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ISSUE ONE - CONTENTS
SIDE A 26 32 38 52 56 60 64 68
SIDE B PEGZ & OBESE BRAD STRUT SHOW & AG BROTHER ALI JEHST SCRIBBLE JAM DAMO & SIMPLEX JAWN P & ESOTERIC
06 10 16
SPITTIN VERBALS AN EDITORIAL Fuzzy Linguistics from the cluttered desk of the Editor. 36 CHAMBERS Everything you need to know plus the kitchen sink. HATE THY NEIGHBOUR Ultimate Hater thinks you should take a good hard look at yourself. PIGEONTOLOGY How the fuck DO pigeons type anyway?! THE APPLICATION Our cover artists submit their applications. KID ZOOM got jerked, but Sosio got his shit in on time. HIPHOPOLOGY W/ CORBIN CONYOS Our resident Professor caught up with RA the Rugged Man And Akrobatik to educate them about our land down under. MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS VANS caught up with SIRUM, PHAT1, ASKEW and SMASH137 after their Black & Silver show in the Burn. TURN THAT SNARE DOWN J-Red talks turntable shop with DMC champ Perplex
TAKE EM ALL OUT The Oz BBoy Champs were large. And nobody was larger than SKB who took out all comers. SCRATCH THE SURFACE Yep, our own Unsigned Hype. Only it’s better cause it ain’t in The Source. Check out Melbourne’s own Illuminate. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT Want an opinion? Here you’ll get one.Vents lives up to his name. COME ON UP Listen to Shrek and stop pushing your garbage upon the public, so-called rappers. WAKE YOUR DAUGHTER UP Remember the Knucklehedz? Didn’t think so. Let Polarity and Travis educate you on the Hit Squad’s overlooked crew. VINYL ENTHUSIAST ALMANAC Crate diggers give us a rundown on a personal Top 5 LP’s. This issue it’s John Idem and Australian wax and DJ Format and boobs. HIRED GUNS These are the heads laying down the artistic skill for this issue. Poise, Linz, Sosio, KID ZOOM and Mr Gomes.
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SAD CLOWN... SERIES
NOW K EP’s OUT ING IT ION 5 TRACT THA LIMITED EDGIVE 2008! T SHIT GOLD” COM S YOU LEMONS, PAIN
+ NEW ALBUM “WHEN LIFE
21/12/2007 4:31:49 PM
SPITTIN VERBALS -AN EDITORIAL
Welcome to Issue One. Yeah, yeah it’s late. Quit your yapping! I just had my third kid, worked too much overtime in the 9-5 job and had to move house so deal with it. First up I just wanted to drop some knowledge. Peak Street Magazine is not out for money and fame. We don’t dedicate a ridiculous amount of hours to this publication after we ﬁnish hustling at our daytime gigs because we want to be rich and notorious. Personally, I see the mag more like an extension of my conversations with my mate Shan. You’ve all got a mate like him, the one you’ve always talked hip hop shop with. For years we’ve been dubbing each others tapes, scouring vinyl bins and CD racks on the weekend, perfecting handstyles, debating who has the illest ﬂow and generally being amateur Hip Hop anthropologists over a few beers. Peak Street is just that same simple passion for hip hop laid out over some dope looking pages. Nothing more, nothing less. Yeah it’s a cliché, but we are doing this for the love. Don’t get me wrong though – we’re still the best fucking hip hop mag out there and everybody else should give up! Secondly, the heads involved with this here title are in no way, shape or form affiliated or down with any speciﬁc crew, label or family. We all know the politics of the local scene can descend into bad blood, but Peak Street don’t and won’t take sides. Sure we’re going to talk beef because we’re not going to pussyfoot around ANY issues. Just because we respect somebody as an artist doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be put on the spot with some insightful journalism. However we’re more then happy to hear the other side of the story too. At the end of the day you’re all intelligent people, so develop your own fucking opinions! Thirdly if you’ve picked this up and dig it - let us know. After slaving away on an issue for so long the payoff is hearing that heads out there enjoy the product we’re pushing. It’s not like we’re rolling in piles of cash you bastards so the least you can do is tell us the mag is the business. Don’t forget if you’ve got some skill and are keen to contribute in anyway hit us up too. www.peakstreet.com Next one will be slapping you upside the head a lot quicker, I promise. David Edgley Editor
MASSIVE EDITOR David Edgley DESIGNERS Chad Mann - firstname.lastname@example.org Nick Bazarow - www.easternstardesign.com Ryan Schubert - www.inkdub.com WRITERS dOtbOy Togz Robbie Ettelson Corbin Conyos Bosco The Melbourne Standover Pigeon Ultimate Hater G-Force VANS ONE
Emvee J-Red Polarity Travis Glave Shrek John Idem DJ Format Vents Mat Fernandez
ARTISTS KID ZOOM Detch SMASH 137 ASKEW PHAT1
SIRUM Mr Gomes Poise LINZ Sosio
PHOTOGRAPHY Mark 563 Simon White Bindi Cole LL Cool Josh Fat Ho Richard Ross Steven @ Culdesac
CONTACT Peak Street Magazine PO Box 440 Coburg VIC 3058 AUSTRALIA www.peakstreet.com +61 3 9029 1182 0415 522 606 email@example.com
© Copyright of Peak Street Publishing 2008. Unauthorised duplication of any part of this magazine is prohibited, without written permission of the publisher. Got it? Good! Don’t make me unleash Freddie Foxxx on you motherfuckers! Any views or opinions expressed within these pages are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher does not promote vandalism either Mr Detective, merely documents it.
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21/12/2007 4:32:26 PM
NEW ALBUM OUT NOW TOURING AUSTRALIA IN JAN FOR THE BIG DAY OUT (AUCK / GC / SYD / MELB) • BRAND NEW ALBUM FROM LA RAPPER ACEYALONE (OF HAIKU D'ETAT, THE A-TEAM & FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP) • INCLUDES THE SINGLE "EAZY" WITH CHALI 2NA • RECORDED IN JAMAICA, ACEY COMBINES DANCEHALL AND HIP HOP FOR AN ALL-NEW SOUND PEAKSTREET-MASTERDOCUMENT-01.ind8 8
21/12/2007 4:32:35 PM
21/12/2007 4:32:41 PM
36 Chambers is a comprehensive list of stuff you might or may not care about. Regardless we are open to suggestions, so if you got anything dope to plug hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org
5. MARK 563
4. SHOE OF THE ISSUE!
The ﬁrst track on this release, Newsense’s “Show Stopper”, is the best anti-bouncer tirade I have heard since RA went fucking nuts at the security folk at his gig in Melbourne. The Hospice boys were performing that night too and they all put work in on this new Broken Tooth compilation “Dental Records”. It’s unrelenting shit all the way through and some of the newer BTE heads like Gargoyle and Kid Selzy get to introduce themselves too. www.brokentoothentertainment.com.au 2. ONCE UPON A TIME...
1. DENTAL RECORDS
3. STREET RANGE ARTILLERY If the names C-Murder, Willie D and The D.O.C. don’t mean anything to you, then get an education (I suggest starting with JZone’s “Get Ignant” Mixtapes). If they do though check out Street Range Artillery’s new t-shirts. The logo’s of Ruthless Records, No Limit, Rap-A-Lot and Rhyme Syndicate can be found on some of their new range. These SA boys got it on lock! www.myspace.com/grusembatelgear
I have had ‘Once Upon A Time In America: The Prequel’ on rotation for months and I still don’t know whether this clothing line/ production team/ movement is pronounced Grim Team or Grime Team. Drives me nuts. Former Parisian Chaze handles all the production and has perfected his own version of that classic NYC sound of raw loops combined with gritty MC’s like Milano, Smiley the Ghetto Child and Saigon. Classic shit from Infamous Mobb too – the Twin Gambino track is rugged and the ﬁlm clip is just as gulley. www.grimteam.us
Shoe of the Issue. You’re only as dope as your freshest kicks and those kicks can only be fresh if the poor farmer’s daughter in Indonesia who actually makes them is getting mad exploited by some big corporation. The straight bizness on the street at the moment has got to be the Dunlop Volley. They look fresh on everybody from uptight hipsters to bogan chippies are available in 3 different colourways, blah blah blah fucking blah...
Mark 563 hasn’t even been in the country two years and is already working at Obese, DJing about the traps, introduced his Appreciate Clothing label from the UK and is part of the group First Class with Briggs and Reason. Busy lad aint he? Then there is his Run The Line blog where you can catch him getting busy with his camera catching Aussie heads running amok and throwing up some oldskool gig ﬂicks too. www.runtheline.blogspot.com
6. EL-P You either believe El-P is the musical equivalent of the second coming of the messiah or are from the Demigodz school of thought and reckon he sounds like a cat gone spastic on a keyboard. I happen to be more closely aligned with the former and think his new album ‘I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead’ is fucking superb. The Def Jux head honcho has lifted the bar again. Yeah it’s a left-ﬁeld head fuck, but his sound is founded on some real boom bap sensibilities. Purists can hate all they want, but sometimes I like to listen to a disturbing love story set on a prison ship in a dystopian future. www.myspace.com/elproducto
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10. LESSON 2
8. PROPOSED GRAFFITI LEGISLATION The VIC State Government don’t like writers. Want proof? Check the draft of the new Graffiti Prevention Bill. Here’s a sample: a) If you get sprung with a can of Belton, Ironlak or Sabotaz by the boys in blue you will be considered guilty of graf until you prove your innocence. That’s reversing the legal burden of proof! b) The cops can search you without a warrant if you are near public transport and they think you look suspect. c) Massive penalties! More moola and greater chance of time in the clink. Get educated and have your say. www.justice.vic.gov. au/graffiti
Zach Does Hip Hop. Lesson 2: Painting with Visiting Euro Writers
12. MADLIB I don’t know what the fuck Peanut Butter Wolf and Egon put in the office water cooler at Stones Throw HQ, but it certainly keeps Madlib churning out product. Otis Jackson just dropped a Bollywood ﬂavoured instalment in the Beat Konducta series, some tasty new-age jazz ish under the Yesterdays New Quintet alias, did a few tracks on Chrome Children 2 and nailed down all the production on Percee P’s long awaited debut ‘Perseverance’. All of them should be in your goddam collection, especially the Rhyme Inspector’s. www.stonesthrow.com
Since Renks just got jail time, I’m sure there are going to be some alarmed conservative parents out there hoping there children aren’t going to be seduced by the evils of graffiti. It will only be a matter of time til hysteria surrounds this particular kid’s product lamely attempting to cash in on the ‘urban art’ craze. Note to Atome; these pricks jacked your artwork! Go check it out at K-Mart mate.
I picked up MF Doom’s ‘MM.. Food’ when it ﬁrst dropped, so I wasn’t all that excited that it was getting re-released. Yeah it’s metalfaced dopeness, but I’ve got it already dammit. Then I saw that it came with an hour of live footage, scratch & sniff stickers and poster. Nice. We got 3 of these things to giveaway to the ﬁrst 3 people who can give us 3 of Daniel Dumile’s alias’s via e-mail. www.mfdoomsite.com
Scribe Apparel hit you with the design equivalent of a brick upside the head. They don’t have anything to do with that Kiwi with a dodgy Brooklyn accent, but are a bunch of heads with roots ﬁrmly in the Aussie graf scene producing some next level t-shirt shit. Rumour has it they have some top secret, limited edition, pimp on e-bay for hundreds of bucks, collaboration type business percolating at the present too. www.scribe-apparel.com
11. MM... FOOD
9. MY FIRST STAINER
7. SCRIBE APPAREL
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16. DJ BONEZ
18. REVOK ONE
Slum Village affiliate and Platinum Pied Piper, Waajeed is carrying the Detroit torch that J Dilla left behind with his passing. But with his new offering “The War LP” (on his own Bling 47 Group label) don’t expect the same laid-back vibes as PPP. This is some rugged, neck-snapping MPC fresh produce. There are some unreleased Jay Dee tracks, Waajeed’s beats are off the chain (my 2 year old daughter loves head-nodding to “Anything”) and I must have been sleeping, cause I’ve never heard of Invincible and she kills it. www.bling47.com
14. PHOTO COMPETITION You haven’t heard of our Peak Street photo comp yet? Fool! You could nab quite a large CD prize pack courtesy of the good folk at Shogun Distribution for simply taking a picture with you and this here magazine and emailing it to us. Better be something very eyebrow raising though (whilst not landing us or you in jail). Check www.peakstreet.com 15. THE DRUG OF A NATION
I thought I had DJ Bonez production pegged, I really did. I started questioning my assumptions when his ‘Ninja Art’ collabo with Omni dropped and now with ‘Roll Call’ he has slapped my pigeonholing upside the head. He has gone back to the crates and the MPC for a raw new sound and I fucking love it. The title track with Sandpeople is classic and his girl must be happy with the love, sweat and ridiculous cut and paste work he put into “No.1”. There are heads like Genetik of Low Budget, Tommy Illﬁgga and The Funkoars reppin on the Cross Fader Raider’s Obese solo too. www.myspace.com/deeyajbonez
AWR / MSK / Seventh Letter soldier Revok One keeps pushing boundaries. This LA cat is a true style king. 19. TURN ON THE RADIO
17. WOODEN TOY
Pull the plug sucker.
Wooden Toy Quarterly has got to be one of the best looking mags out there (besides the tasty piece of produce you currently hold of course– Big up Mr Mann & Bizzwar!). I haven’t skated for eons, but I still pick up WTQ for the hip hop, mental artwork and Timba’s design which is always ahead of the game.
Who says radio is dead? Here is what you should be getting the tape deck out for: The Method (Bris) 4ZZZ 102.1fm – Thu 10pm Droppin Science (Syd) 2ser 107.3fm - Fri 7pm Premium Blend (ADL) 3D Radio 93.7fm – Tue 9pm The Cypher (ADL) Fresh 92.7fm – Fri 10pm Deep End Radio (Mel) Kiss 87.8fm – Wed 9:30pm Step Up Radio (Mel) SYN 90.7fm – Wed 9:30pm
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21. BLOOM Ever since DJ Shadow jumped on the nuts of hyphy I’ve been listening out for somebody producing tight musical arrangements with intricately layered samples like Josh Davis used to do. I didn’t think it would be coming from some independent Aussie cat. Melbourne’s Bloom has obviously been scouring vinyl bins for a while and has laced together some of the most impressive dusty instrumental hip hop I’ve heard for a while on ‘Dust Whispers’. Beats are cinematic! You throw a track like ‘Between Spaces’ in the headphones and you just get lost in the subtleties. www.myspace.com/edwardbeckley
Kutmasta Kurt and Kool Keith just dropped “Sex Style: The Un-Released Archives”, a bunch of never heard musings from Keith’s depraved, genius of a mind that were laid down during the original “Sex Style” sessions. All you need to know is that Kurt’s production is solid throughout and as it was done right before the seminal Dr Octagon, Keith is lyrically killing it! A sample of the lunacy - ‘Yeah never less as I come in my green Cadillac with my purple cape uncircumcised with no raincoat, with no underwear, prepare for the phantom with yo big eyes, ha ha huh yeah!’ www.threshrecs.com 24. FUCKWITS
25. RUGGED INTELLECT Rugged Intellect’s album ‘Renaissance Music: The Introduction’ copped 3.5 mics in The Source. That’s pretty good for an indie MC who wouldn’t have the cash to pay for a good review in that bullshit magazine. I can’t believe this cat is Canadian either! With his Big Pun inspired ﬂow ,beats from heads like Buckwild, Domingo and Memo of the Molemen and bars from G Rap, Sean P, AG, RA the Rugged Man the sound is that classic NYC type business. This aint pushing the boundaries, but who gives a fuck when you’ve got an MC with true mic mechanics rocking over some solid bangers? www.myspace.com/ruggedintellect 26. NO COPIES Note to publicists: Don’t send photocopied artwork (See Chamber 13 for details). 27. PHAROAHE MONCH
Toby 163 takes out the handstyle comp from Issue Zero and will nab some tasty gear thanks to the good folk at Final Outline. Grab that chisel tip and throw down for next issue. www.ﬁnaloutline.com
23. SEX STYLES
Ego Trip Magazine was the truth! Articles like Dark Skinned vs. Light Skinned Blacks in Hip Hop, Greatest Rappers with Lisps, talking to The Liks’s J-Ro purely about breasts and some of the funniest interviews ever recorded thanks to a ﬁctional cereal box cartoon character made this publication one of the very few hip hop mags worth reading.
22. EGO TRIP
I’m sick of deadshit fuckwits heading out to hip hop gigs with the sole intention of being a deadshit fuckwit and getting busy with their knuckles. Leave the attitude at home or stay the fuck there deadshit
G-G-GET UP! Pharoahe is hitting our shores early next year as part of the Good Vibrations tour (along with Kanye, Cypress, ATrak, Lyrics Born). I demand a goddam sideshow!
20. HANDSTYLE COMP WINNER
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28. MF GRIMM
Grimm is lyrically back on point! And he has Stricknine and his Class A Records to thank. Personally I didn’t really think anybody could pass off a part-concept album about a gangsta gingerbread man living in Candy Land except maybe Kool Keith, but MF Grimm has proved me wrong. Stricknine’s drums throughout ‘The Hunt for the Gingerbread Man’ are tighter than a fat girl’s sock too. The wheelchair bound MC also just dropped ’Sentences’; his life story in graphic novel format. www.classarecords.com
29. HUNGRY HUMANS The Cats aren’t the only thing from Geelong on the come up. The Hungry Human crew looks like they’re planning a hostile scene takeover with two new releases from Fatty Phew (’23 Years In The Making’) and Mankind (Thorts of Field Trip and QLD’s 750 Rebels producer V teaming up for ‘It Is What It Is’ ). Both are quality indie releases from two reﬁned MC’s whose lyrics are honest, no-bullshit and down to earth, but they can still rip you and your fucking crew too. Phew is no slouch behind the boards either handling all his own production and V should be getting paid 10 G’s a beat! www.myspace.com/mankindcrew & www.myspace.com/phewcha
32. BOOMTOWN Boomtown’s the new home of boom-bap! DATS Sammsonite of and The Optimen are crushing all-comers with their worldclass, relentless, headnodding loops on ‘Red Tape Renegades Volume 1’. The whole label roster puts in work. The Optimen solidify their reputation as some of our shores ﬁnest, Pure Product are going to be fucking huge (check the skills on “Addicted”) and Balboa stomps through some more goon rap. Essential. www.myspace.com/redtapeentertainment
Yeah this is more like it! The ﬁrst thing I noticed about ‘Hard to Kill’ is the awesome neck snapping production mainly from Funkoars kingpin Trials. Trials provides some really mean killer anthem type beats for Vents to punish which he does with serious attitude, good mic skills. He tears your ears to bits with a mature, raw sort of style. I don’t know what it was exactly but Aussie Boom Bap came to mind when I listened to this. There’s a few guest spots including Suffa from the Hoods, Robby Balboa, Mortar, and Sesta but the standout is the chemistry between Mr Vents 1 and Trials. This needs to be in your collection. www.myspace.com/ventz
33. GETO BOYS
31. IVENS A mate reckons that Ivens is straight jacking El-P’s style on his debut ‘Sounds To Expire To’, an argument I’ve heard around the place. Bullshit I says! This is an amazing album that lyrically tilts it’s cap towards Def Jux MC’s like El-P and Aesop, but that stands very fucking strong on it’s own two. Sonically Plutonic Lab comes with some sinister noir atmospherics, (some of his best work behind the boards), and Ivens drops layers and layers of rapid ﬁre knowledge that gets under your skin and makes you ant to tear at your own ﬂesh. ‘There is no phone ringing!’ www.myspace.com/daveivens
I’ve been listening to way too much of the Geto Boys recently. You should be too motherfucker!!!! Though I still can’t believe that Bushwick Bill (a man who co-wrote tracks like “My Minds Playing Tricks On Me”) has become a Born Again Christian rapper. That’s just wrong. 34. LOOPS Anyone else notice 9th Wonder ﬂipping exactly the same loop for the “Merchant of Dreams” track on his latest ‘The Dream Merchant 2’ LP, as Kaos did for him and Justice on their EP opener “Our Time”? Got to admit I thought 9th rocked a tighter version, but still Third World had it locked ﬁrst. Bring out the lawyers.
21/12/2007 4:33:55 PM
Snap up Issue Zero? Lucky bastard! Check the background Endtroducing type shot in the background of the Editorial of that Issue. Actually you can check the photo up on the website too. Whoever can correctly name the MOST items from that photo will win the next 4 issues mailed to their door, some quality albums and maybe a pack of mi goreng noodles. www.peakstreet.com
36. FREE SHIT!
I only know 2 things about jewellery. 1. Guys should only wear dookie gold ropes. 2. Ladies should only wear Hayley Meiâ€™s work. Full stop. Hayley describes her jewellery as only made for women who want to marry Ghostface. How legit is that! Fresh kicks, dead swallows, cute knuckle dusters and dangerous cats all feature in the new line. www. hayleymei.com
SECTION NAME GOES HERE
35. HAYLEY MEI
21/12/2007 4:34:10 PM
21/12/2007 4:34:20 PM
BY ULTIMATE HATER
You are a slave. Not philosophically or as an exaggeration to drive home a point. Literally you are a slave. Your parents, your family, your friends, everyone you know is a slave and everyone you love is a slave. Perhaps you agree with this but more than likely you fall into one of either two categories; You understand what I’m saying but you need to listen to raps and there are bills to pay or you think the statement is wrong and you are a free man or woman. Today no one forces you to clean toilets, ﬁx, cars, sweep ﬂoors, package food, crunch numbers, design buildings, serve drinks, ﬂy planes or lay bricks. On the contrary you are actually rewarded with wages if you chose to do those things, pretty sweet right? You and I sell our labour, time and creativity for a fraction of the value of what it is we produce. You can work or you can starve, in a sense it is a relationship based on violence. Negotiation and exchange are carried out not according to respect and concern but the forces that can be brought to bare between you and your employer or the industry you work in (unions, IR laws, strikes, etc). It is
Let’s look at some examples of the capitalist pissing and shitting all over our mattresses while we worm around trying to stop him… The US might be the only world super power, but at the turn the 20th century it was far from a ﬁrst world country. Child labour was rampant, worker rights non existent and what were essentially private militias, such as the Pinkerstons, were running around violently putting down worker rallies and inﬁltrating unions. This continued right into the 1930’s and keep in mind these were not subtle measures like IR laws, this was outright aggression by private power to smash trade unions. It was reported openly in the business press, ﬁltered throughout popular culture and further more it worked; resulting in the US now having the close to the worst labour laws and protection for workers in the entire western hemisphere and Europe. While the history of the working class is universal lets have a closer squiz at our country. In 1890 seamen went on strike against, amongst other things, mass wage cuts. Beginning in Adelaide the strike quickly spilled over into other colonies, particularly NSW and Victoria. The colonial governments got a little shook and decided to deploy one thousand military personal across several ports. On August 31st a public meeting was held in support of the maritime workers which had the Victorian government setup machine gun nests and reminded the military stationed if the order was given they were to “…Fire low and lay them out” and not pop off into the air. Regardless sixty thousand protestors showed up although the shortage of money and large supply of scabs eventually defeated the strikers.
Now to tie this back into hip hop… but how without offending anyone? I will try this - If you know Immortal Technique lyrics better than you know the history of the proletariat you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you know more about Air Max 90 designs than you know about where Air Max 90s are made you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you are more concerned with where the horn sample comes from rather than where the 8 hour day comes from you’re still not doing yourself any favors. If every book ever written on Hip Hop is correct then it turns out that Hip Hop stemmed from poverty. Who knew!? So what has changed? The capitalist naturally came along and got his exploitation on, but did I fall asleep and wake up in a world where real hip hop is not about poverty, struggle or social issues? No? Then why is all the talk in the club, on the train and at the barbecue about ‘party and bullshit’ and not politics and class war?
HATE THY NEIGHBOUR
& HIP HOP
What do we know about this? Well there is three hundred and thirty million tax payer dollars ($330,000,000) down the fucking drain to ensure that annoying shit like democracy, dissent, free speech, etc don’t get in the way. No wait, it’s for ‘security’ and ‘counter terrorism’ right? We really should be rioting over this type of bullshit except the money got spent on stuff to make sure we don’t riot over this type of bullshit, like giant concrete walls to keep us out and a fucking water cannon tank incase we learn how to climb, “…Fire low and lay them out” right? This will go to print well after this years APEC but for a bit of fun think back to how many times the Murdoch and Packer news outlets, all 95% of them in this country, refer to demonstrations as ‘violent’ over property destruction with the inference that the population are in the wrong and the police are a force of peace and just there to mediate. Also watch for the scapegoating about it being ‘radical foreign professional protestors’ that ‘ruin it for the peaceful protest’.
But why have a big cry right? Capitalism has brought us freedom and a good quality of living, or has it? Apologists of capitalism, perhaps better described as ignorant dickhead cunts, will brush off these ‘small’ criticisms by ‘left wing’ people because of the prosperity it has brought. Is the slave sleeping in the warmth of the barn any less of a fucking slave than the one who sleeps outside? The reality is that capitalism has brought almost none of the things we enjoy in our advanced industrial society. The freedoms we have were won through decades of struggle (class warfare) and technological wonders, such as the internet, have been funded by the public and later released to private enterprise.
Not forgetting the Eureka Stockade of 1854 the trend of the worker getting shat on by private and political power continued into the 20th century and although lacking space to cover here includes notable events such as the ’34 cane cutters strike, the ’86 nurses’ strike and the ’89 pilots strike. That is a brief history of getting pissed on, which brings us to this years APEC summit.
important, if for no other reason, to understand that the economic system we are in doesn’t beneﬁt us, we are the working class.
21/12/2007 4:34:31 PM
THE MELBOURNE STANDOVER PIGEON
Yo what up? So you’re all probably wondering why the hell I’m here, what have I got to do with hip hop culture and how the fuck do I even manage to type up a column? Right? Like I have to explain myself to any of you dumb khunts!! My name is Bosco, I’m a pigeon, and that’s all you need to bloody know. Got it? Get it? Good! I run a crew of Melbourne based back alley pigeons but have global links to the pigeon underworld. We are everywhere, we are ubiquitous, we are pigeon!! I mean look out of your window at any given time and you’ll probably see one of my boys on the prowl. MPM big ups!! We got this city covered end to end and there’s nothing nobody can do about it, in fact, no one is closer to the street and the underground than the pigeon. Whilst you bitches sleep tight all nice and rugged up in your jim jams, us pige are bombing the city streets non stop. We get up more in this town then when Puzzle used to live behind the Macleod lay up. Yerhearme?? There’s nothing that happens in Melbourne that the pigeons don’t have a pulse on. Hell homie, I could tell you what color panties your girl is wearing today! Anyway the good people here at Peak Street have conscripted me to write for you fools and keep you up to date with all things that are pigeon, plus give you cats the low down on new music with Bosco’s music review. No bullshit and straight up cos that’s just how pigeons roll.
This issues review: MIMS – MUSIC IS MY SAVIOR Music is My Savior is the full length debut album from NY rapper MIMS. Firstly the thing that most impressed me with Shawn Mims is that this dude has the extraordinary ability to be able to continue to spit rhymes with a mouth and throat full of jizz from sucking his own dick. Essentially this is a lyrically weak ‘club hit’ album that is pretty much a homage to his narcissistic views on himself and his abilities. It’s east coast produced but comes off quasi dirty south in sound, with MIMS occasionally sounding like a Jay-Z wannabe. You can tell the production dollars have been spent on this joint with predictable but catchy hooks and samples and even some decently deep jeep style basslines on tracks like “Just Like That” however I suspect the kinda peeps going apeshit for MIMS will be pushing thugged out Hyundai’s with crackly speakers. His catalyst and the Number 1 US Hit “This Is Why I’m Hot” makes me angry at the music buying public. Other then some nice 808 beeps, this track is like a spiked dildo in your earhole; and as a bonus you get 2 more versions of it on this 17 track offering. Fucking brilliant!! The only pleasure I got from this whole album was listening to “Don’t Cry” an introspec-
tive soul bearing song, where he raps about how he’d cry when his chicken head mother used to leave him locked up ‘always going out’, ‘dating bad dudes’ followed by a teary and repetitive chorus of ‘don’t cry’, complete with his audible breathing which makes you think he wrote it consoling himself after a gay sex encounter. So I guess if you’re into generic club style hip hop with lyrics like “I’m hot ‘cos I’m ﬂy! You ain’t ‘cos you not!”, then this shit here is tailor made for you. My buddy Chester said he could smell the ho’s whilst listening to it, so I guess there is an audience out there. I just can’t believe it’s as big as it is. I’ll leave this one with a quote from El-P: “When sales control stats I place no faith in the majority”. Peace and Pigeon Grease. Bosco The Melbourne Standover Pigeon www.myspace.com/melbournepigeon
21/12/2007 4:34:34 PM
OBESE RECORDS PRESENTS:
A PROFOUND AND ESSENTIAL STATEMENT OF OUR TIMES... FEATURING GUEST APPEARANCES BY
PLANET ASIA • MUPH • FUNKOARS VENTS • DRAPHT • PATTO • ILLY • KYE & REAGAN WITH CUTS BY THE ONE AND ONLY DJ BONEZ!
CD AND DOUBLE LP
AVAILABLE NOW! FOR MORE INFO CHECK OUT THESE WEBSITES: WWW.PEGZ.COM.AU WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MCPEGZ AND WWW.OBESERECORDS.COM PEAKSTREET-MASTERDOCUMENT-01.ind19 19
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© Sosio 2007
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Corbin: Alright so this is a quiz on Australia. If you fail you will be ridiculed in front of the entire readership of this ﬁne upstanding publication. Akrobatik: OK, let’s do it. RA: I’ll probably fail this shit, I don’t even know the US really good. The English supposedly ‘found’ Australia back in 1788 and quickly went about
Correct. Alright do you know who Australia’s current Prime Minister is? RA: Nah! I don’t even know what the fuck a Prime Minister is. The leader of the country. RA: Pope John Paul or the A-Team. Akro: I don’t know. Let me give you some options here. A) Peter Costello, B) Peter Garrett, C) John Howard or D) Might as well be George Bush. Akro: (Laughs) What was the third one? John Howard. Yeah John Howard. Correct. Is it actually physically possible to ride a kangaroo? Akro: No. Not without a saddle. (Laughs) RA: Probably not, but anything is physically possible. Like you probably shouldn’t and couldn’t cause you would probably get hurt or something, but there is probably a physical way to do it. Or is it easy shit? I don’t know about those fuckers. You cannot. But you can eat them. RA: I aint ever ate no kangaroo, but I ate a zebra.
Close enough. Now David Boon holds one of the greatest records in Australian sport, which is the record for the number of cans of beer drunk during a 22 hour ﬂight from Sydney to London. You guys have just been on a similar length ﬂight. How many cans of beer did this great man knock over on an Australian cricketing tour back in 1989? RA: A cricket guy? 85. Akro: 22 hours? About 1400 minutes? So maybe you could do 10 an hour, one every 6 minutes, maybe 14 an hour, so times 22 hours… I’m going to say 306. 52. Akro: Yeah I think 306 beers would probably kill someone. 52 beers is more beer then I have had in my entire life, that’s why I don’t realise how many beers is realistic. (Laughs) RA: I could beat it. Now the Hilltop Hoods are Australia’s most well know…. Akro: Rap group and they are from Adelaide city. RA: I know who the Hilltop Hustlers are too, they were Steady B, Cool C and their DJ and they were on Ruff House Records. Alright a speciﬁc question for Akro now. You are a big NFL fan. Name 1 Australian who has made it big in the NFL. We are talking Pro Bowl, best of the best.
HIPHOPOLOGY W/ CORBIN CONYOS
RA The Rugged Man and Akrobatik rocked our shores recently as part of the Up To No Good Tour. We sent Professor Corbin Conyos to educate the two of them backstage in Melbourne about our great southern land. That was until the good Professor and RA got into an altercation with security and were thrown out of the venue. Could have had something to do with RA mouthing off about the bouncers on stage though and getting the crowd to sing “Fuck Security!” minutes earlier.
“Throw another shrimp on the barbie” became a familiar slogan throughout the United States through a series of advertisements promoting Australia as a tourist destination. However Australia’s don’t call shrimps shrimps. What do they call them? Akro & RA: Prawns.
Who is this revered Australian and what is he famous for? (Holds up a picture of David Boon) RA: A bodybuilder or a wrestler. Akro: Is he like maybe one of those strongmen? He is affectionately known as The Keg on Legs. Akro: Oh so he’s a champion beer drinker. Well that is partly true. He is actually a famous Australian cricketer named David Boon. You know cricket right? RA: That game where they hit the ball with a fucking hammer or something (Laughs).
Robbery it is. And how many years did they cop? Akro: Maybe 25 years? RA: 25? Incorrect. Seven years. Akro: I was going to say that man, I was going to fucking say that.
Sir where the fuck did you eat a zebra? RA: Some weird African restaurant in Germany. It was alright, a little rough. Like a rough steak or something.
RA THE RUGGED MAN AND
founding a penal colony here and shipping out whoever they didn’t like much. What was the crime that the majority of criminals were transported to Australia for and how many years were they slapped with? Akro: Wow... Um, maybe adultery? RA: Robbery.
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Akro: Modern day or old-school? Modern day. Akro: Shit... Australian? (Long, long, long pause…) Alright tell me. Darren Bennet. Akro: Shit! (Laughs). He’s Australian? Alright RA, it is common knowledge you are a big boxing fan… RA: Well you only got a couple people, you got Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tzu and then Anthony Mundine is the new guy.
HIPHOPOLOGY W/ CORBIN CONYOS
Superior knowledge sir. So what are your thoughts on Mr Mundine. RA: I think he got knocked out by Sven Ottke who can’t punch (Laughs). Look I think Anthony is a good ﬁghter but that is where it stops. I don’t think he will ever be one of the top guys. I think he is good, but he will lose to the best every time. You know he thinks he’s a rapper as well. RA: I don’t believe that. It’s true. He has been releasing rap tracks and making blinged out ﬁlm clips also. His last song was titled ‘Platinum Rider’. RA: He could probably rap as well as I could go 12 rounds with my stamina (Laughs). Let him stick to doing his 12 round ﬁghts and let me stick to the rapping. Anthony if you’re listening – stick to the ﬁghting! We saw Roy Jones rap and that was bad too. Alright time to test your knowledge of Aussie slang. If I was to ask you “Where is the dunny?”, what would I be looking for? RA: I don’t know any of your slang, you guys confuse the shit out of me. Catch up on AK’s mic career with his recent best-of Essential Akrobatik and check for his new album on Fat Beats with collaborations with heads like Chuck D, Little Brother and Talib Kweli. www.myspace.com/therealakrobatik You got to love a man who drops quotes like - “I say the shit that everyone thinks, but no one says. All rappers have vaginas. Grow some balls motherfuckers and say your mind.” Check RA at www. myspace.com/ratheruggedman and hope like hell he drops a new album on Nature Sounds soon. Fresh as fuck artwork by Linz. Checkit: www.myspace.com/rock_mo_town
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“WE HAVE ALREADY ESTALISHED OURSELVES AS ONE OF THE BIGGEST INDEPENDENT LABELS ”
You are living under a fairly sizable fucking rock if you don’t know Obese Records yet. What started out as a small Prahan record store back in 1995, has grown to become the most successful and respected independent hip hop label in the country with an artist roster that includes the likes of The Hilltop Hoods, Muph & Plutonic, Funkoars, Bias B, and Downsyde. The man behind building Obese into the beast it is today is the guy who took up the reigns in 2002 – Pegz. With the 50th release just out the boss looks back.
- PEGZ the best of each. From the live sort of sounding Downsyde, the Hoods as your sort of standard hip hop group, up and comers like Drapht and the electro style of Hyjack and Torcha… we got a bit of everything I think, so we have a lot of the bases covered. Did you ever think you were going to become on of the biggest independent labels in Australia? I think we have already established ourselves as one of the biggest independent labels in the country so far, just in terms of success I guess. We have had a lot of success that other independent labels haven’t had in this country. As you know with Hilltop Hoods going number one; that is only the second independent release in Australian history to do that. So we’ve made history in a lot of ways over the last ﬁve years. So you juggle roles at Obese Records, Zoo Dynamics (local distributor for international releases) and Zenith (one of the last vinyl pressing plants in the southern hemisphere).
So do you try to work to the same expectations you have of your artists when you are recording too? Absolutely. I just sort of know what they expect with their release and their goals and their successes. Yo just sort of have that communication which is sort of unsaid I guess. So when can we expect another solo drop from yourself and is there any truth to the rumours that with Bias B’s latest drop that it could be his last? Deﬁnitely not the last from Bias B, he is just getting warmed up to tell you the truth. He is going to be our 100th release (laughs). He might be about 50 or something…. I don’t know. Everybody has a certain amount of releases in them I guess to stay relevant to the audience, but there is no expiry date right now for Bias. My next release is coming out in September and I’m pretty hard at work at it at the moment, so it’s starting to shape up.
Interview by G-Force Design by Mr. Mann
So how do you approach that management role at Obese? I mean do you approach your artist’s more as a boss or as a friend? You do approach them sort of as a friend most times. They see that you are in similar boat and trying to achieve similar things as a solo recording artist and I think you can sort of relate on a certain level, but a lot of other industry people or bosses can’t. It’s not even that uncommon these days, you got people like Urthboy and people like Raph who are also running their own labels and are also artists. Everybody seems to be a multi-tasker these days.
When you were establishing the label and signing on artists to the roster did you have a clear idea of what you were after? I mean if you go through the list it seems like you’ve got most bases covered in terms of various styles of hip hop, but was that intentional? Not really. It was just more based on the music that I sort of dig myself. I like to think that of each individual sort of style I have got
What educational skills did you bring to the table to handle managing all this work? There are no real great academic qualiﬁcations or anything really, it’s just experience with hip hop. I have been listening to hip hop and doing the math for a good 20 years now. I guess that’s a lot of listening experience. In terms of the business experience, there is a whole vast array of qualiﬁcations there but no tertiary qualiﬁcations. But a tonne of experience through promoting, bringing out my own records before I owned the record company. You know paying for your own records, working at Obese a couple of years before I bought the business brought a lot of experience as well. So there has been a whole range of stuff there, but basically it has been life experience and that is enough to get you through. I think most people who have been successful in hip hop, if you take a look, most of them are running their business through life experience.
Congratulations with Obese’s 50th release with Bias B’s Been There Done That. Did you ever imagine you would get to 50 releases when you took over Obese in 2002? Well you never know what’s going to happen I guess. It was deﬁnitely one of the goals when I bought the business. I thought 50 releases would be a pretty stellar effort for Obese. It’s been quite an exciting journey up to the 50th release. We got 51 with the Hilltop Hoods new release and that’s a good way to kick off the next 50.
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PEGZ INTERVIEW ISSUE ONE PEAK STREET
So looking back at the past 50 releases, since you’ve been boss how have you maintained quality control over each release and has there ever been times when you’ve come to heads with artists about their direction or about certain tracks they’re putting on the album? There have been times where I’ve had to look at certain tracks and say that there is a sample in there that is way too obvious or way too well known and I’ve had to make them chop a lot of stuff. There has been other times when maybe something had been said that I wasn’t totally happy with and I have had to edit it or something like that. By and large I think most artists have pretty much been able to get the release they’ve handed me out without any sort of interference from myself and that’s the way I like to keep it. Of course there is quality control and over the last few years there might have been one or two little things that I haven’t been happy with and I’ve let them go just due to the fact that sometimes you really want to give your mates a good go cause they deserve it just through the amount of work they’ve put into the scene. So sometimes yo do
have to let a few little things go, but I think out of 50 releases there is a really high quality and consistency there. With the commercial success of Hilltop, Muph & Plutonic and yourself getting more radio and television coverage are you looking for that in your new releases more now, that one track that might cross over a little bit? Not necessarily. If you look at our last couple of signings with Funkoars and Vents they are probably not really geared towards radio play and televisions and licensing and stuff. A bit of everything is good. There are artists who are going to ﬁt into that criteria and their music is going to get played on radio and there are others who aren’t. I’ve got a feeling that people like Funkoars will be able to achieve a certain level of success without having to go down that route and maybe radio will come to them and adapt to their style of music. If you have got edgier music you can still achieve that success. I think the radio do sometimes give Obese special treatment when it come to radio play and we do get the majority of our releases added to a lot of stations. I think our reputation in the industry allows our artists to get priority.
With Hilltops Re-Strung how did that come about and what audience are you aiming that at? It was just something The Hoods wanted to do I guess and when Suffa gets something in his mind it has to be done. I was a bit wary of it at the start, thinking how was it going to be perceived by the public, but I’m quite happy with the end product. I think The Hoods are always going to be pushing the bounds in terms of what is expected of them. Just touching on the distribution side of things that Obese Records handle as well, what sort of importance does distribution have within the business and how do you monitor that in terms of quality? A lot of the time, somebody sends in a CD that we kind of dig and a lot of these artists we take on with a view of developing them as well. Like say with the Rigorous Crew; over the last couple of years their releases seem to get a bit better and a bit better. A few people at the start would have gone, ‘What are you doing distributing this
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Well just that with a few of the last releases. Like on Axis a little bit and on Been There
“IF YOU WENT AROUND THE COUNTRY NOW, MOST SHOWS WOULD PROBABLY GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS THE BEST SHOW IN EACH STATE FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS ” - PEGZ tremely unique in this country. I mean you don’t hear people yelling out how great Inertia crew is or bloody Creative Vibes or anything like that. There has never been such an admiration for a label in this country like the following that Obese has, which we have built up over the last couple of years. It isn’t due to myself or one individual person, but from the start it has been a collective passion behind Obese. The way it has taken off around the country has been phenomenal we’re just stoked man. It has been such a family effort. Yeah enough of that, it’s far too early for that…. Yeah it fucking is. I got to get a coffee big time! So how has The Block Party gone this year now that is has gone nationwide? Was that the original idea to get it national? I mean it must be a quite a big effort to get everybody together and get it booked up? For sure, it’s a logistic nightmare to put the Obese Block Party on. There are so many acts and so many little niggly things to get or-
Is that going to be a yearly event now? I think yeah we will make it a yearly event. We want to have another Block Party maybe toward the end of the year for Melbourne and Perth. Perth missed out unfortunately, but I want to do another Block Party in Melbourne where the whole crew comes over. Hopefully get The Hoods and a lot of the WA crew and anyone else who missed out on the Melbourne one last time. I would always like to keep the Melbourne one as the one trying to get the whole crew together, because it’s great to have everybody in the same place at once and that’s like our yearly family picnic for us. Pegz new album (and last we hear) “Burn City” is out now. Vents “Hard to Kill” and DJ Bonez “Roll Call” should be in your collection by now too. www.obeserecords.com
With artists who have left the label, how hard is it to be in your position as a boss and having friends who are involved who are then effected by your business decisions. Well the only people that didn’t resign with the label are Bliss & Eso really. That’s not a big deal anymore and I wish the boys best of luck with Illusive and I don’t really have any beefs with anybody really. I mean Solomon used to work with us for years and then he went to This Is It. I still see him around and think of him as a brother. I don’t really care if people have left Obese. It doesn’t make it difficult to see them. There has only been very, very few that haven’t stuck tight with us over the years. Are you trying to be more speciﬁc with that question? Is there something else you are trying to say or…
Well how has this all come about? Well look, we got a pretty good team now. We got the two killer girls - Kveta and Bianca, and they do a stellar job. Kveta is the publicist and Bianca is sort of the operations manager. We got Terry in distribution, Bias in the sort of packing department. I think everyone does a hella job. A lot of the artists are shouting out the label in their records and we don’t have this label be this sterile sort of bank that lends money. It is more a hub and a family and I think that is ex-
ganised. Every show has been special. Melbourne was probably the least exciting show of all the shows, even though it was still quite huge in terms of attendance. If you went around the country now, most shows would probably go down in history as the best show in each state for the last couple of years at least from the reports I’ve received anyway. We had 800 people in Sydney, 1000 people in Brisbane, 700-800 people in Adelaide and 600-700 in Tasmania as well. They are massive shows for interstate shows and the vibe was just crazy with people just jumping for the whole show. It’s amazing to see and a good sign of things to come for the Block Party. I think the word of mouth would be spreading like wild ﬁre and people would really understand that these nights can be a real memorable experience.
With Obese being involved in community projects like Songs of St Kilda and workshops and doing distribution for young artists who win competitions. What importance do you place on helping the youth in the community and why it important to you and the Obese label? Giving back to the community has always been an important thing for myself, because when I was growing up things were always quite difficult and I was always getting in shit. I think hip hop in general has always been quite giving to the community and quite sympathetic to a lot of people out there who have got it hard. You grow up like I did and you aren’t going to forget where you came from and if you can help in any sort of way you will I guess and it’s as simple as that.
Done That as well as Greatest Hits, there have been a few shots thrown at record stores, labels, people. (Laughs) I seriously woke up ten minutes ago and I am totally lost on this question brother. What did you want me to elaborate on?
release?’ I think that support we have given them over the last three years or so have really helped them develop their music and even their packaging and all that. It has helped them create a little bit of a community within themselves and raise the bar with each release. We take the view that it has to be a certain level of quality, but sometimes we let that level be lowered a little bit if it looks like it is going to be a development situation where over the next couple of years where a label or artist is going to be bringing more to the table. I think a lot of the labels and artists that we distribute at Obese like the UN from QLD and a whole range of guys from Adelaide are really developing artists and over the next couple of years they will be raising the bar.
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OBESE BLOCK PARTY 2007
All the Block Party ﬂicks were taken by our resident Irish madman Simon White. He doesn’t have a website, but contact us if you want him to take ﬂicks or carbomb your enemies. TOMMY ILLFIGG
A & COALITION CR
MUPH & RAPH BOOGIE OBESE BLOCK PARTY CRE
BRIGGS & REASON
PLUTONIC LAB & SLAP 618
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Your lyrics aren’t very literal. There are many layers to what you spit. What’s the reason behind leaving so much room for interpretation in your lyrics? Brad Strut: Basically it makes people work, it makes the listener work you know. I don’t want to spell shit out to people. I mean it’s like you’re treating the listener as a bit of a retard if you just spell it out clear as day you know what I mean. They spend 20 bucks on a CD and I want them to get value off it two or three years down the track. Sort of pick things up a couple of years down the track. Even
I’m not too sure man, I mean if you listen to ‘The Authentic’ it’s a little bit more clear, it’s a bit more straight up. Generally over the last few years my style has just sort of gone that way. And I’m not really inﬂuenced by any MC’s any more you know what I mean. I listen to hip hop, but I don’t listen to hip hop to get inspired to go write rhymes, but just cause it’s good music to chuck on while I’m chilling out or whatever. The last few years I’ve disassociated myself from any sort of inspiration and I don’t know where it’s coming from man. I tend not to get to over analytical about the where the how and the why. I just sort of let it go and see where it ends up mate, that’s sort of what it’s all about these days. Obviously I’ve had MC’s over the years I’ve fucking looked up to and admired their skills and techniques. If anything it’s just a combination of every hip hop record I’ve ever listened to inspires me and not one particular group or one particular artist. Nowadays I just tend to zone out from hip hop and I don’t know where I got all that shit from. Basically if you’re talking about the new album and the cryptic shit and all the rest of it – I mean when I was doing this album I was borderline depression kid. I needed medication but I didn’t go and seek it. I don’t know where the shit comes from man, I was just like locked in a cave and had a pen and pad and a lot of fucking ganja and that’s just where it ended up. You have said in a few other interviews that MCing is a real form of therapy for you. How so – I mean – does it help get shit off your chest or has rhyming actually given you a better understanding of yourself? Yeah I think so man, because basically as a young chap I had a really bad fucking temper you know what I mean? It got to the point where people around me that I cared about were getting real sick and tired of me using violence and outbursts to get my point across. So the next thing that popped up which sort of allowed me to deal
The album is a highly personal one and it sounds like you went through a fucking hectic time while recording it. Did you ﬁnd it uncomfortable putting your deepest darkest thoughts out there? More so when I got it. Cause I’ve been away. Like I recorded the material over two to three years ago and when I got the ﬁrst master sent to me over here (London) a lot had changed even since I last recorded my last song. When I listened to it I was like, “Fuck man, you were in a dark place”. It was a little bit difficult to listen to and it is now. But at the end of the day it’s also good closure on a lot of shit that I was going through and a good way to sort of put an end to the drama that was fucking sort of taking over my life while I was recording it. Times done changed man. Since I’ve done that album there’s been a lot of water under the bridge. You’re right in saying that it is uncomfortable to fucking listen to it after so long, but at the same time if you don’t face your demons then they’re just going to fucking follow you around aren’t they? You said that after the album was done you just had to get out of Melbourne. Now you’re based in London at the moment and have been travelling around Europe and hit India as well. Has the trip been an eye opener? Yeah man of course. Look it’s never going to change you 100%. You’re never going to go away on a plane and come back a totally different person. In your formative years, from birth up until that age that sort of shapes the person you’re going to be anyway and all the things that are going to inﬂuence you to become that person. Which you don’t even know about at that age, it’s your parents teaching you, it’s the things you see, it’s all those other things. They
BRAD STRUT INTERVIEW
Brad Strut has always been considered one of the most talented lyricists in Oz. Ever since he started hitting Melbourne open mics and radio airwaves in the early 90’s we knew he had skill. Then with his solo ‘The Authentic’ and his work as a member of Lyrical Commission he cemented his place near the top of the MC food chain. But with his new album ‘Legend: Ofﬁcial’ he steps his spit game up another level. The intricacy of his wordplay combined with a lot of bullshit in his personal life has resulted in an LP that is dense, raw and timeless. Perhaps even legendary.
Are the MC’s who have inﬂuenced you the ones who have that level of intricate wordplay?
Interview by dOtbOy Photos by Fat Ho & LL Cool Josh Design by Bizzwar
with my temper and my anger was putting pen to paper. It’s the old adage man – if you got shit on your mind just write it down. It’s almost Psychology 101 (laughs). If you need to get some shit off your chest man just pick up a pen and grab some paper and write down everything that you’re hating about yourself and you’re hating about life and also the shit you like about yourself and what you like about life, and that’s what you end up with. I had a bad problem with my temper man and it sort of seems that rap saved me from being and complete and utter asshole. I’m still a bit of an asshole, but I’m not a complete and utter one, you know what I mean?
though it is layered and cryptic, you can still ﬁnd the meaning in there if you search for it. Spelling it out as clear as day is just boring to me. When I write I’m usually stoned and when I’m stoned I usually go right inside my head and that’s just what comes out man.
21/12/2007 5:46:13 PM
tend to stick with you anyway. But Melbourne is a small place man. I love Melbourne, don’t get me wrong! Melbourne is the bombest city on earth. But I spent my whole life there and it’s the same people, it’s the same places, the same faces, the same fucking roads, the same train lines, the same clubs, the same fucking pubs, the same everything. Everyone knows your business and it was good to get out of there and just see how other people do things and experience things everywhere else. The last 18 months of my life have been unbelievable man. I’ve seen some shit I’d never thought I would see. My ﬁrst stop out of Melbourne was Bombay, India and I thought that was a really good thing cause I was in my comfort zone but then my ﬁrst trip out of Australia was something that just threw me into something I thought I would never fucking see. I thought, “If I’ve got things to complain about back home, then they’re minor
BRAD STRUT INTERVIEW
“I WAS JUST LIKE LOCKED IN A CAVE AND HAD A PEN AND PAD AND A LOT OF FUCKING GANJA AND THAT’S JUST WHERE IT ENDED UP” - BRAD STRUT in comparison to some of the issues that are facing any human being living in Bombay”. So from the get go it taught me a couple of things. But I’ve got to go back to Australia one day and I just want to sort of take as much experience as I can from my travels. It can only be beneﬁcial to you to get out of your comfort zone and go and try something different, which to me has been travelling and seeing new things. I have seen some fucking crazy shit man, and things I used to complain about and whinge about are minor now. So travelling has given you a new perspective on things? Yep. Certainly has man. I mean seriously, we’ve got it good in Australia man. We’ve got a pretty nice little set-up in Melbourne. If you want to succeed in life you can. Before there were moments when I thought, “If I want to succeed in life I can’t”. So that’s one perspective that’s changed deﬁnitely. There is a whole bunch of things man, I could go on for fucking hours about the things that I’ve seen and experienced overseas that have changed my outlook on where I’m going and why I’m going there. So it can
only be beneﬁcial mate and it’s good for the material as well, cause I’ve just picked up a pen again recently and shit is on whole nutha level again. So it’s good for everything man – personally, musically, everything. Well you’ve hooked up with a shitload of heads overseas like UK’s Foreign Beggars and Beat Butcha. How did you hook up with the Polish crew WWO? Basically at Hip Hop Kemp the organisers dump everyone in the same hotel. So basically you party all day, you party all night, you go back to this hotel and it’s another party and it tends to be all the performers and all the people associated with them. So we were blind drunk for 72 hours straight. In the hallways you tend to meet people, they might not speak English but you sort of speak the language of hip hop. So I asked this dude if he had any spare weed, because I couldn’t get to sleep. We did try to get some sleep here and there. So he said, “Yeah yeah. Come with us”. Sat down with him, his name was Jedker and he told me was in WWO. I just remembered from the day before we copped their set and it was fucking unbelievable man. So we got talking and that and it was amazing man. He started telling me about his hip hop experiences over a couple of joints and they were similar man. He was talking about the shows, the problems they came across, the politics, the dramas, the glory, whatever. The stories were very similar. So we had a connection straight away. Then we left Kemp, I went to Austria, he went back to Poland and I thought that was it. I met a nice guy from WWO, a good bloke, a good MC who had a live show that was killer and that was the memory that I had. Then a couple of months later he hunted me down. He went through the label, got in touch with Trem, Trem sent him in my direction and he basically sent me an email and said, “We got to hook up man I’m in London.” A lot of Poles are moving to London these days man. Thankfully he just lives up the road so went up there and got some shit happening. Obviously they do a different style of rap to us, but it’s good to sort of challenge yourself that way anyway. I was just like, “Fuck it. Let’s do a track, let’s get some shit poppin!” They’re good fellas. Mad pricks actually. Well you aint a guy who sticks to expectations anyway. I mean when I ﬁrst heard the album I thought that heads were going to have issues with you working with singers like
Lee Sissing and Daniel Merriwether. Did you ever expect you were going to get people in the scene claiming you had sold out? I couldn’t give a fuck about them you know anyway. I would love them, if they had a problem about me changing up my style, to actually come up to me and actually ask me about it cause I would give them a spiel that would leave them saying, “Well he aint selling out”. It’s music man! You’ve got to be able to express yourself however the fuck you please and the last thing Brad Strut is going to get done to him is pigeonholed. I’ll keep ‘em guessing. Wait til the next one mate. That will be on some other shit again. There is always gong to be somebody who isn’t going to like your shit. You cannot fucking please everyone and if you try to you’re going to
“IF YOU DON’T FACE YOUR DEMONS THEN THEY’RE JUST GOING TO FUCKING FOLLOW YOU AROUND AREN’T THEY?” - BRAD STRUT hit a brick wall. I just do what I feel, when it comes to the recording process and trust my instincts to get me through. I have heard enough hip hop in my life to know what is good and what is shit. Not too much that we record hits the cutting room ﬂoor. A lot of it gets kept. I couldn’t care less for the haters. They are everywhere. I’ve been a hater in the past. I know the psyche of a hater, cause I’m the supreme one. I have been the supreme one. So anyone trying to hate on me is going to come across rebuttals all day long. I will turn ‘em out. I will turn a hater into a lover. I can out-psyche ‘em. So it doesn’t bother me. I do what I feel. I enjoy working with people like Daniel Merriwether. I enjoy working with Lee Sissing. They are talented people. If you had asked me two years before if I would have worked with them, I may not of. But with time comes a little bit of wisdom and I feel like things I used to hold dear to me in the hate department really don’t matter to me anymore. So haters get the dick! What! Now yourself and LC have always had pretty strong views on the local scene and what’s wrong with it. I really wanted to dig into that a bit more, cause a lot of heads are interested.
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You are well known connoisseur of the green and the piss. So where have you found the best beer and weed so far on your travels? We scored some sick hash in New Delhi, India, up north there. Damn… I smoked so much I can’t remember. Smoked some ill hash in
- BRAD STRUT in it and the next day he comes to work and he had all these fucking cultivation books. He’d gone out that night and he’d bought all these books and he had a seed list. He goes, “What seeds should I get?” So I picked him AK-47’s, Double BubbleGum and all this other shit. He was like, “Yep, I’m going back to Latvia and I’m going to make a greenhouse and grow this shit”. I went to Latvia about a month ago, and this guy who had never smoked weed in his life had grown a fucking huge greenhouse full of the primest ganja I had ever seen in my life! It was unbelievable! This is full eastern-block, you are up near Russia man and this guy was growing unbelievable weed. You just don’t associate Russia with banging weed, but he had it man. It was banging! I got stories galore man. But I’m getting sick of weed as well man. I’m getting to the point where I’m about to give that shit up too, start living for real.
BRAD STRUT INTERVIEW
“I HAD A BAD PROBLEM WITH MY TEMPER MAN AND IT SORT OF SEEMS THAT RAP SAVED ME FROM BEING A COMPLETE AND UTTER ASSHOLE”
I’ll tell you, I’ll give you the scoop. I put my heart and soul into Obese records yeah. Print this shit! I fucking recommended that Shaz give Pegz a job, because there were some standover people trying to make some fucking money off us on the side, trying to extort us right? So we hired some help and Pegz knows how to knuckle dust, he knows how to ﬁght yeah? So I said, “Well why don’t we give Pegz a job?” Alright cool, he gave him a job. So we worked together for a while and it was all cool, it was all gravy. My boy Shaz goes to jail, right? Pegz sees that as an opportunity to takeover Obese Records. I saw that as an opportunity to look after Shaz’s business while he was in jail. Right? He acquired the business cause Shaz was hard up for money, he needed it for fucking lawyers and shit like that right. As soon as he acquired the business what did Pegz do? He fucking sacked Brad Strut – the dude who gave him the job in the fucking ﬁrst place. There it is, plain as day mate. That’s what happened. He obviously had a personal problem with me man, but he never fucking spoke about it until he had the power to tell me to fuck off. Plain as day mate, that’s how it happened. It was around the time we put out “The Stage Is Set”, there was some controversial shit on there, I don’t think it was up his alley, I don’t think he appreciated some of the shit on it. That’s the truth man. Pegz knows it’s the truth, I know it’s the truth. That’s how it went down man. I don’t think my personality was the type of personality he wanted around because he wanted to take control and fucking do things his way, which is all fair and good. He saw an opportunity. He wanted to turn around a business and make it his own and he didn’t see me in the frame. That’s just life mate, but that’s the truth and that’s how it happened.
Barcelona, Amsterdam, I mean everyone knows that Amsterdam has got the dope weed, it’s a given. But I’ve smoked some unbelievable weed in London as well. When I ﬁrst got here we were getting this Blueberry shit that was just fucking amazing. Beer wise you can’t go past the Czech Republic, they’ve got the best beer on earth. I’ve had dope experiences everywhere. People reckon I’ve got a magnet in my forehead for weed. So even when I’m not trying to get weed, even when I’m not even asking people about weed, it will ﬁnd me. I’ve got a funny story man. This Latvian guy that I used to work with on a worksite, he was 55 years old and he had liver problems. So I said, “Man if you can’t drink, cause your doctor is telling you to not drink, get on the hooter mate, you’ll love it!” And he goes (puts on a Latvian accent), “Hooter? What you mean?” And I said, “Get on the marijuana mate, you’ll fucking love it”. So he got really interested
Now you not only used to be the manager of the Obese store, but you were instrumental in getting the label set up with Shazlek One and your ﬁrst LP The Authentic was released on Obese too. Now something happened there – and heads point to tracks like Monopoly as a real shot at Obese. Any chance we can get your side of things?
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21/12/2007 4:40:21 PM
SHOW Holding Down Tradition
By Robbie Ettelson Photographs by Richard Ross
stuff, that wasn’t just nothing we just did – that was a couple of years worth of material and we just took the best ones. That’s how sometime an album have to be made. Are there many songs from the ﬁrst couple of albums that never came out?
SHOW INTERVIEW ISSUE ONE PEAK STREET
Since we just started dealing with each other, we’re just trying to feel out each other, musically, to see where we going with it. That’s what I’ve basically started doing at ﬁrst. The main thing is to deﬁnitely ﬁnd loops and have a couple of joints that chopped also. On the ‘Street Talk’ LP you were using a really minimal style… I’m getting back into the chops a lot more now, but for a while I had stopped coz I had to switch over on machines. I had to learn the new machines, and when I ﬁrst was learning ‘em I wasn’t able to chop the way I was able to on the old machines, so it takes a little time for me to get the feel of how to do it the same way.
Is this the ﬁrst time that you and AG have recorded in a few years?
So you used to use the SP …what have you upgraded to?
Deﬁnitely, it’s been a few years. Since ’99 or 2000. At this moment me and A still trying to get our own vibe back, coz I’m really tryin’ to grow, far as musically, and AG still like to do what he do also. So we’re just trying to connect in the right way, where we both feel good about it. After we do that, it’s back to putting our crew back in effect.
I have the Roland Phantom, and I have the 2500 and the 1000 – Akai.
I guess it’s not a situation where you can try to make Runaway Slave Part 2. You’ve gotta do new stuff but try to capture the same chemistry. Yeah, but that takes a while. Mind you, when we was doin’ our ﬁrst
All that’s cool. I like alladat. Anything that’s sample-driven, I’m more into. You have to be exceptional for me to like you if it’s not sampledriven. Like all that keyboard nonsense.
We had a couple, but I guess the label had our two-inches and we deﬁnitely don’t know what happened to our two-inches. I probably have them on cassette, but that’s about it. From the tracks I’ve heard, are you going back to more of a loop-based production style for this album?
Show is Bronx rap royalty. Besides his stellar work with Andre The Giant, he’s blessed his Diggin’ In The Crates crew (O.C., Big L, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe) with countless classic tracks and produced winners for legends like KRS-One and Big Pun all the way up to today’s ﬁnest such as Joell Ortiz and Milano. After I was played six cuts from the new Show & AG album, I had the chance to build with the Show B-I-Z late one Friday night to discuss the state of the music game, the importance of the Boogie Down BX and why sample-based hip-hop will never play-out.
That’s not really what catches my attention. If you don’t wanna clear a sample, then chop it. If you don’t wanna chop it, then I guess people play it over. A lotta people that does it right now probably really don’t have the patience to sit there and chop-up music, or they don’t have the knowledge of it, or the simple fact that they don’t wanna look for records. I guess that’s why everybody turned to keyboards now – it’s easier. With your ﬁrst EP, you were driving around to stores yourself? I just went to one stops, records pools. A had a lotta people helping me. From there, we had a little buzz and then Premier brought us to Payday records. EMI was trying to get at us, that’s how I was able to do the Arrested Development – which was the ﬁrst remix that I did – because the guy from EMI was trying to get me some work. We did “Tennessee”. At that time, there was a couple of labels that was interested in us. We basically went with Payday because of Premier. Patrick Moxy – the owner of Payday – was Premier’s manager. When you guys ﬁrst came out, you were rapping verse for verse with AG. Did you stop because you got sick of rhyming, or were you getting negative feedback?
Yeah, I know. Now we got the little compact cards, it’s much, much better! [laughs] Save a lot more memory on it, and you ain’t got to worry about lugging those big ﬂoppy discs around - embarrassing.
Oh no, none of that! I was getting a lotta good – still to this day. But that’s not my thing. I wasn’t serious at doing it, and since I wasn’t going to be serious doing it, I’d rather not do it. I’d rather stick to what I do when I’m serious, coz I was actually doing it for fun. Then on another hand, I really ain’t wanna step on no toes, because the deal we made in the beginning was he’d be the rapper and I’d be the producer. So I wanted to stay in my place and not overstep my boundaries.
How do you feel about that LA stuff that AG and Percee have done with Madlib and those
On Goodfellas, there were ﬁve or six songs that turned-up on a white label. Was that
That must be good not to have to mess around with ﬂoppy discs anymore.
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from issues with Payday? Oh, no. We felt we didn’t want those out. We ain’t have no issues with the A&R – we never really had no problems at any time in our career with creative control. We was always basically free to do what we wanna do. But when you guys did the DITC album with Tommy Boy you released a different version on vinyl? That was basically the same thing. None of us was really eye-toeye on that. I think the D.I.T.C. album coulda been a lot better, but we wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye, coz when everybody is used to being solo artists, you really have have your own creative control. So as us all starting out as solo artist – minus me and AG, being a duo – when everybody comes to the table, you have your own vision on whatchu want to do, and it kinda clashes. If everybody started out together, and then split out and became solo, it would’ve been a different story. If we was on the same page, I think it would’ve made a better impact. But what we did is just take the two versions we had – one to Fat Beats and on to Tommy Boy.
Was it a case of everyone trying to be the boss? Not the fact of being a boss, but Diamond music is a little different from mine, mines a little bit different from Finesse. We all have different views when it comes to how you want a song done, you understand? You have to deal with a lot of different attitudes. Mind you, we wasn’t coming from a space where we didn’t have careers already. We already had careers, so that means we was already bein’ the boss of whatever project we was doing. We was just used to having the last word. So when you bring all of that together, it’s kinda hard to deal with different egos and shit like that. But it’s all cool. What is it about the Bronx that sets it apart from everywhere else? Because the essence come from here. Everybody does hip-hop in how they view it and how they feel about it. Different boroughs and different states. Different regions of the world express they self different. The only thing different about here is that we know
AG 21/12/2007 4:40:50 PM
What was the most memorable show you’ve done overseas? I would say Sweden. It was a nice big response. And Japan also. It was just love, man. My memory is not too good coz I haven’t been on the road in a long time, but the love was really there. Nice shows in Sweden…like in New York, we would see a business man that’s in a three-piece suit, and not really be into hip-hop back then – maybe now, a little bit more – but not back then, ten years ago. To see that over there, and overseas, was really crazy. That’s what tripped me out, seeing different classes of people that was into it overseas back then. What’s the vibe like in the Bronx now? Have you got much gentriﬁcation, as far as people trying to put yuppie apartments in certain parts? Certain parts of the Bronx are gonna continue being the same. South Bronx is not gonna change. Because it’s the Bronx, the value is not gonna change. It’s pretty much the same as it was in the 70s – new buildings, but pretty much the same, the same things goin’ on. But as far as the vibe with music? It’s not the same. The living conditions are the same but the music is not. Everybody right now in the music industry don’t have no direction of which way we should go as far as New York music is concerned. The South done came and made a big impact on the rest of the world, so now we have to
I hear what you’re saying. Does anyone try to have parties in the Bronx anymore?
Is it even worth pressing-up vinyl anymore?
Can’t do that no more man. Too many gunﬁghts! The parties all be in midtown, if you have any parties in the South Bronx there pretty much gonna get shot-up before the night is over. It’s rare. Do you have any thoughts on what’s been happening in the record industry in the last couple of years, with a lot of major labels closing their doors? They don’t have no direction…hey man, it’s good and it’s bad at the same time. It’s good for people who really love and enjoy making music, so they have their own avenue to make things and to be exceptional. It’s kinda bad because it’s so political now and there’s so much money into it that people are overlooking the creative side of the music industry and just looking at the ﬁnances that can be made dealing with this business. With that much said, a lotta people is in it just for the money, and it just crushes the creative standpoint of the game. When we were in it, everybody loved to do music. You had so many different styles of music, and people were just trying to outdo each other, music-wise. Now, more people just wanna be stars. Since that happened, the major labels never knew what was hot and what’s not! They just knew to invest in it! So being right now that everybody’s about money, now the labels are scared to death! Before they would know “Well, these people know they music, and they’re gonna sell”. Now, they don’t have that edge no more, because everybody’s in it for money. So that’s why labels right now are in a panic. Not only that, with the internet is a new monster, coz once a person get a iPod, it’s very rare they gonna go to the store and buy a CD.
Nah, it’s really not worth pressing vinyl. It’s going out the window right now. Serato Scratch and CD turntables – more Serato. Soon there won’t be no use for CD’s anymore. All you’re gonna do is MP3 the music and people is gonna get that. It’s gonna be out the door. How can you deal with that as someone who’s outing out independent music? The good thing about with CD’s, you can still look at the cover, read the credits or whatever the case may be, but until that day come where CD’s is obsolete – we gonna rock with this. Did you have a crew before you got down with AG? Yeah, I had a couple of crews! One of them was Maxwell House, and I was down with this guy named Lance Romance. My deejay name was Little Rock and Lance Romance. There’s a couple of vinyls out there, ﬂoating. They’re real valuable and they real rare. What was the name of the song? It was called “Brother With Soul”. Back in the late 80s, on Lance Romance Records.
If the preview we got was any indication the new Showbiz & AG release is shaping up real fucking nice and is gonna be a must for all those in the know.
I always think about that. How you see it grow, over the years, from something that’s in your backyard to you can’t go nowhere on the planet without hearing it or seeing it. That’s what’s amazing.
your market. The independent game, like what we doing right now with D.I.T.C. Records, we just plan on expanding it and keeping that independent game the way it is, because it’s better for us. We don’t gotta answer to nobody and we can just do what we do.
It must be crazy having people on the other side of the planet checking it out.
reinvent ourselves as far as New Yorkers, and nobody know where that coming from. The people that’s really afraid is really trying to jump on the south bandwagon and doing the type of music that they do, but that’s not New York music, so I can’t relate to that.
www.myspace.com/ditcrecords So how does that affect you? The independent game is the best game to do! Let me tell you, when I was selling vinyl – when we was doing the independent thing – you press-up a vinyl for $2, $1.40, you only sell it for three. Now we do CD’s and the proﬁts is much bigger – you’ve just gotta have
the actual feeling and the actual essence of it, and our sound is more gritty because it’s from the beginning, It’s from the essence of it. When you talk about New York hip-hop, it has that boom-bap sound. It’s more hard, with big drums – that would be a New York sound I would basically say that originated from the Bronx. I think that’s the only thing that would kinda separate what we do from everybody else. Just having the knowledge of it, and having the privilege to see it rise and become a worldwide thing, from being something that was just done in your own town and your borough.
21/12/2007 4:41:12 PM
MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS - BLACK & SILVER
Interviews by VANS ONE
In March this year 4 kings of the can hit a small gallery hidden amongst the back alleys and junkies of Collingwood, Melbourne with some skill. The Black & Silver show at Utopian Slumps limited the palette that artists Smash137, Phat1, Sirum and Askew had to work with, but the end result was still straight business. After many a beer sunk at the show, a truck bombed and a lot more walls blessed with burners, we convinced VANS ONE to drop that paint for a second and interrogate the four of them.
SMASH137 (Switzerland) So you started painting way back in 91- tell us who inﬂuenced you to pick up a can in the ﬁrst place and what was going through your head on the night you dropped your ﬁrst piece? Smash: Oh man that’s just too long ago but I reckon it was just a “Yeahhh boiii!!!” It was a gang from my neighbourhood called “Tigerbaba” who made my writing on walls. Is there a deﬁning person along your road that has made the biggest impact on your style over the years? There was a few but the only one I still looking up to is Style Master General DONDI White. From my point of view some of his pieces are just perfect. It’s hard to know how much a partner will affect our lives in every aspect. How has Elﬁe affected your life in terms of Grafﬁti and how you go about it? I just do less since she is around but still enough to drive her crazy. I think she knew from the beginning what kind of boy she has picked and so we never had major problems because of the fact that I write, but a lot of ﬁghts about all the little things I have paid less attention to while I was too busy getting up.
How did you ﬁnd the surﬁng here in Australia? It was mad dope!!! I just was a little scared from this bloody sharks but it looks like Aussie-boy-killaz are shark proof or at least it seems like they pay no attention. You know how to have a good time, but there is a real serious side to your personality! Tell us about what drives your dedication? I think it’s just a lack of attention in my childhood (laughs). How well does Melburn rate in your book? Graff & people wise? Very well! Melbourne is deﬁnitely bombed. From Melburn you ﬂew into Dubai to do a ridiculous sized wall with the Montana team. How bloody exhausting was it really? We went through all kind of emotions at this big wall. We had to face sandstorms and a burning as fuck sun. That’s why we decided to paint during the night and sleep at day time and after 11nights of blood sweat and paint we bended Goliath (aka - the wall) to his knees. Final word/shout outs? Just want to say “Gee-Gee-Geahhh!!!” to all my friends in Mellibelly-city and Straya country. I had a beautiful time over there and I’m m sure one day I will get the opportunity to come back and see you guys all again. I just hope you guys got your ﬂy’s problem under control till then (laughs).
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Maori art and tattoo styles have such mad ﬂow, does this reach it’s way into your graf styles? Well I’ve only started to venture into this part of my life. Maori art especially, being that my dad is a mad crazy Maori Ta Moko tattooist with crazy out ways. Kind of reminds me a little of myself. So I think it was inevitable that I incorporate these styles and techniques into my graf, especially my canvas work. I don’t really bust it on walls too much being that the goal on a wall is so different to the goal of me painting a canvas, but I’ve got mad love for the art form for sure. How do your kids inﬂuence the way you live and conduct yourself as a human? Man what can I say, you got to have mad game to paint graffiti
Does your conscience have a role to play in what you would or wouldn’t paint? Christianity deﬁnitely has a daily inﬂuence on my life and my conscience so it does affect my painting, but there are no regrets! Have you counted the number of shoes you got in the wardrobe at home? (Laughs) That’s a funny question because I can fully remember the times when I used to go out of my way to get sneakers and the drive behind getting more and being ﬂyer was so crazy. Only sneaker freaks truly know that urge and pull to just buy one more pair. But I think I’ve only got 40 pairs now but I have this majorly wise saying it goes like this (laughs) - You can have 5,000 pairs of sneaks but have no style but this means nothing to a guy who has 5 pairs and rocks mad ﬂavour with his fashion sense. He is far more doper than the cat with 5,000 pairs, because it aint how many it’s about how you rock them!
What side of the family did you get your crazy humour from? Well I’m sure both, but I think I take them both out because I do have this crazy tinge to me that they can’t top (laughs). Can you see an end to your stint in the world of grafﬁti? With graffiti it’s a real major part of my life. I think without that release of expression to balance out the serious business of life I would probably go crazy. Soon as you get to the point of painting when the art form is not about the fame you will truly last the distance of life with it. Fame is a bonus to the art form, but not my motive. It is the good times, new friends, laughs and burners. You’re a man of many words so shout em out. GOD always, because without him man, damn I would be such a loser and that’s the truth. To my lovely wife Lady Diva for the love and the support thanks so much. The all time and all famous ‘The Kids’ - Izaiah, Keziah, Azariah, and Michaiah the other loves of my life. Then the TMD FAMILY....DYLE, ASKEW, EXIST, RYZE, ACRE, ADDICT, DEUS, DEAP, DSYZES, CAN2, ATOM, SINAE, LADY DIVA, PEST5, WOW123, SIRUM. Then all the friends and family of Stick Up Kids and The Public Animals. Keep rocking!
Damn! I saw wood burning under your feet out on the dance ﬂoors of Melburn! Who taught you those bad ass moves? Phat1: (Laughs) Funny you should say that man, I was only copying you! Nah, but on a serious note though I think most things in life need a rhythm to it to gain that Funk, Style and Groove. It is dope when you feel that your graf has mad movement like the feeling you get when listening to a soulful track, head bobbing of course, and you’re like DAAAM this is dope! That’s what I want to achieve with my graffiti and everything in life, especially when I’m on the dance ﬂoor (laughs).
and have four kids and a lovely wife. I’m truly blessed in my situation of life. Having a wife who truly cares 100% about me and the art form really helps, because when I’m away she’s holding down the fort and life deﬁnitely gets mad crazy when you have four kids under 6 years old who are on energy drinks (laughs) that’s for sure. It’s a little different now that graf has become a more professional part of my life. It usually eventuates into the next commission job or travel plan so I do really treat it different now and my family understand so thank God for that.
MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS - BLACK & SILVER
21/12/2007 4:41:23 PM
ASKEW (New Zealand) For the people who haven’t met you I would describe you as vibrant sometimes overly enthusiastic, motivated, positive and genuine lad with a thirst for good design and banging graf! Tell me in your own words what makes you tick? Askew: A lot of good black coffee, a ﬁercely competitive nature and I suspect a bit of undiagnosed ADHD from my childhood. This description maybe ﬁts a good percentage of writers I know though! I don’t sleep much, literally. The other boys can tell you, that generally I’m last to bed and ﬁrst up in the morning just ready to go.
MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS - BLACK & SILVER
stays the same. Dondi did so much for style. We have all seen your pieces over the past 10 years and the changes in your style particularly in the last 3 years what was behind the major changes? For me I describe it as “The Click” moment, where suddenly you understand what makes something look like and feel like true graffiti. I spent a long time doing public pleasing art, stuff that anyone could appreciate the merit of. But it became so removed from the point for me in how it made me feel while doing it. There was a point where I looked over my whole careers work and just wanted to cry because I felt like I had honestly been missing the point for so long. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a contextual thing. You have to analyse where graffiti stands in society and the art world and assess what makes it unique against other movements. There is a big move towards big theme walls with 3D pieces and photo realistic characters and what not and a lot of it unfortunately looks like really wack 80’s airbrush art to me! Also so much graffiti is really Bogan ﬂavour or trying too hard to be graphic design in spray. It just seems like graffiti has had a major identity crisis and I was deﬁnitely caught up in that and now I’ve seen the light. Graffiti writing is about letters and funk and that’s what makes it unlike any other art form and that’s special enough. There’s still plenty of scope in this area to explore and more we can do within those constraints. I always like to mention that Can Two, Atom, Wow123 and Smash 137 have played a big part in re-educating me. The debates over letters and style are ridiculous and although they each have a different take on things themselves, if you spend time with these guys you will get schooled. Fact. Also the source
Mate, you are so tight with your crew! How have your TMD brothers helped to shape the man you are today? TMD is a family ﬁrst and foremost. Any one will tell you if they have been around us. That also includes our overseas members, it’s no different with them. To be in our crew, before having a good style you have to like to laugh and clown around, eat a lot of BBQ, dance and basically not take yourself too seriously! A good crew is such a rare thing these days. I know we are a really unique group because we are so tight and everything is very democratic as far as the direction of the crew and recruiting new members. TMD took me in when I was out in the cold and having some hard times and I’m a very loyal soldier for this crew. You ever think about having kids and if you would want them to follow in your footsteps? I’m the oldest of 6 so I’ve always had little siblings around to help raise and as a result I’ve always wanted to be a parent. I think kids are dope. But kids are best when they are left to be kids and do their thing, not shaped into little adults before their time by parents who are obsessed with a culture or activity. I loved that about Scien and Klor, as parents they just had it down. Considering how big graffiti is in their lives it didn’t really seem to factor into their children’s at all. Phat1 and Diva have 4 little ones that are honestly the light in a lot of our lives. At our walls and crew get togethers they are always there in the middle of things
just cracking us up. It’s also so dope to see how much the parents grow and change as a result. I think for Phat1 having kids has been such a blessing and made him such a well rounded person. Props to Diva for just being one of the sweetest yet toughest people I know. Any chance of you collaborating with any Aussie MC’s or producers as the Aus hip hop scene starts to take ﬂight? It’s so crazy, the separation between our music and graffiti scenes (between OZ and NZ). I think this year is the year that a lot of things come together. The more I learn about the Aussie scene the more I see something really huge is about to happen. Like there’s a lot of history and consistent players but I can just feel something on the boil. Also the interesting thing is the Aussie sound is starting to really mature into something so fresh to me. There was a lot I couldn’t listen to in the past but nowadays it’s like the British scene, it’s at “The Click” moment like I said earlier. Our scene, I think we sacriﬁced a lot of individuality in our sound for an attempt at sounding international. Now I think a lot of people have to go back to the drawing board ad work out what makes us unique in the world. Same with our graffiti too. Anything to add? Props to Our TMD members based in Australia - Fiasko in Brisbane and Sirum in Melbourne! Much love to all the cats we connected with on this trip. So many to name but I have to say that Melbourne is the shit as far as cities go. One of the dopest places out.
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Estimated paintings per week in the last month? At the least, 5. So how good is free paint really? Even if I wasn’t sponsored by such a quality paint company as Ironlak, any free paint is a blessing to a graffiti artist! I have no complaints and I count my lucky stars every day! How can active writers stay ﬁt and healthy? Positive mindset has deﬁnitely been the key for my success and oh yeah, taking the ladder spots once every few productions does wonders for your ﬁtness (laughs). 10 years down! How many more years of painting can you see ahead? It is only the beginning. I feel it has taken a lot of that time so far just understanding and developing letter structure and form etc. Only in recent times have I truly been able to push boundaries.
speciﬁcally made for guys or girls. If I think something looks good then I’ll run with it!
Yourself and Askew have cooked up a great friendship over the last year. What have his experiences taught you about the greater world? Yes Askew is an extremely close friend of mine. It’s not often that you get to meet someone with a heart as big as his. I would say that one of the most important things he has taught me is to not doubt myself and stay focused and conﬁdent with myself and my works. Keep moving forward. Unfortunately this scene attracts a lot of haters from time to time. I guess this is the same in any scene really. Askew really showed me that this is the case wherever you go, no matter how well you go about avoiding them, there will always be another idiot to replace the last one. It’s inevitable really and the best thing to do is to, as Smash 137 would say, become thick skinned. At the end of the day there is no point worrying about bullshit. It just wastes valuable painting time!
Who are the peeps that inspire you the most in life n graf? Anyone that has dared to dream, all my friends are a huge inspiration to me, all the dedicated nerds that still live at home with their parents (most probably ) yet have dedicated their lives to producing comic book art! Image, DC, Marvel, etc. My parents. As for writers - SUK crew, Smash 137 and all my boys and girls in TMD and Formula One Crew. Many thanks!
So how come women’s sun glasses look so good on you? Thanks for the compliment VANS (laughs). Yeah basically I don’t give a damn about whether something I choose to wear is
Spirituality, does this mean anything to you? Yeah. It means that I am comfortable within myself as a human being. I’m not about to jump onboard with the rest of the rat race and wind up wherever. I am cutting my own path through this amazing life and that is the way it is.
What’s a quirky thing you do on a daily basis? Hmmmmm… think about graf? Finally sign us out and shout em out. Peace out to everyone out there that has dedicated so many valuable hours to this magniﬁcent art form. Shout outs to- TR One, Rset, Pilfa, Erupt, Shem, Vans, Greater, Phibs, all the TMDee’s and most importantly BREAK. Stay strong mate, our thoughts are with you.
MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS - BLACK & SILVER
You have a 1.5 bedroom place with a small lounge/kitchen. How many writers not to mention your partner did you manage to squeeze into your place in the last 2 weeks? Sirum: We had Dskyse (Christchurch) Phat 1, Askew, O’che all from NZ plus Smash 137 and his girlfriend Elfe from Switzerland. Not to mention myself and my girl Jayne!
Travel is on the cards I hear, so where to ﬁrst? If I play my cards right I hope to be in Europe through June and July (2007), the ﬁrst month just travelling with Askew through France, Germany, Switzerland. Then meet up with the rest of TMD crew to participate in the Write for Gold comp at the Splash Festival in which last year saw us take out the World Championship!
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Brother Ali drops verses with a coviction, honesty and passion that hits like a revelation. The Minneapolis MC has been laying his heart on wax for years with his releases on Ryhmesayers and has honed a mesmerising live show. Throughout this time he has also been walking a spiritual path of complete surrender to Allah. Submission to God – the literal meaning of Islam itself. It is a path he continues on today in a post 9/11 world where Muslims have become unfairly viewed with suspicion by many. Here Ali breaks down his own faith and society’s misconceptions of Islam.
“A MUSLIM TERRORIST ISN’T GOING TO KILL YOU IN AMERICA. WHAT IS GOING TO KILL YOU IS THAT YOU EAT TERRIBLE FOOD.” -BROTHER ALI sides, or showing the many different layers of what Muslims are as a group. The average American probably doesn’t do much in the way of studying, beyond what they see on TV. I think that most people don’t see Islam as being a religion, they see it as a political thing and that is only a small part of what it is. That leads on to my next question. As a Muslim in America, with all these misconceptions about your faith around you do you feel the need to actively address that and give people a better understanding of what Islam is through your music? I don’t think my music is the place for me to try to preach Islam. It’s just a place for me to be myself and talk about the things I think about and the things that I feel. From that perspective you hear a little bit about it, but I don’t think I’m here to teach about Islam with my music.
BROTHER ALI INTERVIEW
Interview by dOtbOy Artwork by Mr Gomes
There has been a very strong call for the Muslim population in Western countries to speak out against the more extremist or fundamentalist Islamic leaders within their own communities. Do you feel that is a duty of all Muslims at the moment or should they not have to defend themselves? I think it’s twofold. Muslims are taught to speak out for what is right. Even if it against our own family members or ourselves. That we should support what is right and we should be against what is wrong. But I think it is all one big distraction from what the real issues are. Muslim’s doing terrorism around the world is not the threat that it is being made out to be. Muslim’s are not a threat to Americans or Aussies or anybody. There are Muslims who do terrorism in places like Israel or Palestine, but that is related to a speciﬁc issue. Whenever there is a group that is oppressed there is always a variety of reactions to it. I remember they used to try and have Afro-American leaders come out and say, ‘We don’t support The Black Panthers’ or ‘We don’t support Malcolm X’. But that’s not the issue. These people are responding to oppression. These people have been violated and now you don’t like the way they are reacting to it?! To say that it is your job to speak out against the more extreme members of your ‘group’… Well ﬁrst let’s talk about why those people are feeling that way, rather then just say, ‘Anger is wrong and violence is wrong’. Yeah sure, but where is this coming from? People don’t blow themselves up because they are trying to get laid. People feel hopeless and people feel like the whole world is against them. So let’s talk about why they make the choices that they are making or why they feel the way they feel. Rather than saying to Muslims, because you are a Muslim you don’t have my respect as being equal to me. So the way you need to prove you
How misunderstood is Islam to the average American in the USA? It’s pretty bad. I think that a lot of people didn’t know or think much about Islam at all until 9/11. Then afterward they either didn’t look into it at all and just let the media tell them what Islam is about, or if they did look into they looked at it from the perspective of; ‘Okay, these are the people who attacked us, why do they hate us?’, rather then looking at it as a worldwide religion, as a type of spirituality. Also the media hasn’t done a great job of really showing both
Listening to the new record “The Undisputed Truth”, I couldn’t help think of the Buddhist belief that ‘life is suffering’. This album addresses a lot of the struggles and hardships you went through while recording it. How was your faith able to pull you through the breakdown of your family? You know we’re taught that life has tests involved with it and that life comes along to test you to see if you are what you say you are. There are challenges and Islam teaches a lot about being patient and being perseverant and sticking to what you believe in. Just believing that what is supposed to happen is supposed to happen. So it has helped me a lot.
What did you ﬁnd in the words of Elijiah Muhammed and Malcolm X that initially drew you to Islam? It was really Islam’s idea of what a human being is that drew me to Islam. Islam sees human beings as being excellent, as being a special creation of God and that all human beings are basically the same and created with the same soul. Everybody is the same at their core. Those are the things that drew me to it the most.
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have no clean water to drink and air to breath. But none of these are the issues, they want to focus on the Muslim who is going to strap a bomb on their body and blow themselves up at the airport or whatever and that is not true. I know a lot of Muslims and none of them are going to do that.
BROTHER ALI INTERVIEW
That must be one of the most frustrating things, that people have such strong opinions about Islam and yet know so little about it. Yeah I agree. People are so separated and I think that Governments and media are being really irresponsible about that. The media is being really lazy and if they are not being lazy they are just afraid or biased. They are just reporting about the ‘war on terrorism’ how they are told to. Not enough of them are really digging to really ﬁnd the stories from the other people’s perspectives. I mean for example; we know so much about the Israeli perspective of that war
“PART OF ME BEING SELFEMPLOYED AND DOING MY OWN THING AND BEING INDEPENDENT HAS GOT TO DO WITH ME BEING A MUSLIM.” -BROTHER ALI are equal to me is by denouncing the more extreme people of your group. You got to look at how arrogant a position that is to take. I’m a human being and I deserve the basic respect of any human being. It does seem that the powers that be are drawing more and more lines in the sand in order to divide people, whether they are faith, ethnicity, class…. Yeah well it aint a new thing. I mean it happened with race, it happened with people who were supposed to be Communist. It has always been. They are controlling the conversation, controlling what people focus on. Like they are telling people that what they need to be worried about now is these Muslims and what they are going to do to you. The reality is that they are probably going to do nothing to you. A Muslim terrorist isn’t going to kill you in America. What is going to kill you is that you eat terrible food. If you get sick and go to the Emergency Room they will make sure you won’t die today, but you’re not really going to get good healthcare. We don’t really
over there, but we know so little from the Palestinian side of things. We don’t look at Palestinians as being equal human beings along with the Israeli’s or with us. What do you hope your son Faheim learns from the words of the Koran. I mean if he could walk away with a simple lesson from the Koran what would that be? Just that people are people and that everybody really is the same and that we all just have to try to be the best version of ourselves we can be. If your son grew up and walked away from Islam would you ﬁnd that hard? Anything that he did and that was really real and was really honest I wouldn’t have a problem with. Anything that he does from a real and honest place I could not be mad at him for that. I don’t see it happening, but that is his decision to make.
How steadfast are you in your faith? I mean how difﬁcult is it to stick to your faith on the road in the middle of an insane tour? I stick to it pretty well. I don’t pray ﬁve times everyday, I do once or twice most days. It is not difficult to not do the things that Muslims don’t do. It’s not hard to not drink or not chase girls around after the show. But it is hard to pray and I don’t usually go to the mosque every week when I’m on tour. When I have more resources available to me it will be a little better. Part of being a Muslim is building yourself to a position in life where your life is more in your hands, so you can be the person you want to be. A lot of it is trying to control your own destiny and your own situation. Part of me being self-employed and doing my own thing and being independent has got to do with me being a Muslim. A lot of Muslims want to be selfemployed so that we can make the decision to pray when it is time to pray and do what we want to do, especially when you are in not in an Islamic society. That is why you ﬁnd a lot of Muslims who are cab drivers and store owners and stuff like that, so they can control their own schedule. Is the pilgrimage to Mecca on the cards soon? Yeah I’m hoping I can make it over there next year. The new album is one of the most honest albums I have heard. How are you able to produce music like that even though it may be painful at times? Me and Ant’s friendship. We are really amazing friends and a lot of times our friendship translates over into the music we make. It is easy to talk about personal things cause you are doing this with your best ﬁend who is going through this with you. That and the fact that the music that really moves us is stuff that comes from people’s passions and their heart and their soul. So we always wanted to make music like that too. The Undisputed Truth will have been out for a while when this rolls out, but if you haven’t got that or Brother Ali’s ﬁrst full-length Shadows on the Sun (both with stellar production work from Atmosphere’s Ant) then bloody well snap them up. www.myspace.com/brotherali or www.rhymesayers.com You can thank the skills of French cat Mr Gomes for the Brother Ali pic. Find more in the Hired Guns section and check www.myspace.com/mrgomes
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DILATED PEOPLES The Release Party DVD + CD
Z-T Z-TRIP All Pro
Feature Film spanning their career, and celebrating their release from a major label contract. Bonus 7 track EP and 8 music videos. Appearances by Alchemist, DJ Premier, Kanye West, Proof, Xzibit & more.
Bra Brand new album of hip hop & rock oc mash ups from the master of the he style. Guests include Dead Prez, Rakim, Aceyalone, Casual, Pre Lateef, Slug and more. Lat
GRAYSKUL Bloody Radio
MAC LETHAL 11:11
Second album from Seattle MC’s on the Rhymesayers label. Guest MCs include Aesop Rock, Cage & Pigeon John. Includes “Dope” and “Scarecrow”
Debut album from Kansas City rapper Mac Lethal, 2004 Scribble Jam champ and Sage Francis touring partner. Includes the singles “Make Out Bandit” and “Pound That Beer”.
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From staircase to stage Jehst is one of the motherlands ﬁnest lyricists, accomplished beatmakers and productive heads. Since ﬁrst appearing on turntables with his ‘Premonitions’ EP in 1999 the High Plains Drifter has been hard at work. 12 inches, EP’s, guest spots, his classic blunted and dusty debut LP ‘Falling Down’, challenging expectations with the follow up ‘Nuke Proof Suit’, producing everything from his ‘Underworld Epics’ project to Sir Smurf Lil and building up his YNR label to one of the most talented in the UK. He just dropped the ‘Mengi Bus Mixtape’, mixed by DJ IQ and has just hit Australia for the ﬁrst time.
- JEHST Just wanted to take it back ﬁrst up. Now your style deﬁnitely changed up a bit in between dropping ‘Falling Down’ and ‘Nuke Proof Suit’, but some heads weren’t feeling it. Is it difﬁcult when you grow as an artist and as a person but fans expect you to remain the same? Yeah there is an element of that deﬁnitely, but at the end of the day if you keep just repeating yourself and don’t evolve then you’re open to people basically getting bored of what you’re doing. You can’t win either way. People are either going to say, “I wish he’d come up with some different ideas, he’s getting boring”, or they’re going to be like, “I wish he was doing stuff that sounded like the old stuff ”. For me I just overlook that. Say with ‘Nuke Proof Suit’ some people might not have been feeling it, but for other people it’s going to be their favourite Jehst record. I just be me really and hope that at the end of it people like it. So with the mixtape, again it’s something different and people might be thinking, “Why’s he doing a mixtape? He’s not a DJ”. But it’s a different way of presenting the material and allowed me to put different material out. Most of the stuff on the mixtape wouldn’t have made it onto an album because it wouldn’t have necessarily suited the format of an album, especially when you got remixes and stuff like that. I am just trying to do what I feel is right for me at the time.
So are the MPC60 and Akai S950 still the weapons of choice? Deﬁnitely man. Over the last year or so I’ve been using the (MPC) 1000 quite a lot, just cause it’s small and easy, the portability of it. So the 950 and the 60 are set up at the studio, cause obviously they’re big machines that take up quite a lot of space and you got to have them hooked up to the mixing desk and everything. But the 1000 is cool cause I can just carry it about, plug it in at home and hook something up. But really, I hands down rate the 950 and the 60. They’re still my favourite set-up for making beats. I got an ASR-10 now I got to start learning. I kind of inherited it. So I just got to get the right adaptor cause it’s for American power supply, then I can start messing with that and learning that cause I know that’s an ill machine. I kind of want to see if I can get the ASR-10 and MPC60 combination. That would be ill! I just got to take the time out and learn the machine.
Interview by dOtbOy Design by Mr.Mann
“YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY THROUGH BEATMAKING. IT DOESN’T PUT YOUR LIFE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE SO MUCH”
So we shouldn’t believe Beat Butcha’s deﬁnition that it is German for sausage? Well he’s got his own interpretation, that’s the beauty of it you know what I mean? Everybody’s got there own idea, or everybody’s completely confused about what it’s all about, so I thought I’d just play on that. Hence the whole intro to the tape and that. So yeah man, we leave it up to interpretation.
I’ve read before that you enjoy the anonymity that producing gives you. Can you foresee a time in the future where you might hang up the mic altogether and concentrate on beats and beats alone? Possibly…. at some point, but I think MCing is just kind of second nature in some respects. So if I did hang up the mic it would just motivate me to write more and be hungry to spit. The grass is always greener innit? Like with the question you asked about, is it difficult to grow and evolve as a person and an artist if fans expect the same thing. With the rapping you feel the pressure of that expectation more in terms of people having those expectations of what your style is or what it is they relate to about your music. So sometimes you feel the pressure to conform to what the audience expect. But with beatmaking there aint any of that, cause it’s totally detached from your personal opinions or your direct life experiences. You express yourself differently through beatmaking. It doesn’t put your life under the microscope so much. It doesn’t put you as a person under scrutiny as much as MCing does. So sometimes that’s where the attraction of making just beats is. You can disappear into the lab, into your little cave. I suppose it kind of takes you back to how you are when you start. Cause when you start you’re just doing stuff in the bedroom and it’s mainly just for you and your immediate crew or whatever. But then it becomes something bigger than that and a lot of artists can lose sight of what they’re doing. But with beatmaking it gives you that opportunity again to be locked off from what critics are going to think of what you’re doing.
Alright so straight up – The new mixtape is tight as fuck. But seriously, what the hell is A Mengi Bus apart from a vehicle full of sweaty blokes in oversized animal costumes? You know what, I think you just answered it already man.
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So how is progress on the new album ‘Dragon of an Ordinary Family’? Yeah that’s the working title, I think I’m going to have to stick to it now cause I put it on the mixtape (laughs).
Is that a straight reference to the children’s book of the same name? Yeah, do you remember that!
Now you got YNR Productions if full effect as well. With your own record label can the business side of things sometimes stiﬂe the creative process? Yeah deﬁnitely cause you start to associate the music with the business, so you have to make that separation to preserve that creativity. There is deﬁnitely an element of that. The other issue is there are only so many hours in the day. So if you are doing the business side of things, unless you can be in two places at once, you can’t do that and make music. So that’s a conﬂict. But at the same time you’ve got to have an outlet for the music once it’s done. From my experience, with everything that I’ve been through trying to put music out commercially, for me if I’m not involved and I don’t have a hand in the business side of things then things will slip. You can’t expect anybody else to have the same vision for what you do that you have. There’s such a conﬂict when you’ve worked on an album for a year or however long it took you and then you hand it over to someone who basically works behind a desk and you’re just one a number of however many releases or problems they have to deal with that day. For them it’s just work, it’s a job. They’re just there to make money out of it and that is the sole objective of 99.9% of record labels, even independents. There is very little artist development going on, there is very little investment in artists. A label might be prepared to put the money up to put the product out, but in terms of creating studio time and creating budgets for marketing and promotion and organising tours and actually being involved in the overall picture, to be honest it’s really not happening over here. That is what I am trying to make happen myself.
Yeah, that’s from way back in the day. Yeah brilliant! That is where it came from actually. I don’t know how it came about, but it just came back into my head for some reason or another. I don’t know whether I was back at my mum’s and I saw it on the bookshelf with all the old kid’s books or something, but yeah that’s where that came from. It’s (the album) going good. Going back to the last question again, talking about the conﬂict between the business and the creative side, it’s about time. For an example, the mixtape ﬁnally gets wrapped up and it’s ready to be released and at that point in my head I’m thinking, “Alright cool, I’m just gonna start getting back into the studio everyday back to getting the album wrapped up”. Then you realise you can’t do that, cause you got to do the press and radio and be on the phones to promote the mixtape. It can be frustrating cause you do just wish you could be in three places at once. What’s been motivating you to push the pen for this album? Everything man, just everyday life and experiences and thoughts and feelings. As well if I hear certain lyricists or MC’s that I’m feeling or that inspire me, that will motivate me to push the pen. Subject mater wise… that’s hard to answer cause it depends on what tracks end up on there. There are tracks from when I was recording ‘Nuke Proof Suit’ as well. Cause ‘Nuke Proof Suit’ I wanted to keep very speciﬁc. I had a vision in my mind with what I wanted to do musically. So I knew certain tracks that I had at the time I was going to hold back, just because I felt that they would work better in the context of a longer album. Say for example; I wouldn’t have been able to put a love song on ‘Nuke Proof Suit’ cause it would have stood out like a sore thumb. But expect the unexpected I suppose. Is the new one a strictly Billy Brimstone affair? You handling all the production too? I’m not, but what I’ve been thinking is that I want to work on another album after this one and again be fully on the production. With this one, cause I am so involved with all the elements of the
music and I’m producing a lot for other MC’s I kind of thought that I would take advantage of the fact that there area lot of other dope producers around and keep my focus more on the writing. Just by taking the emphasis off the production it means when I think about the album I think about picking up the pen rather than turning on the MPC, cause it could easily turn into a situation where I’m just making beats all the time. So there’s going to be production from LG, there is deﬁnitely going to be at least one Beat Butcha track that is a killer. I’ve actually been writing to a couple of bits from MPhazes man, but again I need to actually knock it down and record some of the things I’ve been penning. So one of them beats might even make it onto the album. I’ve got a wicked track that Mr Thing has produced that I think people are going to love. I know he’s real happy with it, so yeah there’s some different production man. You are a pretty industrious head, always pushing out product. So what else has been crackin at your studio Arkham Asylum recently? Well we relocated the studio so that sort of explains why the album has taken so long. But we’ve been working on the new album from Sir Smurf Lil called ‘A New Bloodline’. That will probably be out early next year and we’ll probably drop the ﬁrst single at the end of the year. You handled all the production on his ﬁrst solo ‘MyAlpha’, you doing the same for the new one? I’m not actually, this one is more of a mixed bag, but I’m still sort of kind of executive producing it. So I have got production on there,
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but a lot of the production on this new album is handled by ApaTight who is a guy from Huddersﬁeld who you’d be starting to pick up on. Obviously he’s done ‘Hungry’ with Micall Parknsun and done some stuff with me on the ‘Mengi Bus Mixtape’ and he had a couple of joints on Asaviour’s album. Then you’ve got the producer CeeWhy and he’s been in the lab for a while with an MC called Jyager who is going to be coming out on YNR next year. That’s his protégé, his artist that he’s bringing through. The main people I am working with at the moment are Micall Parknsun and Kashmere.
level and that started to happen, but really there wasn’t anybody in the crew with enough of a business head to do that and there wasn’t any management. So that started to create a lot of politics. Again it created conﬂict between business and the creative side. Without going into details and naming names, things started to get a bit ugly and some people were treating it as their last stab at hip hop anyway. Certain members of the crew were like, “If this thing works out cool, if it doesn’t I’m going to get a job on High Street somewhere”.
The Iguana Man has been off the chain lately! Yeah he’s ridiculous man. Me and Iguana Man have got this little side project which should come out at some point which we kind of based on the whole Madvillain concept of one producer and one MC and just throw it together quickly and kind of haphazard but to give it that ﬂavour of immediacy rather then dragging it out. We just locked away for a week and made tracks from scratch. That’s done, I just need to go back to it and sort the mixes out and tweak them.
People will come back around to working with each other. I mean take the Low Life stable where there have been issues that artists have had with the label. There is a perception from the outside world that we’re one big happy family. The reality of it is that a lot
of people have gone their separate ways in order to establish some kind of independence and have their own things popping off. So whether that’s me concentrating on YNR more and releasing my records through YNR again or whether that’s Taskforce doing their MFTC thing and moving away from Low Life. Same with Harry Love he’s got the Verb T album out on Silent Sounds and set up his own label Medication Records. Mystro’s been doing his own thing and got his ‘Diggi Down Under Mixtape’ and all that. But what’s going to happen is that you will start seeing those people working together again. You see everybody started to feel a bit powerless and they had to go and establish their own little set-ups and take control of their own careers rather than waiting for Low Life to make it happen. Now that they’ve done that, I think a lot of those artists will start recording and working together again. That’s what the fans want to hear. I’m constantly asked stuff like, “When are you and Chester P going to do a record together again?” But that’s the answer; everybody went off to establish a ﬁrm foundation for themselves as individuals away from this myth of Low Life being a strong foundation for us as artists. Now that people have done that I think those same artists will be in a position to start working together again, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m a fan of people like
Taskforce, Harry Love, Mystro, Lewis Parker and hopefully over the next couple of years you might see those old partnerships reconnect for one or two tracks. The ‘Mengi Bus Mixtape’ is out now through Grindin. The new Jehst album ‘Dragon of an Ordinary Family’ is coming soon. There is a lot of tight shit about to drop on his YNR label too so stay alert. www.myspace.com/jeh5t & www.ynr-productions.co.uk
The whole Champions of Nature thing was in a lot of respects a reaction to Low Life Records, cause all of those guys were involved with Low Life and they went to break away from that cause they weren’t very happy with their relationship with their label. Then further down the line the Champions of Nature things started getting political and there started being issues once there was a big deal on the table. Champions of Nature wasn’t geared up for that. We knew there was the potential to take it to a major label type of
Speaking of Smurfs, I can’t help think of the old Champions of Nature (UK supergroup composed of Jehst, Lewis Parker, Apollo, AM, L Dolo, Profound, Super T) “Salsa Smurf” track. Whatever happened between yourself and Lewis Parker? That water under the bridge now? Yeah there was a little beef where he said something in a magazine and journalists got a hold of it and wanted to blow it up. I just kind of avoided feeding into it. When I did see him there was a problem for a minute and then it got semi-resolved. It basically got squashed man. There is still room for us to sit down and talk and maybe even get back to doing some work, cause I’m a big fan. Regardless of the time we spent working together and our personal relationship, aside from that I’m still a fan. He is somebody I would always be down for working with.
“YOU CAN’T EXPECT ANYBODY ELSE TO HAVE THE SAME VISION FOR WHAT YOU DO THAT YOU HAVE”
21/12/2007 4:45:15 PM
SECTION NAME GOES HERE ISSUE ONE PEAK STREET
Interviews by dOtbOy Design by Mr.Mann
21/12/2007 4:45:31 PM
Legend has it that the ﬁrst Scribble Jam took place in a carpark back in 1992 with only a handful of punters rocking up. Since then the brainchild of Scribble Magazine and Mr Dibbs has become the Mecca of festivals for independent hip hop heads and has provided a platform for people like Juice, Rhymefest, Eyedea, Sage Francis and Mac Lethal. The battles are the drawcard and since Justice took out all comers to claim the MC battle event in 2005, Aussies have been representing. Here is who we shipped over for 2006.
Any DJ’s who represented that you were impressed by? Two other DJ’s. There was Wondercut from Canada. He was real tech and he also won the Canada DMC and battled Perplex last year. I swapped mixtapes with him and his tapes were dope. The standout was DJ I-Dee from The Troopers from Miami, who took
“WE GOT BUMRUSHED BY FUCKING FBI, CAUSE I BOUGHT MY PLANE TICKET TO HOUSTON WITH CASH WITHOUT BOOKING AND THEY THOUGHT I WAS A TERRORIST!” - DJ KANSEL Anyone pull something out of the bag where you were just thinking ‘holy fucking shit’? Yeah. Me! Sounds like half the ADL hip hop community was over there too. Any of the crew get rowdy after too many 40 ounces?
Yeah Purpose had his crew. I was with my boy DJ Bucks. We chilled with Tom Thum most of the weekend and my boys Conseps and Patti from Adroit came down from Toronto to support. The Adroit boys are the rowdiest motherfuckers I know. So are BattleHoggs still looking at taking out most of Australia’s DJ titles this year? Snair has got a killer DMC set, I’m going to defend Scribble and I’m sure if there are any other Nationals on the line we’ll be there. What’s going on with this new Ofﬁcal BattleHoggs Mixtape series? How many are we going to see? What have you got lined up for them all? We got a host lined up and songs coming in for Volume 2, which will be out before the end of the year. Then you can expect one every few months. Anything else on Kansel’s to-do-list we should be keeping an ear out for? I’m always planing a year in front of myself and I think the BattleHoggs have some more tricks up our sleeves.
What are the judges at Scribble looking for do you reckon? Was it more technical trickery or was it something that would make the crowd move? The only judge that I had mad respect for was DJ Vadjra, from the Platter Pirates, who is one of the best at scratching in the US. He came up to me after the qualiﬁer and told me it was bullshit that they didn’t put me through. I was chilling with him the night before and backstage before the battle. I guess real recognise real.
out the battle. I was chilling with him at the airport the next day and we got bumrushed by fucking FBI, cause I bought my plane ticket to Houston with cash without booking and they thought I was a terrorist!
So was the competition pretty tough at Scribble Jam 2006 or were the judges just fucking deaf? There were too many local DJ’s that had either built their name up in the area or at Scribble Jam in the past. So a dude from Australia got fuck all love!
SCRIBBLE JAM ROUND UP
21/12/2007 5:46:42 PM
was staying either so that made it harder to get out. But nonetheless all the writers I met there seemed like pretty cool dudes. Heaps of them looked like emo’s though. Fucking weirdos.
SCRIBBLE JAM ROUND UP
First up congrats for taking out second at the Beatbox battle mate, but let’s be honest here. We’ve all seen the footage of you taking on Snuggles in the ﬁnal battle. Let’s not be gracious in defeat, you got ripped off. You fucking killed him! Oh well perhaps I shall get a re-match in the future. The crowd seemed to weigh more in my favour, but the judges did not unfortunately. It is my fault in a way for not preparing sets properly and shit like that, but I guess I can’t go back in time. If I only I had a Delorian and a crazy friend that was a mad scientist. Hover boards are pretty illin too. Word is Snuggles was jacking Rahzel routines throughout other rounds. Any truth in that? (Laughs) Yeah. It was funny cause all of the other serious battles I have been in have been judged by hardcore beatbox fans who could spot a jacked routine from a mile away. But it seems that it slipped right past these dudes. It was one of Rahzel’s lesser known pieces, but hey, still all the beatboxers knew where it’s at. So that’s all good. Snuggles worked the crowd and the judges I guess, so it slipped by unnoticed except by all of us. So did the place really go nuts when you started windmilling and headspining against Poizonous while beatboxing in the semi-
ﬁnal? Didn’t the cat just give up after you started breaking? (Laughs) Yeah it was pretty illin I guess. It was the ﬁrst time I’d pulled it out whilst battling and it was a bit sketchy, cause I couldn’t put any weight on my wrist either, cause I had fucked it up prior to my trip. I guess just for novelty sake it worked well. (Laughs) I think Poizonus just didn’t expect it that’s all. It was a fairly sly move to slot in there. I think I will try Irish dancing next time and get some of that river-dance ﬂavour up in there. You also spit under the Tommy Illﬁgga handle, but did you get much of a chance to ﬂex your lyrical skills while you were over in Cincinatti? A few drunken freestyles and what not, nothing major though. I met a few cats from Texas that were dope so hopefully I will be hooking up with those lads in the not too distant future. My EP wasn’t complete by the time I got over there so that was a bummer, but I ended up in a few circles anyway. I think the Americans just wanted me to say cheers heaps and drink Fosters. I bunged on the stereotype hard. You paint along with everything else, so did you get to see much of the writers getting up? Nah there was diddly squat over there apart from the wall of fame at the venue which is absolutely off the chain. Apparently they are real hard on the buff over there and there is a heavy task force. I couldn’t ﬁnd any stores which actually sold paint close to where I
Sounds like you were hitting the 40 ounces hard mate! Do beatboxers get riders at Scribble Jam? Who were your partners in crime when you were hitting the turps? (Laughs) Well funnily enough it was the other Aussies that were passing through that were my partners in grime. Conseps and Patti from Adroit Effusive were always down for it even though I went fucking AWOL the ﬁrst night we went out. When I found out they sold 40’s in servos I bought three on the way from the airport and sat them in front of the air-con unit in my apartment. Poizonus was also in party mode most of the time so it was ill. He repped hard on the buds. So who are some dope beatboxers who represented there who we should be keeping an ear out for? A dude called Jam One was off the hook, a real nice dude and he totally unfairly lost his battle from a technical beatbox perspective. He tore strips off the competition. But I guess once again, it’s who can play it up most for the judges. Poizonus is ill too, He competed in the World Champs with me in Liepzig and from seeing him there to Scribble Jam he had made a marked improvement. There were other dudes that were dope as well but I forgot their names. Now Tommy Illﬁgga has dropped The Unﬁltered EP through United Notions/ Obese Records. But what has Tom Thum got on the agenda next? Don’t know man. I got a whole lot of shit in the pipeline but haven’t really decided on anything solid. I have been doing a travelling show called the Tom Tom club, which I had no part in naming. The show is kind of a mash-up of a whole lot of beatboxing, acrobatics, turntablism, crazy percussion and b- boying. My mate from Sydney, Dizz One, kills it on the tables in the show and we do a few battle type things with his MPC. We are hopefully going to be heading to Edinburgh in August which will be dope. So Mum, if you are reading this, that’s where I have gone. My crew A Dyin Breed are also in the throes of recording our debut release so keep your ears peeled for that one too.
21/12/2007 4:46:16 PM
You went down in the second round to Proliﬁc after taking Bliss out in the ﬁrst. Was that a fair representation of how you were spitting on the night? Or did you get ganked? (Laughs) I wouldn’t say I got ganked. I think the battles were well judged. There was a bit of speculation about whether or not I was supposed to get through the second round but I won’t take any-
How was the quality of battle MC’s in Cincinatti compared to here in Oz? I think the calibre of MC’s was a lot higher, but that’s because a lot of people in the Australian battle scene are still developing. There were that many dudes in the battle that night that could’ve taken it out. It was humbling. Generally in most battles in Oz out of 20 people in a battle there are only 2 that could really take it out. It was good to see something so hotly contested and know that I was a part of it. Was there any backstage drama/ intimidation/threats or were most of the other MC’s pretty laid back? Nah not really. I think everyone knew what they were there to do and were more focused on getting themselves sorted out mentally. With that being said there was a bit of staring down. Nothing I haven’t seen before though. Sounds like a few of the ADL crew went over there too. Was there some major Oz/US networking going on? Any collabs on the horizon? Yeah me and a couple of mates went over but there wasn’t any
networking going on. I wasn’t planning on being that rapper that runs up to everyone saying, “I’m only here for a few days, let’s do an album together!” So we just laid low and enjoyed ourselves. Apart from the battle itself, what else was a highlight of Scribble Jam 2006? Big Daddy Kane was the highlight for me. I was really looking forward to seeing Brother Ali play as well but he was on just before the battle and we had to go backstage. But yeah, Big Daddy Kane was incredible. Never seen anything like it. He commanded that crowd for about an hour and didn’t lose anyone. You are a part of the group Afore Mentioned along with Motive and DJ Initials. You cats going to drop any music soon, or do we have to hit ADL to see you live? Yes we are. My debut solo album will be out sometime later this year. It is entitled “Where it Starts” and will be released through Double or Nothing records independently. Get it. As far as live shows we are always performing around the traps in Adelaide and we crawl over to Melbourne every now and again to spread the love. Also there will be a group release with Motive and Initials early 2008.
That is fucking wrong. With Justice taking out Scribble Jam the previous year, did it feel like there was a lot more attention being paid to you because you were the Aussie MC representing? When I was introduced to Kevin Beecham who was the master of ceremonies for the battle night, he raised his eyebrows. I don’t think there was anyone really paying attention to me because I was Australian except the other MC’s in the battle backstage. They sort of sussed me out I suppose, being that they had no idea what I could or couldn’t do.
thing away from Proliﬁc. It was a close battle.
Firstly, were you even allowed to drink on your Scribble Jam pilgrimage considering you have to be 21 over there? (Laughs) Nah, they’re pretty strict over there. Me and Motive’s dream of nabbing a 40 ounce bottle of beer from the corner store went unfulﬁlled.
SCRIBBLE JAM ROUND UP
21/12/2007 4:46:29 PM
21/12/2007 4:46:46 PM
So ﬁrstly, Simplex, how did you come in contact with Damo and what persuaded you to work on an album with him? Simplex: Ahh I met him at the front row of a Weapon X show (laughs). Just at local battles and The Cypher… Just around, he stalked me.
SIMPLEX Interview & Photos by Emvee Design by Mr.Mann Hailing from the north of Adelaide comes Damo, Australia’s notorious punch line master whose debut album ‘D-Classiﬁed Files’ has been turning heads Australia wide since it’s release due to Damo’s no-holdsbarred approach to making music and his tendency to call it as he sees it. Coming up through the Adelaide battle rap scene Damo honed his lyrical skills and relentless delivery, both of which hit hard over the polished Simplex (Terra Firma/ Certiﬁed Wise) production that adorn this ‘Simbiotic Audio’ release. I caught up with Damo and Simplex (with Words in the background) in the studio. Note to Weapon X – Don’t read this.
Not many rappers locally are dropping 19 track albums, what persuaded you to work on a project that long with him? Simplex: Ummmm… Because he’s a fucken fussy cunt. Damo: Well Simplex wanted to cut it down to 15 but we had a few extras spare on top of the 19 already and I wanted to bring out an album that almost covered the whole disc, because a lot of albums these days are short changing you by not having enough music to cover the whole disc. I ﬁgured I might as well give them more than what the normal people are doing just as a selling point again. Cause people will say, “He’s offering us a lot more music than this person is here so we’ll give it a listen” So you’re deﬁnitely happy with the ﬁnal product and the amount of tracks on it? Damo: Yeah, deﬁnitely. So you wouldn’t of put more on there if you had the chance? Damo: Nah, I wouldn’t of ﬁt more (laughs). Considering Damo’s got some pretty contentious lyrics, was there ever any point where you Simplex were even a bit hesitant towards some of the stuff he was saying? Simplex: Ahhh, some stuff I was a bit - “Yeah I don’t know about that” (laughs). Damo: He did pull us up a couple of times and there were some that didn’t make the cut and he said, “Nah we better not use that”. But I always ran it past him if I knew it was a little bit over the line, I always asked him ﬁrst before I spat it. Were either of you worried about repercussions? Damo: Oh, I expect people to get bent out of shape a little bit by some of them, but I wasn’t really consciously thinking of it while I was doing it.
Commercial rappers feel the brunt of your abuse. I’m taking about people like Figgkidd, 1200 Techniques and Weapon X. What do you think when you see those people representing so-called ‘Australian Hip Hop’ to the masses? Simplex: I smile. Damo: They give me a warm feeling inside (laughs). Simplex: I don’t really get in to that fucken shit so it doesn’t really affect me at all. Damo: It’s another market altogether different to this one. The one I’m striving for is the real hip hop heads as opposed to the one they’re striving for, which is mainstream acceptance… 12 year old people with shoe fetishes (laughs). You don’t just go for the soft targets, but also the more established and respected names like Muph, Bob Balans, Matty B and Hunter. You diss them as well in your venomous punch lines. Did you expect feelings to get hurt from people like that? Simplex: The stuff we did like Hunter and that wasn’t really fucken ‘disses’, just a play on words like half the stuff he does. What people have got to sort of understand is that half his stuff is similes, and the shit that’s a diss, is a diss. Do you know what I mean? People try and look into it further and try to ﬁnd fucken subliminal disses in there… Damo: …and they think there’s a background to it. They go, “Oh yeah, Damo’s only dissing him because something has gone on beforehand”. Or people read too far into a lot of the stuff, I’ve found, since it’s dropped. Simplex: This is a diss, a simile is a simile. Damo: Yeah, I don’t just go out there and say, “Fuck you. You’re a dickhead cause you suck cock ya fuckwit”. I rhyme using wordplay. A lot of people seem to get their feelings hurt, does that bother you? Damo: I haven’t actually heard anything from people I mention in the album. A lot of people that have got their feelings hurt are just rival artists or artists that are trying to make a name for themselves. I don’t know whether it’s out of jealousy or just that’s their opinion, but they seem to voice their opinions on public forums. If that’s what they want to do, well good on them, but it seems a little bit sad to me.
21/12/2007 4:47:07 PM
There seems to be a division, like on public forums as you said, between people who believe your album is the shake-up the scene needed and those who believe you just do it to sell records. Simplex: You listen to half the fucken Australian shit out there, there will be subliminal disses. Every cat from everywhere. The way that he puts it is he’ll say your name and say exactly what he reckons. Other people will do it other ways. They’ll do it subliminally and write these fucken rhymes that if you decoded them with a wind-talker… you’d understand the disses (laughs). So do you think it’s just a case of people not contemplating what you’re doing? Damo: I just think a lot of people have taken it out of context, when it was done to be tongue-in-cheek and just with a clever, witty background to it. I think they just read too far into it, as opposed to taking it for what it is. And if they think I only did it to sell records, well good on ‘em aye, I’m not here to tell them any different. It’s not for me to sit there and back and forth argue with these people that want to have opinions on my music. Because ultimately if they start telling their friends, “This Damo guy’s a fucking piece of shit and can’t rap” or that, “He just did it to sell albums” then their mate’s gonna be like, “Woah, this dudes got a controversial album. I’m gonna go to the store and buy it”. Moving along a bit, coming from the battle scene was it a hard transition from being a battle rapper to recording artist? Damo: Nah, because ultimately I’ve been writing my lyrics and recording them on whatever form and whatever medium I had to use at the time, whether it was just pressing record on the tape recorder rapping to a beat that I’ve got on another tape recorder. So I’ve been emceeing for a long time, so going into the battles I was already an emcee that had written rhymes as opposed to a guy that got into battling and started writing rhymes afterwards. So the transition wasn’t too hard to make. You’ve got tracks on your album like ‘Psych Proﬁle’ and ‘A Love Story’. How important was it for you to show that you could make tracks that weren’t just battle raps? Damo: Yeah, I wanted to switch it up a little bit as well because I couldn’t really bring out 19 tracks of straight battle raps because it would lose peoples’ interest. But I ﬁgured my battle raps are decent
enough to have peoples interest through most of the album. A lot of the stuff I do write isn’t battle lyrics as well, I try to experiment with different styles and concepts on songs and I’ve got a lot of stuff that hasn’t been brought out or won’t be brought out that I’ve recorded that is totally different to what you’ve heard on the album. Simplex: Just going back a couple of questions - he’s a battle MC. The way that he rhymes is how he battles. He just transitions all the stuff he does in battling to record, do you know what I mean? Damo: People know me as a battle MC, so I wouldn’t come out with an album of melodic pop songs because people wouldn’t feel it and they’d say, “You’ve just sold out”, and that was never on my mind anyway.
“I’M JUST WAITING FOR DISS TRACKS TOWARDS ME SO I CAN DO COMEBACK VERSES”
decided to chuck 16, or not even, just 8 or so on a CD. We just put as much music as we could on it and just get it out and get people to listen to it. Then all of a sudden it’s bloody travelling interstate and some of the things I said on that ruffled feathers over there, but yeah, tongue in cheek again. But I was pretty happy with the outcome of that mixtape too, because the quality wasn’t the best but the response that we got from it was pretty good. The majority of the people liked it and said it was a pretty raw little mixtape for what it was. Hearing both of them you can tell that the album’s like a polished version of the mixtape, keeping it the same style the whole way through. Damo: It served it’s purpose in that as well because it was like a prelude to the album, people that hadn’t heard of me before or had heard of me though battles and hadn’t heard my recorded stuff got a listen through the mixtape, and if they liked that they were gonna check for the album too. So it worked well in that purpose.
- DAMO Words, you’ve been along with Damo through the ride and done the ‘Boondock Saints’ mixtape with him. How did you guys meet up and how long have you been together rapping? Damo: He (Words) immigrated from New Zealand, and you know most people from New Zealand only come here to get the Dole. So obviously I met him in the Dole queue, but I was there on other business because I had a job at the time (laughs). Nah, he moved from New Zealand to around the corner from me and then from the ﬁrst bloke he met, we won’t speak on him because he’s just a fucken…. we could base this whole interview on this guy… there’s one in every place. So yeah, we met through there, we got speaking and he was into hip hop as well. So from there we became friends. Words: So it was that hip hop connection, we met at the train station, and it’s cliché as fuck. He scabbed smokes and drugs…well smokes (laughs). How did the ‘Boondock Saints’ mixtape go for you? Did it get you a lot of attention? Damo: Yeah, more than we expected, deﬁnitely, because we brought it out just for the local scene and just because we had a surplus of tracks that we’d recorded on my own little very sparse set up, if you can call it that. We had a surplus of tracks and just
Simplex, with Damo’s style being different to pretty much anything else to hit the local scene was it a challenge for you to make your production suit his hardcore delivery? Simplex: Ummmmm… Not really. Damo: Nah, because seeing as I produced most of the tracks and just got Simplex’s name and put it on the front of the album. Not many people know, but my own album, I mixed down most of it (laughs). Simplex: I make all sorts of different beats, so I just had to ﬁnd the wackest ones that we (Terra Firma) weren’t using and his voice suited it perfectly and I was like, “Yeah, let’s go from here” (laughs). With you (Simplex) taking care of production, DJ Dyems doing most of the cuts and Karbens supplying the artwork, half of the Terra Firma crew were involved with this release. Was that always the plan or is that just how it panned out? Simplex: Ahhh, it’s because they were cheap (laughs). Nah, I’ve just fucken always liked Karbens’ artwork. He does all our stuff for Terra Firma and all shit for me and whatever else that we do. Dyems always comes around and is hanging around like a bad smell so we chucked him on a few tracks as well. We just work with the people that we work with.
21/12/2007 4:47:10 PM
Damo: I’ve gotta say that Karbens really superseded my expectations on the artwork too. We gave him a theme that we wanted and just ideas without actually giving him pictures or even proper ideas, we just said that, “We want an idea for this, this is the title of the album, you can do the theme to cater to what we say”, and he came back with something 20 times better then what I expected. Simplex: “His name is Damo and we want pictures and stuff ”. That was our brief. Damo, I’ve heard numerous people refer to you as Australia’s version of Chino XL. Was he an inspiration to you and more generally speaking who were some of the people who inspired you in hip hop? Damo: Weapon X…um, nah I’m not gonna say nothing cause I’ll run on a tangent. But yeah, I’m deﬁnitely a fan of Chino XL’s, people like Celph Titled and Can-I-Bus more than anyone, he’s probably my favourite MC. Then people like Redman as well. Redman due to the fact that he’s come with a style on his ﬁrst album that was that style and then all the way through his career he’s never gone pop or he’s never rocked no soft shit and he’s always stuck to that same style and done it real well. And that’s how you want to do it as well? Damo: Oh yeah, deﬁnitely. Your album’s full of punch lines based on current affairs from now and over the last few years. Are you constantly thinking of rhymes when you’re watching the news or reading paper? Damo: Yeah, deﬁnitely, and not just the news and the paper. It could be that I’m reading a book, yeah, any sort of medium. Simplex: You can’t say nothing around him because he’ll fucken put it in a verse. I don’t know fucken - “Dyems has got a strange rash all over him” (laughs). The next thing fucken, he’ll have it in a rhyme. So you want to rhyme about everything, is that the reason for your hundred bars that you’re notorious for? Damo: Oh yeah, I just keep writing. A lot of the times when I write lyrics I don’t actually write songs unless I’m setting out to do a concept song, I just keep writing lyrics, it could be four pages. It could be half a page. I just keep going and going and going and then drop
out the bad stuff and leave the good stuff. So can we expect more hundred bars’ from your direction? Damo: Oh deﬁnitely, yeah. Probably not on albums because you want to keep peoples interest, but even for just throwaway mixtape joints and stuff like that, deﬁnitely. Simplex: He’ll come around your house and rap if you want (laughs). Damo: Kids parties. Simplex: He’ll stand in your lounge room and rap at you. Words: “Yo, shut the fuck up Damo!” – (mimicking Damo) “I’ve got 200 bars to go”. Going back to what you listen to, do you listen to any local hip hop, and what do you think of the standard? Damo: Yeah, a select few of local stuff I do listen to of course. Simplex: Weapon X Damo: Yeah, as Simplex just generously divulged, people like Weapon X, N’fa and Figgkidd, and Savage, Scribe, that Syphonetic guy. So, what does the future hold for Damo? Have you got plans for any other releases or touring? Simplex: A bulletproof vest (laughs). Damo: Yeah, I’m continually working on more stuff. I’m just waiting for diss tracks towards me so I can do comeback verses. Nah, I’m constantly working on stuff and I’m always writing, so whether it comes out on a release on a mixtape or the next album… Simplex: …or his Obituary (laughs). Are you working with any other artists? Damo: Yeah, this guy Dribbles from Warrnambool in Victoria, I’ve got a bit of stuff with him and Words of course. Simplex even though he doesn’t know about it yet. Simplex:…and doesn’t want to. Damo: And doesn’t want to. He’s actually changed his phone number so it’s good that I actually came here today so I can get his new one. Simplex, Damo’s album was the ﬁrst release on your new label - Simbiotic Audio. What’s in the future for you and your label?
Simplex: Probably not much after this release (laughs). Damo: He’s looking to sign Weapon X, that’s in the works now. I mean I’d like to leave that out of the interview because that shouldn’t be said and Simplex probably isn’t divulging that. And Trey and I think Maya Jupiter’s got other commitments with Triple J… Words: And the dentist (laughs). Damo: And a remake of Mr. Ed, the old show (laughs). Solid MC hasn’t got a label home yet. Simplex: Yeah, probably sign up Solid. What about the upcoming Terra Firma album, people have been hanging for it? Simplex: Ahhh, it’s getting there, we should have it recorded and ﬁnished by the end of the year, and if fucken Raphy can get away from his Foxtel stand (laughs) we’ll ﬁnish it. So you’ve got a fair number of tracks already laid down for it? Simplex: Ay yeah, we’ve got around fucken 14 tracks, rough, but we’re just waiting to get a new mic and compressor, once we get that… So what can people expect with it, similar to your ﬁrst release or changing it up a bit? Simplex: It’s got a lot of a Figgkidd feel to it (laughs). Probably a lot different than our ﬁrst album I think, that should of just been a demo tape, just heaps of tracks that we’ve done over the years that we put on an album, got Gerard (Karbens) to do a cover, and yeah… You’ve got a lot of attention from it lately with ‘The Night The Heavens Cried’. So you think that will help with the new album dropping? Simplex: Yeah, I tripped out how the radio started picking up on that, well the local radio did. That track’s 7 years old, so it gives us a kick in the arse to get this next album out and get it all done. Thanks heaps for the interview guys, have you got anything else you want to say? Damo: It wasn’t me, yeah Simplex was actually my ghostwriter, I’m just a puppet, the media puppet. Simplex: I didn’t actually listen to any of the lyrics before it was mastered and put on the shelves. Check these 2 delinquents out at www.myspace.com/damothemc & www.myspace.com/simplextf 67
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Damn man, that’s crazy! Force was 15? Do you remember debuting the single or the station that played it ﬁrst? Tell me about the initial industry feedback on the record. Did everybody immediately bow down or did you have haters back then?
As an MC, I can always respect a man who is fearless when it comes to battling. Did you ever lock horns with any other Boston dudes or any other MC’s in general? If so, what was the outcome? The incident that pops into my head is when we we’re opening for Master Ace at the Paradise here in Boston. Now Edo G and the Bulldogs were also on the bill. They went on before us in 1991, I think it was right before Edo blew up. Anyway we were in the middle
JAWN P INTERVIEW
If it wasn’t for Jawn P, we might not have Esoteric. Jawn P was a member of the group Top Choice Clique (along with DJ Gemini and MC Force) who became local legends in their hometown of Boston in the late 80’s/early 90’s. As an MC Jawn was hugely inﬂuential on the local scene. So much so that current king of Boston, Esoteric, went and tracked the man down and convinced him to pick up the mic again after being retired from the spit game for over ten years. Eso recently produced Jawn’s new single “The Gods Have Spoken” b/ w “Future Day Relic” and sat down with one of his idols to talk shop.
“Your a Phony” huh? Shit I wanna hear that! Maybe Magnus Johnstone has a copy ﬂoating around, huh? But yo let’s jump ahead a bit. “Peace of Mind” is one of the best songs to ever come out of Boston period. That song was very inspirational to me and a lot of other cats. How old were you when you recorded that and what equipment was the track produced on? “Peace of Mind” was originally recorded on a 4 track cassette. I remember Force came up with the concept. Honestly at ﬁrst I was sceptical because of the positive content of the lyrics and topics. I thought people might think we were soft or corny. But once I heard the ﬁnished product I was blown away by Force’s production on it. He constructed that whole song using a guitar pedal (sampler). There was no such things as Pro Tools. I’ll never forget the sight of Force repeatedly hitting the pedal to keep the loop going. It took forever, but listening back to the original 4 track everything’s in tune and on time! We later recorded the version that was pressed to 12” on Sample Records on an 8 track 1/4 inch at Waltz Audio. I was 18 when we originally recorded it, Mike was 15.
I remember exactly how the record got put on. Skippy White agreed to put up some money to get the record pressed and also do a video to help promote it. Sample Records was basically Skippy and myself. I would drive the records to all the local record stores to drop off on consignment. I was dropping a stack of 12” off at a store that was right down the street from WILD which was the black owned and operated radio station in Roxbury. At the time I had no idea how the game worked. I just ﬁgured if a record sounded dope the station just played it. I had WILD on in my car at the time and like I said I ﬁgured they would like the song. So I pulled up out front, double parked and rang the buzzer. It took a few minutes but ﬁnally someone answered. I quickly introduced myself, dropped Skippy’s name a few times and asked the guy to please get this to the DJ. As I pulled away I remember thinking the dude probably threw the vinyl into the trash. I got to the second red light and I heard “Peace of Mind” playing on WILD. It was a good feeling. Because of the positive content of the song the initial feedback was dope! We actually did a commercial using the “Peace of Mind” instrumental for a local clothing store. Shit got more run than the actual video did.
Interview by Esoteric Design by Ryan
Yo Jawn, I’ve been a fan of your shit since 86 man and as a listener of the radio show Lecco’s Lemma (Pioneering 1980’s Boston hip hop show) . Let the readers know what type of role that played in the development of Top Choice Clique. Jawn P: Lecco’s Lemma was instrumental in the development of Top Choice Clique for two reasons. Number one was I ﬁrst heard Force spit live on the air there. He was battling some poor kid that he annihilated. When he ﬁnished overwhelming that poor soul with metaphors, I called the station, we spoke, set a date to meet and that was the beginning of Top Choice Clique. But even before I heard or met Force I had been sending tapes that I had recorded at home into the station under the name Double Def Crew, which was me and Andy F. It was very primitive material, just human beatbox and an MC straight to cassette. The ﬁrst song that we ever got played on air was “Your a Phony”.
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JAWN P INTERVIEW ISSUE ONE PEAK STREET
of rocking our shit and I could see the Bulldogs talking shit towards the stage, posturing and shit like that. I told Gemini to kill the music and invited Edo and them on stage (laughs). Before we could react there was like 15 dudes onstage. Obviously security shut that down quickly and we never got to spit. If I remember correctly, shit carried on into the dressing room. Masta Ace came to me and was like, “What the fuck man?”. He was pussy about it. He went out there and did like 3 songs and left. RSO was there and I think they approved. We battled a few local crews very early on too, but nothing worth mentioning.
there any truth to this rumour? Cypress was the biggest thing out at the time so that could have been a really big step. A&M approved the budget to have Cypress Hill remix “Push it Past Red”, and yes B Real was going to provide back-up vocals to the track. We as a group decided to have Force remix the track, a move that proved fatal in our relationship with the label, but one we decided to make as a group. Probably not the best decision, but one that was made regardless.
Shit that’s crazy man. I’m going to have to give Edo some shit for that next time we playing ball (laughs). I consider you the Larry Bird of Boston rap’s golden era. You were Boston’s white boy way before I even had the balls to get onstage. In such a touchy racial climate and protective culture in the mid 80’s, did you ever get stepped to because of your appearance? People from Boston seemed to respect the fact that we were trying to hold it down for our area. That question gets asked often and I can’t really put my ﬁnger on any one episode where it was speciﬁcally about me being white. I played a lot of ball growing up so by the time I started rhyming I was accustomed to shit talk. I mean I guess there must have been some that hated on us for it, but we were so driven and tight knit as a crew at the time nothing that trivial was going to stop us.
“ROSIE PEREZ AND I MET A FEW TIMES DURING THE PROMOTION FOR THE MOVIE POSSE. SHE TOLD ME I WASN’T FAMOUS ENOUGH FOR HER.”
After working so hard for so long and getting tested and judged, does it bother you to see some white kid whose ﬁrst hip hop memory is seeing 8 Mile get on stage and ﬂow? Or do you think that stuff doesn’t matter anymore? It would bother me at ﬁrst, but now with the advent of the White Rapper Show (Ed – Genius shit from the Ego Trip lads) and the internet as a vehicle anything goes. I was very fortunate to grow up, and be a part of the best era in hip hop. I can’t blame someone else for growing up in this oversaturated era. Mediocrity will always be mediocrity. Gold will always be gold. Good point man. In 07 everybody with a Myspace page and sunglasses is a famous rapper. Speaking of gold, during the period that you were signed to A&M. I heard stories about you working with Cypress Hill too. Was
- JAWN P
fun of her because she was in the Marky Mark video. Rosie Perez and I met a few times during the promotion for the movie Posse. She told me I wasn’t famous enough for her. What would you say your most memorable Top Choice Clique performance was? You know, the show from that era that you will never ever forget. 1991 opening for Boogie Down Productions at the Channel in Boston. The place was sold out and we ripped it. Man, that’s crazy. I saw BDP at The Strand in like ‘92 and it was a madhouse. RSO opened up for them. That was that era Jawn! Yo, name three records from the 80’s that inﬂuenced you to be an MC. MC Shan - “Beat Biter”, RUN DMC - “Rock Box” & Sugarhill Gang - “Rappers Delight”. Hmm okay. Name two records that you wish you never had a part in. None. All of my experiences shaped me into the maniac I am today.
Force’s tracks were dope though man, he was a very slept on producer. When I was younger I remember hearing you dated Traci Bingham. I thought that was bullshit. Then I heard Rosie Perez too. I thought this was way more plausible because you were getting some shine when the Posse soundtrack dropped. Any truth to this stuff? (Laughs) Traci Bingham I met for a brief moment. It was way before Baywatch and way before she bought her current bra size. I made
I feel that man. A very political answer. I can give you plenty of records I wish I never did (laughs). But yo, tell us what it was like working with Skippy White. That record store was one of the few stores in the Boston area where you could get indie hip-hop like Top Choice Clique. You worked there for a while when you were coming up. Did this connect you with a lot of other Boston MC’s? What Boston MC’s did you look up to when you were developing your craft? Working at Skippy White’s was huge for me as far as learning the indie game and making valuable connects within the hip hop community that was developing in Boston at the time. I remember David Mays dropping off the ﬁrst issue of The Source Magazine. As far as MC’s I looked up to there was Kool G (Kool Gzus) and his crew TDS Mob. His delivery was dope. Also Orangemen from RSO. Yeah man Orangeman and TDS Mob. I remember hearing them on 95.3 and 88.1 and even 1090am back then. Back to back with
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some TCC shit! Then yall kinda stepped it up to the next level with the major label deal. There was a lot of anticipation for your fulllength on A&M. It never came out. We know the industry is shady, but tell us what went down and if we will ever get to hear the stuff that was vaulted during this era. What happened to us on A&M happens to more groups then you know. The album got shelved partly because the movie Posse bombed. If “I Think to Myself” had done well soundscan wise, A&M would have deﬁnitely released the record. But 25,000 units don’t get it done when you are dealing with major labels. The timing was very bad. The movie was basically out of the theatres when our single got released off of the soundtrack. They released Tragedy’s track and some bullshit Tone Loc song and then ours. The song plus the video brought us to an audience we would have never reached had we not signed. We decided as a group to leave the record alone. We recorded it so long ago and we are trying to move forward with new music. People want that old shit man! You got to ﬁnd a way to get it out there. But moving forward, tell us about life after the Top Choice Clique A&M ordeal. You had a solo album in the works, right? Yes I had a development deal with Sony Records. The deal never materialised so I sold the tracks to a movie entitled Squeeze. In retrospect I’m glad the Sony thing didn’t work out. The material was more of an experimental phase, kind of trip hop. It was good, but not anything I would want on my discography today. I hear you, but that contradicts my question about what records you wish you never made! You asshole! (Laughs) Nah I’m playin man. Now if you had to liken yourself to any character from any Hollywood movie who would it be? You know the answer to that! I am the modern day Rocky Balboa! If you don’t know get educated. Jawn P is working with 7L & Eso on The Art Of War EP so listen close.. See if you snap up his Blood Count mixtape somehow too. www.myspace.com/ jawnp78. Esoteric along with 7L better be releasing their new LP Saving Seamus Ryan soon. www.myspace.com/7lesoteric Photos by Mike Zotos/Performer.com
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