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THE 'RAP IT UP' BLOG

The Most Electrifying E.P by SWIDT

 

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Onehungas own SWIDT release their 6 song E.P The Most Electrifying.

Their style is in the same contemporary direction as American Superstars J Cole and Migos but with SWIDT’s exceptional talent of translating their big personalities, humour, wit and vibe to their records.  SWIDT are very New Zealand. Very Auckland and very Polynesian. They have a Polynesian sound to their music which almost seeps in unintentionally, but gives them the edge when it comes to an original sound.

SWIDT have a beat maker as part of the team and It really helps further define their sound. Smokey got beats is an exceptional beat smith. I love his sound. It’s crisp, bass heavy and sparse and it holds the rappers bars well. He is a huge part of the consistent world class sound of SWIDT.

SWIDT dropped their current E.P on July 27th, keeping them in the public eye and ensuring no one forgets “Who Run It”. Which just so happens to be the name of track number 1 on the E.P. Who Run It is a lumbering bass heavy giant of a track featuring that witty word play that SWIDT are so well known for. 

Track 2 switches it up with No Emotions In The Wild which changes the mood for a moment with a contemplative and heart felt R&B type feel, before It breaks into the second half of the song.The wild part. With an energetic pace and hard delivery which turns the whole feeling on its head. Almost like two different songs with only the lyrical theme tying them together. I really like this songwriting technique. It’s like having a warm shower then someone turning on the cold tap. It startles you a bit but really wakes you up.

Track 3 Praise is one of those reminiscing tracks. looking back at where they started, Freestyling at Khuja Lounge and catching the bus to the city.

Mood is a sassy little number. Jazzy in feel with a laidback smokey female vocal on the hook. Being from the same city of Auckland New Zealand as me, really helps SWIDT in my estimation of them, when they drop inside jokes like “Bye Felisha” I give a smirk of recognition.

Henny Freestyle is an attitude packed Trap banger. I’m not in tune enough with SWIDT to know by ear which rapper does what verses yet, but I can tell you besides their immaculate word play they really pack in some intricate rhythms. Skilfully riding the sparse bass music soundscape off into the sunset of my imagination.

Facts is an autotuned, raga infused, slow dreamy and very floaty bass banger. What the kids are calling “Wavy”.

SWIDT are flexing their talent muscles for all to see. This is not only world class, these songs are better than a lot of contemporary Hip-Hop in general and best of all SWIDT is Hip Hop taylormade for New Zealanders. If you’re from Auckland you’re really going to relate to the content. Almost a treat from music this good.

So If you’re a Hip Hop fan get on Spotify and check it out.

 

 https://open.spotify.com/album/3RiJBgUiTrNj6nyjta9PiX

 

 

 

 

 

Brightness Sparks by Esoligh

 

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Brightness Sparks by Esoligh is a 14 track album of conscious boom bap. The album runs for 54 minutes. All the tracks have a guest artist featuring and contain lush production and intricate beats, where every song is skilfully and no doubt painstakingly crafted.

 

Esoligh raps from the heart about personal thoughts to the point where listening to this album feels like reading his diary. He literally has put his heart and soul into his work. Brightness Sparks presents you with mastery on many levels. Easily digested on a first listen, it only grows from there. On every subsequent listen Brightness Sparks reveals layer upon layer of thought provoking content.

 

Esolighs rap style embodies who he is completely. He raps in a NZ accent and adds Maori language in many of his raps. One of my favourite hooks from the album is from his song ‘Community’ where he proclaims “ Community means everything to me. Everyone together working Ko Tahi, Ko Tahi Tanga is the way of my Mahi. Which translates as “Collective action is the way of my work”. This ethos certainly shows in the talent that Esoligh has pulled together on this album.

 

He's spared no effort in backing up his album with the most talented of collaborators. Fourteen to be specific which I will spare you from listing but I can say that the album features Scizzorhands on scratching duties. Scizzorhands is one of the most insanely tastiest Hip Hop DJ’s in NZ.

 

Brightness Sparks is refreshing in many ways. A work of complete transparency and honesty in the lyrics. Beats of lush boom bap that fly in the face of a vastly changed Hip-Hop landscape of mumble rap and new wave Hip Hop. Esoligh is doing him and doing a fantastic job at it.

 

This album is masterful and highly enjoyable and in my opinion a well crafted gift to New Zealand Hip Hop.

 

Check it out on Bandcamp here.

 

Single Review Top Down by ABRZY

 

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ABRZY is a Wellington based Hip-Hop artist. His style is contemporary Hip Hop/Trap and his new single Top Down is not too dissimilar to Drake. Superbly produced and executed with massive 808’s and snare rolls the track opens with a flamenco guitar strum and some well placed synth strings and various ambient sound effects including a cute female giggle before the bass drop. 

The track switches it up from a wavy legato bass line into a pause just to drop the bass again and then into a driving syncopated dance rhythm providing some nice tension and release elements. ABRZY laces the track with raspy syncopated breathing sounds and the all too familiar woohs yeah yuhs and skert skert noises of contemporary Hip Hop. 

The lyrics talk about driving with the top down of a convertible feeling the breeze with a girl on his mind and inline with contemporary Hip-Hop the hook is on repeat. The song is well crafted and flows between elements effortlessly. 

ABRZY has been doing this style for a minute but Top Down extends his repertoire to ad a more melodic singing vibe, with contemporary Hip-Hop’s trade mark auto tuned melodies abounding throughout. 

Top Down holds all the elements of whats happening right now in contemporary Hip-Hop and I can picture it getting love in a Hip-Hop club for sure. It’s a professional sounding track and I have to say ABRZY has made a solid commercial sounding joint with a lot of potential. Dare I say a potential hit, if luck is on his side.

 

Check out ABRZY

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ABRZYRahman/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0GIxnPuJrbOyBfyYkMzJRo


 
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/abrzyrahman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abrzy

Website: www.abrzymusic.wix.com/abrzymusic


Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q9asVTICZc

SWIDT- STONEYHUNGA

 

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SWIDT, which stands for “SEE WHAT I DID THERE?”, broke onto the music scene with their independently produced single & video “No More Parties In Onehunga” in early 2016. Comprised of five members, producer SmokeyGotBeatz, SPYCC, INF, JAMAL and Boomer-Tha-GOD. SWIDT have just released their sophomore album Stoneyhunga.

The album does a great job at communicating the atmosphere of SWIDT’s Onehunga environment and the mischief they get up to, with sound bites and short skits. I remember thinking on my initial listen that the albums pace and feel reminded me of Snoop Doggs breakthrough album Doggy Style.

The songs are packed full of textures sounds and lyrics that paint a detailed picture of “a day in a life of the boys from SWIDT” and to me this is what makes this album special and where the genius of SWIDT lies. It’s a fantastically executed concept album and the concept is to take the listener with them on their journey through a weekend in “Stoneyhunga”.  

Some tracks are only a couple minutes long and this really keeps the pace of the album moving and no doubt perfectly caters to the short attention span of Millenials. No need to go track skipping on this album. You can listen to it from start to end and it keeps your interest and attention and no doubt it was designed that way. This is a project you get the most out of when you listen to it all from start to finish.

Stoneyhunga is a superbly produced album with many moments of pure genius. Stand out moments for me are the huge sounding bass heavy opening track Alfred and Church. The bass line just makes your ears prick up and take notice immediately and was the perfect choice for the begining of the album. My other favorite is Ric Flair (Wooo!). Which is one of the catchiest trap joints I think I’ve ever heard. The kind of track you listen to on repeat and dance around the house to. 

The album really is quality Hip Hop with a distinctly Auckland Polynessian flavour. It fluidly crosses style lines from Trap to boom bap, Ragga and electronica tinged beats. The rap style is basic but extremely effective. Adding to the vivid visual imagery with story telling. The vocalists sensitive to the complex emotions of these stories, using expressional vocal tone to drive these "musical images" home to the listener. All players working as a team for the full benefit of the song.

You wonder what makes SWIDT stand out from the sea of rappers and rap groups in New Zealand. From what I can hear it’s careful planning and thoughtfulness of what they wanted to achieve with this album and I can tell you they nailed it.

 

FILMED INTERVIEW WITH SWIDT

 

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This week on The Rap It Up blog I interview New Zealand Hip Hop sensations SWIDT about their Sofomore album Stoneyhunga and more.

 

Rei - A Place To Stand

 

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A place to stand is the sophomore album by New Zealand's very own urban artist Rei. A place to stand is an intricate album both in concept and production. Multi faceted conceptually, Multi cultural and multi genre, I found A place to stand an intriguing listen.

There's so much going on in this album. It really had me thinking a lot about what it took as an artist to make A place to stand. Rei produced this album himself which is really impressive when you take in the intricacies of the beat making, not to mention the skilful songwriting and lyrical craftsmanship involved in the 12 tracks on this album. Rei's talent is truly awe inspiring and I don't say that lightly.

I would categorise A place to stand as a Pop album. Not Pop in the Brittany Spears sense but in the sense that Rei has been able to successfully integrate the current sound of contemporary popular music. He's not behind like a lot of New Zealand artists tend to be. He is right on time, current and present in what is popular in the here and now.

I would describe his sound as similar in style to Drake with melodic vocal phrases delivered in a Trap style, punctuated with the familiar Yah, Yeahs and ayes. The music is contemporary Trap with elements of Jamaican Dance Hall and Drum N Bass. But this is merely the frame of the music, The canvas so to speak. What makes this album special is what he does with this style. And what he does is takes it and makes it his own.

You won't find the usual soulless uninspired money, guns and Xanax lyrical themes of American Trap music here. A place to stand talks of Reis personal experiences and incorporates Reis Maori heritage and Kiwi nationality. With Kiwi slang and the use of Te Reo Maori, in the form of a deep pitch shifted chanting voice that invokes images of ancient Maori warriors casting incantations. 

The overall production of A place to stand really is world class and I believe Rei as a songwriter, producer and artist could stand toe to toe with the best the world of contemporary music has to offer.

Everything Rei does, from his marketing, his music videos and his music, is well thought out and well crafted. If he was an American artist I'd say that he'd have a record deal with a Major label and a $500k advancement by now. I just hope that being an artist in New Zealand doesn't stop him from reaching his full potential.

You really have to check out  A place to stand to understand why I'm so impressed by this album and I really hope you do. You won't regret it.

Click on the album cover to hear A place to stand on Spotify.

INTERVIEW WITH REI

 

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What drives you to keep on going in the music industry?

The number one drive for me is the fact that I enjoy making music. I have fun when I create and make something out of nothing. I just want the freedom to be able to create as much as possible. To do that, I need to make a living from my music. And I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.

I notice you use marketing effectively. Do you have any advise for indie artists when it comes to marketing their music?

Decide on what type of artist you want to be online. The music/creative side is one thing but deciding on what you want your image to be is important as too. It could just be you, the honest you, in which case you wouldn’t need to be very careful with social media marketing. You can just post whatever you want when you feel like it. Others may want to have a more crafted brand, which is when you’ve got to be careful about what you post. It all comes down to what you want to get out of music really. Self promotion is hard, but it’s not meant to be easy. Most of the richest people in the world are self promoters. They’re people who have learnt Sales techniques and learned how to present themselves. Do what you’ve got to do really.

Who is Rei as a Hip-Hop artist?

The idea of rangatiratanga is central to both myself and my music. I want people to feel like chiefs when they listen to my music. I want them to know that they can be chiefs of their own environments also. When I call myself a chief in my music, I’m only trying to be a chief of my own destiny. Most of my songwriting comes from this kaupapa, and the various struggles and victories that come my way as a young man chasing his goals. So yeah, my music is grounded in where I come from and my surroundings. I love music where you can listen to it, and identify where it’s from. That’s why I use Te Reo, kiwi slang and kiwi references in my music. I want people to know where it’s from. At the same time though, you want to keep that mass appeal.

When did you start and what inspired you to make music?

I started making music when I was 13, I picked up my mum or dad’s guitar and just started writing songs with the 3 chords I’d leant. I wrote about 5 tracks, recorded them on a burnt CD and gave it to whānau as a christmas present. After that I downloaded Mixcraft on my Mum’s computer and just started making beats and rapping. The freedom that creating allows inspires me to make music. I can literally write a song about whatever I want, whatever I’m thinking about. That’s dope.

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

CHIEF Sound.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

I’m probably most proud of Mix at the moment. It’s my favorite from the album at least. It’s a real personal track, resonates with me big time every time I listen to it. Hope it helps other people out too. I also like the fact that it’s an acoustic song on the middle of a Hip Hop album.

Do you produce your own beats or do you use any particular beat maker?

I produced the album myself. I’ve been making beats for about 10 years now, and have been rapping for just as long. I produce best when I’m in the comfort of my own home and there’s no pressures around me. If I’m producing at a studio, it feels like I’ve got to come up with something great then and there. At home though, I can feel free to make something stupid, knowing that no one will ever hear it if I don’t want them to. This album was produced at my home studio. It was mixed and mastered by Chris Chetland of Kog Studio. He’s an awesome engineer to work with and always takes the time to teach his clients various tricks and tips of the trade.

What's your favourite and least favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture?

My favorite thing about Hip Hop is the fact that it is a music for change. It has always been a voice for the voiceless, for minorities, for people wanting to see change in the world. The thing I don’t like is the fact that people outside of Hip Hop still have this negative perception about it, that’s all about money, drugs, sex etc. That perception is wrong, but it still gets played out for some reason.

Tell us about your latest single and music video? Deep is the latest single from the album. The song is all about a pillow talk between lovers, where the girl wants to go deep emotionally, but her partner is just looking for a physical connection. We thought it would be cool to take this concept literally and shoot the whole thing underwater, so we did that. It was pretty challenging, but I’m happy with what we ended up with.

What advice would you like to give to other aspiring rappers/producers? ‘I tell em all chief in your day to day, you can really get it if you want it’. That’s a line from one of the off cuts of the album and I believe it. Keep backing yourself 100%, be the chief of your own future, and you’ll get to where you want to be.

What can we expect to see from you over the next year? Few more videos, another album, lots of shows, some shows overseas, more collaborations. Good times ahead.

GRVY Lick 'o' The Spoon.

 

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GRVY is Laz Karaka and Mr Pianoman. They’ve just released a 5 song teaser for their forthcoming album called Lick of the spoon. Meant as a taste of things to come this is LAZ at his most current and creative.

The rest of the album will have to wait. But the five song EP is definitely cool. On one hand, they offer really funky vibes and on the other competent Trap. LAZ delivers in his youthful manner about love and relationships and the ups and downs of life. Keeping his up beat flow on point and bright at every moment. He’s a respected battle rapper and artist in his own right and has always had my respect as a true talent. 

LAZ has a nice clarity to his raps on this record and hooky moments like Good Girls shows his diversity. He brings it hard on these tracks until easing into the warm waters of some slow R & B Piano from Mr Pianoman and the insanely catchy and enjoyable chorus of Love Boat. Which struck me as a mature analysis of love and life. LAZ and Mr Pianoman lend a certain sophistication and loungyness to this record and I'll tell ya the swag is heavy on this one.

The Trap and Dance hall of Put It On De Fyah is for me the highlight of the teaser. A really exciting song with loads of super current Trap vibe. Probably the nicest Trap I’ve heard from A Kiwi artist. The Ragga hook constitutes brilliance and is insanely smokey and cool and brings in the elements of Jamaican music beautifully to this superbly crafted song.

I was thrilled to hear there was new music to be honest. I’ve been waiting on some LAZ for a minute now. So myself and all his fans and supporters are happy to see him back in the booth…. with the heat turned way up and Mr Pianoman at his side.

Need I say more  This is a dope release… I would say prepare to become a fan.

So what you waiting for grab it before your computer crashes.

INTERVIEW WITH ALPHA

 

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Alpha AKA Angus Grace is a Hip-Hop artist I've known from the Auckland Hip Hop scene for a few years now. 

He's the kinda artist that works hard and takes every opportunity to perform and spread that good good.

I remember seeing him at cypher nights were he would absolutely shred the mic with some of the fastest rapping I've ever heard. But he's diverse too and knows that the message is important so equally kills it on the slower mid tempo raps as well.

I really just wanted people to get to know him even better and give them the opportunity to enjoy some of his new music. So I hit him up with some questions.

 

Who is Alpha as a Hip-Hop artist?

 

Just a horie tryna tell everyday stories dat relate 2 every1.

 

When did you start and what inspired you to make music?

I started back in college wit school bands and wanted 2 pursue more after leaving school, what inspired me was family bein so musically talented that i decided 2 make somethin happen 4 me

 

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

I would describe my music as "RUGGED".

 

What sets you apart from other acts/groups?

 

Wot sets me apart from every1 else is havin 2 speak my mind/ truth and something dat radio music isnt doing nowadays.

 

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

 

I would say "Hori Life" because it has so much truth about my culture that i've even been through it myself. It has elements containin tha life of a hori and hori's get up 2

 

Where do you come from or what part of NZ do you represent?

 

I was born in tha rugged streets of northcote and raised in tha hori enviroment of opotiki, but i represent Aotearoa as 1.

 

Do you produce your own beats or do you use any particular beat maker?

 

I make ma own beats but i prefer other peoples beats instead.

What's your favourite and least favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture?

My favourite thing in hip hop is having 2 connect with others that have tha same passion as well as tha skill, my least fave would be rappers who have no passion at all and only want it 4 tha fame.

Tell us about your latest release.

 

My latest release was my 1st mixtape dat i had just put out recently (march 1) in my career of 6 years bein in dis game properly and im excited 4 the next projects comin soon.

 

What advice would you like to give to other aspiring rappers/producers?

 

My advice is always keep it humble but deadly wen it comes 2 puttin in the work. And let your integrity guide you 2 your direction cos action speaks louder dn words.

 

What can we expect to see from you over the next year?

Expect the unexpected.

 

Go like ALPHA MUZIC on Facebook to keep up to date with his live shows and releases. Here

 

Click on the picture below to check out the fantastic latest release and free give away  Tha Re-Up Rough Rugged & Raw volume 1

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Holiday By Earth Tiger

 

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Earth Tiger creates songs that swirl together the electrifying textures of hip-hop, big pop, rock and electro dance music into a brand-new sound. Masterminded by artists Cruz Mathews and Tom Taylor, the group spins out clever lyrics, infectious hooks and energetic, inventive grooves that intertwine with bold bass and playful synth layers. 

 

Earth Tiger was dreamed up around a campfire on Christmas Eve in New Zealand, when friends Cruz Mathews, a songwriter fresh out of the Gold-selling New Zealand group Kidz In Space and Tom Taylor, decided to turn their shared passion for ‘90s and ‘00s hip hop into an musical collaboration.

 

Their debut album titled Holiday has arrived just in time for summer and has already seen their single Lucky ones added to Flavor and ZM playlists.

The songs on the album are masterfully crafted with spacious sound scape's that utilise sparse, bass heavy beats. Each instrument occupies its own space in the sonic frequency spectrum giving Earth Tiger a very clean sound and to my ears a tell tale sign of skilled and experienced producers.

Cruz Matthews is from Hip Hop group Kidz in Space and you can hear the similarities in the songwriting. The style of rap is modern with trap influences, occasional low pitched vocals, pre trap triplet flows reminiscent of Flow Rider, a swag in the vocals reminiscent of LMFAO and a foe American accent. If I could be so bold I would describe it as Hipster Hop.

The lyrics are often gritty and raw which helps to balance the overtly pop orientated formula of the songs and keeps the music in the Hip Hop genre while really making the most out of their accessible radio friendly sound. I think these guys understand whats expected of them from Move The Crowd Records, Warner Music and "radio land" and are going to hit a bulls eye with radio listeners. This is a rare quality indeed and no doubt was knowledge that was hard earned.

Over all this album is a great listen and kept my mind ticking away as I listened to its intricacies in the music and lyrics. I really liked Kidz In Space and although Kidz In Space probably appealed to the more rugged Hip Hop heads. I think this album is set to hit a wider audience and a more lucrative market for Earth Tiger.

 

Check out their music video Lucky ones which might just be your new summer Jam for 2017.

 

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