Growing up, what drew you to hip hop? Where there any artists or aspects of the scene which inspired you?
I was a fan of rock music before I became a fan of hip hop. I guess that transition was mainly because rock and hip hop have that same kind of aggression behind its culture. I started listening to hip hop more, studying the routes. Soon after, I started experimenting with my own music.
How have you seen the hip hop genre / community change over the years?
Hip hop in general, in my opinion, has turned from really ‘edgy’ and underground to a more acceptable, mainstream genre. In a way, I find that very beneficial, but also in some cases, it disables some artists from being more creative in their music, lyrically and creatively. Hip hop has also allowed many young individuals to spread their message and have fun while also making a career as recording artists. Before, there were so many limitations with hip hop that society placed, but now, hip hop artists are more open-minded.
To you, what defines Australian hip hop?
Various styles and attitudes on a hip hop beat. I feel as if we are more experimental with our sound because we haven’t actually been categorised in the world.
What do you think lays in the future for our local scene?
I feel like one of our artists will set the pace for our introduction to the global hip hop scene. And from there, local music will then turn into ‘underground hip hop’ globally.
Is there anything in particular that you and your music seek to achieve?
I basically seek happiness when making music. I want to be satisfied with myself knowing my music is liked by a large amount of people. I also want to have the ability to travel nationally and globally.
How did you come to submit your track to the WVS Next Gen Competition, and what was your thought process while waiting for the results?
I came across WVS via one of my most influential artists, Miracle. I became a huge fan of the WVS artists and their movements, and wanted to be a part of that circle. As I was waiting for the results to come out, I was curious as to how many artists that also share the same ‘new wave’ influential music too. Essentially, I was sussing out artists that have a similar sound to mine.
Tell us a little about the track you submitted:
My song, Upgrade, is basically a song about me upgrading from a bad position in my life to a more focused and promised position in my life. As I produced, wrote, and recorded the song, I had so much energy because I was at a really good point in my life mentally and physically.
How did you feel when you were announced as one of the winners out of 120 entrants?!
I felt amazing! But, my announcement story was a fucking nightmare, lol. I was so stoked when I found out I won, but when I was called for an announcement I was told about beforehand, it didn’t come to my attention that Mat lived in Melbourne. So my timing was wayyyyy off, and I ended up not picking up because I wasn’t accessible at the time. Biggest stitch up on my behalf haha. But yeah, it was such an awesome feeling when I found out. I felt like my music really did stand out! For once in a long time, I actually felt accepted as a good artist.
What are you most looking forward to at the WVS Next Gen Showcase?
To perform to people that I can actually interact with. Because everyone attending, I assume will be really energetic and would understand the culture of which we call ‘hip hop.
How do you see independent hip hop labels like WVS making a difference in the Aussie hip hop community?
I see indie hip hop labels doing a lot for myself and other underground artists who are pushing to do big things in the next years. Before, our music scene was strictly run by major record labels, which shaped our image as a music scene, but now, as the years are going, labels like WVS have had so much success and are starting to enter the mass audience.
Which other up and coming hip hop artists do you think should be on everyone’s radar?
Manu Crooks. Definitely. We come from the same country in Africa, we were born in the same place. And I’ve been listening to him ever since he was making his music back like five to six years ago. This guy has done SOOOO much in 2017, and he’s entering 2018 doing several international shows… That is something you have never seen from a new wave hip hop artist from Australia.
Tell us about what you’ll be doing next!
I am currently working on new music and taking a break from the public figure side of things for a bit to figure out how I’m going to break personal barriers in 2018. I really hope to achieve more than I did in 2017, and I’m working hard to see that happen.
Head along to WVS‘ first annual NEXT GEN Live Showcase, featuring 11 of the best up and coming hip hop artists from around Australia.
25 Jan, The Evelyn Hotel, Fitzroy.
Tickets are FREE! For more information, or to RSVP, click HERE.
Plust special guests:
Kwasi x HFNR