Name: Figuero Jones

Growing up, what drew you to hip hop? Where there any artists or aspects of the scene which inspired you? 
I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Singapore, Kuwait, Jordan and now Australia, Perth. I consider myself to be somewhat of a nomad, and growing up all over the world has me left with one thing in common with everyone I’ve ever loved and cared for, and that is hip hop. Music is a universal language and that was evident in my life. Hip hop brought me friends, experiences and lessons, love and ambition.

I’ve always been around music since I was young; singing in church, producing music and pretty much winning in every single talent competition I’ve come across. Hip hop to me is very personal; a way of life, a source of discipline and creativity and a voice for my pain. I would be a waste of breath without it not trying to sound morbid or anything, just facts.

How have you seen the hip hop genre / community change over the years? 
It’s gone from being a genre based in the US to the global sound! Everybody knows a hip hop track, you can’t tell me different. It’s universal; it’s not just NY and LA anymore fam – we got Canada, UK, France, Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Russia to name a few; it’s huge.

To you, what defines Australian hip hop? 
The multiculturalism of it.

What do you think lays in the future for our local scene? 
Big things! You’re foolish not to invest in hip hop man, you just got to do it right. I want to see Aus hip hop on Aus TV straight up. I want to see us do hip hop festivals like Summer Jam and OVO Fest to name a few. I want to see hip hop flourishing on the charts, with the streams, at the ARIAs. I want to see Aus hip hop at the Grammys, swear to God. It needs to happen and imma do it, come with haha.

Is there anything in particular that you and your music seek to achieve?
I’m straight up going in for the diversity of the culture – I want to expand it. I mean, I’m brown and I want to break down barriers for the next person, whatever colour they may be. If that person is for the culture and actively participates and contributes to it then let’s get him on the team already.

More importantly, I want the music and the artistry of hip hop music to shine. Like, real music is forever, no doubt. Biggie is dead but like DJs still fiend for his vocals. But if I’m being real, I want my music to really reflect the world we live in. People can be so tuned away from the world and just be in their lil’ head world and if I can come through the headphones or speakers and talk to you in your world and tell you ‘You got this, I know you got stress and I know this life is hard, but I was a piece of shit before and I’m here and I’ve healed, I’ve found hope and love, so I KNOW you can do it too.’ BAM! The power of music.

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 saw it on IG, I follow ’em and shit so saw it on my timeline and I was like ‘I might try for it’ haha. Thought about it and sent through my track Pack. I told myself I wasn’t going to hype myself up but yeah, I was curious AF. I saw the plays on the private track link and it was played a couple of times so I knew they were feelin it. As the day for the announcement of the winners got closer I naturally started to feel a bit nervous but yeah, ain’t nothing. I told you, real music is forever baby.

Tell us a little about the track you submitted: 
Pack is all about motivation and the hustler in you. Hustleman Sound is what I call it and the message is simple – never give up.

Heard you wishing for a payday / I’m just waiting on a pack.” Basically, while everyone’s busy chasing status quo-type shit, I’m more concerned on what regards me. It might not be a payday, but it’s a pack, and that could be anything. Pack of beats, pack of samples, pack of merchandise, pack of shmoke you know? Pack is something that you personally need in life and the payday is what everyone else is after, you feel? So yeah shit like that, know yourself, know your place and work that shit hard!

How did you feel when you were announced as one of the winners out of 120 entrants?! 
Pretty humbled, but also very proud. I mean, there are so many dope artists out there these days and there’s always someone out there doing it better than you, so I always keep a level head, but I was so happy that all that hard work and preparation paid off. And shoutout to everyone that won too, we got a mad NEXTGEN18 team!

What are you most looking forward to at the WVS Next Gen Showcase? 
To finally meet everyone! Being from the Westside, it can feel a bit secluded, but yeah imma be where the party’s at this time around so I’m really stoked to finally show face.

How do you see independent hip hop labels like WVS making a difference in the Aussie hip hop community? 
They’re real ones for this. I mean they’re doing this shit to directly expand and contribute to the culture. Stuff like this just brings more legitimacy to the Aus hip hop catalogue. People need to see that we’re serious about our hip hop here, no games, and I just feel like running an event like this speaks out loud in regards to the impact they’re making.

Which other up and coming hip hop artists do you think should be on everyone’s radar? 
Black Napoleon, Sowdy, ErikiBeatz

Tell us about what you’ll be doing next! 
Right now I’m working on Black Napoleon’s debut mixtape, I’ve been working with him closely to bring you something special, trust. Also, my boy Sowdy and I are currently working on a collab tape together called #K9inthe6K, everything on there is produced/recorded in-house by Sowdy, myself and more of the crew. You don’t want to miss that one tbh, shit is going to be heinous I’m telling you.

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.

Jessica Jade
Elijah Yo
Mike Wang
Kid Pharoah
Jose Halftime
Figuero Jones
Vic August

Plust special guests:
Kwasi x HFNR