Wednesday, February 13, 2019 12:35 IST
The musical and cultural influence of hip-hop legend Nas reaches far beyond New York City, as detailed in a much-anticipated hip-hop film out Thursday, produced by Excel Entertainment, and an accompanying record released by JioSaavn's label, Artist Originals (AO). "NY Se Mumbai feat. Nas" (NY to Mumbai), a new track by Indian Hip Hop artists, Naezy and Divine, is the end credit song for Gully Boy, starring actor Ranveer Singh and directed by Zoya Akhtar. Nas is also an executive producer for Gully Boy.
Set in Mumbai, the film is a shout-out to India's biggest hip-hop acts and the rise of Gully Rap in India. Growing up in the slums of Mumbai, Naezy and Divine found a creative outlet and empowerment in hip-hop, they watched legends, like Nas, on YouTube, and chased what would eventually become a thriving music career -- and now a main stream presence with a feature-length film.
Gully Boy was produced by Excel Entertainment, known for iconic films like Dil Chahta Hai and the Don franchise, and more recently the Shahrukh Khan action crime picture, Raees. As the director, Akhtar yet again demonstrates her unique storytelling approach crafted from an international filmmaking career that has, coincidentally, brought her from Mumbai to New York and back again.
She says about the music in the film: "This has been a collaborative project from start to finish, and with music playing a crucial role in this story, it was really important to me that the right music partners come on board. It's an absolute honor to have Nas, himself, so closely associated of the film. And with JioSaavn uniquely positioned to facilitate global connections, we have musical accompaniment that is a truly special representation of the sound conceived by the authentic artists of 'Gully Boy.'"
After learning about Nas' involvement in the film, JioSaavn co-founders Rishi Malhotra and Paramdeep Singh pitched the collaborative record concept to Akhtar in the Summer of 2018. "NY Se Mumbai" came to life as the musical counterpart to the film's raw and poignant visual storytelling.
"When we first learned of Gully Boy and Zoya's approach to telling this important generational story, we knew this was an important moment in music history. It was an opportunity to make history yet again with a global collaboration on a record that could be iconic. When Nas released "Illmatic" in 1994, it was an instant masterpiece that influenced everyone from first listen. 25 years later, Nas is influencing a new generation of hip-hop artists across the globe. Music knows no borders and it's a creative privilege to bring together the best artists the world. "NY Se Mumbai" is a special record that proves regardless of circumstance, we can all rise." Rishi Malhotra, CEO and co-founder, JioSaavn, said about the collaboration.
True to JioSaavn's track record for weaving together countries and cultures to produce highly original music, "NY Se Mumbai" was a global production. With Naezy, Divine, and actor Ranveer Singh recording out of Mumbai, the record was developed with AO producers XD Pro in Toronto; iLL Wayno of Mass Appeal Records, who worked alongside the AO A&R team in New York; and, of course, Nas in Los Angeles.
The multi-platinum rapper and producer was among the few to herald in the Golden Age of hip-hop as a teenager in the early 1990s. His latest studio album, Nasir, was produced by Kanye West in 2018. Today's "NY Se Mumbai" collaboration and its parent film showcases the depth of Nas' global influence and legacy as an artist and pop culture phenomenon.
Winning big on Sunday for Best Reggae Album "44/876" by Sting & Shaggy, Grammy Award winning producer iLL Wayno said, "Working on NY Se Mumbai, for me, was an affirmation of my understanding that hip hop has a global reach and cultures around the world are more similar than they are different. We all share similar experiences and this song was a collaborative effort to showcase that."
Across The Atlantic, "NY Se Mumbai" represents Naezy's much-anticipated return to hip-hop after a brief hiatus. His first release on AO, "Azaad Hu Mai" was released in 2017 as an ode to his remarkable journey from the slums of Mumbai to rising star.
The track is the latest example of JioSaavn's continued evolution as a global entertainment company and preeminent content producer. It follows the February 2019 release of 'BIBA,' a collaborative track between electronic music sensation Marshmello and Bollywood's legendary composer Pritam.
"NY Se Mumbai" is available for streaming today on JioSaavn, followed by all platforms worldwide on February 19th. For more information on the film, Gully Boy, in theaters February 14th across India.
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