Spitfire, Divine, Naezy, Dub Sharma, Ankur Tewari, and an army of composers delivering what's a thematically cohesive collection of desi hip-hop that blends with one another so well and is by turns catchy and electrifying. Apna Time Aayega, with lyrics like Kyun ki apna time aayega/ Tu nanga hi toh aaya hai/ Kya ghanta lekar jaayega, is an anthem no less!

If Rishi Rich binds you over with the meditative Doori, Midival Punditz, Karsh Kale and Raghu Dixit concoct a beautiful fusion of melodic sounds in Train Song (a collaborative effort of the trio that originally released in 2013). Elsewhere, Jingostan and Azadi embody the hip-hop genre with their angsty, rebellious themes, Chandrashekar Kunder's Sher Aaya Sher announces the arrival of 'the rap king', all the while oozing swag by the bucketloads.

Jasleen Royal, true to her style, offers a brief respite from rap with a tuneful folksy acoustic piece Jahaan Tu Chala, as does Mikey McCleary, whose trademark waltz'y aesthetic comes through shining in Jeene Mein Aaye Maza. Kaam Bhaari spits out the verses in fast succession, the flow just so rapid-fire and perfect, in the eponymous fast rap number, even as Kab Se Kab Tak and Har Gham Mein Khushi Hai's commingling of rap and melody works wonders. Prem-Hardeep's Goriye is perhaps the most mainstream of the lot, but with its ultra-catchy Bruno Mars-like medley of rap and retro flourishes, it's as groovy as it's irresistible.

Composer and Carnatic percussionist Viveick Rajagopalan brings the curtains down on a fittingly high-octane note in India 91 (the country calling code for India), mixing mridangam, dhols and harmonium, and incorporating elements of Marathi folk (dholki), speedy rap and konnakol to spellbinding effect, with MC Altaf, MC TodFod, 100 RBH, Maharya and Noxious D lending fantastic vocal support. At 18 songs and 48 minutes, Gully Boy is easily one of the most eclectic, genre-bending soundtracks to hit Bollywood in recent times, and the best part is that I could easily do with an album twice that length!