Who is Reubz as a Hip-Hop artist?


I use Hip-Hop as an art of pure expression. Hip-Hop is a gateway where I can freely experiment with sound, lyrics and image and that is why I became hooked on it. I like to see myself as a creator over musician, I find the term ‘musician’ very limiting. Pretty much as an artist, I want to be someone who inspires others. Through Hip-Hop, I want to give something back to the world just like my idols gave to me.


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


Michael Jackson was the catalyst for my love of music. To me, he is the definition of life. It wasn't really just his music.. it was everything. The dancing, the videos, the messages.. Everything he stood for influenced me and I began to experiment with creating my own sounds. I found a strong passion for writing lyrics, but I sucked at singing, it just didn't feel natural. I caught onto Hip-Hop when I was about 16 and became obsessed. I watched Nas, Kanye and Jay Z and these were just the coolest guys I had ever seen. I realized that rap was all about lyrics and image, so experimented with creating my own and for the first time I felt like I found something I wanted to do in my life. Since then I have been constantly studying the rap greats, their techniques, backgrounds, everything. I have a lot to learn but feel that I have got to a point where I can start to put my stuff out there.


How would you describe your music in one sentence?




What sets you apart from other acts/groups?


When I started out, I have to admit I mimicked a lot of my idols. But as I grew I came to discover my own sounds and beliefs, so I think just the fact that my music is a reflection of who I am is what sets my art apart from other acts.


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


 Hmmm.. “Gold” was the first rap I ever wrote so I´m proud of that and the message I put behind it, but I have a track I´m working on at the moment which is one I have sampled and produced called “lost boy” and I think this one will be my best yet, so you’ll have to wait and see ;)


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


Born and raised in Wellington & currently flatting with two girls (dreams do come true haha) in Newtown ;)


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


I am starting to produce my own beats through sampling real old school R&B songs, trying to use traditional methods over the new computer generated beats. There are two really cool producers Ive found on soundcloud named Kev Brown & Lord slick though and I may use some of their instrumentals for future raps.



Whats your favorite and least favorite thing about Hip-Hop culture?


My favorite thing about Hip-Hop culture is that it teaches you to be proud of who you are. It give you strength, confidence & drive. My least favorite thing is lack of originality as a lot of rappers rap about the same thing, so it is really nice when you find something fresh and unique.


Tell us about your latest release.


My latest release is the official music video for my track “gold”. Im trying to build up a name so check It out :)



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


Turn dreams into reality, take risks, experiment, put your stuff out there and most importantly find your unique sound.



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


I am currently working on a 5 track mixtape called “Class of 94”. Ill be publishing it on Datpiff in around 3 weeks time so stay tuned till then. Im also working on a second music video which should be released within the next month.


Check out Reubz brand new video for his song Gold.







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The Arcee L.P is the full length debut release from female rapper Rona Wignall aka Arcee. She describes her style as ''hiptronic'' - a mix of hip-hop and electronica and her album will be launched with a party at Fuel bar in Dunedin on Friday the 14th of August 2015.

The Arcee L.P is a follow up to her 2014 release The Cool Zone E.P and among new music contains all the songs from her E.P including the hot singles and videos Fake Bitch and Go Hard

2015 has seen a new batch of singles added to the mix to make up the full length L.P including the insanely catchy Pepsi and her single Rebound.

Rebound is a jazzy little number that carries the distinction of being picked out by a panel of industry experts for NZ On Air funding.

The L.P is produced by Darryl Matthew Suasua (Daz on the night shift at Flava) and he’s done an impressive job. 

Arcee who was born in Manchester takes inspiration from her Mancunian roots, the soul and style of Wellington, and the down and dirty "scarfie" sound to help mould her style. But It's Arcee's songwriting, pop sensibilities and hooky choruses that make her stand out from the bland and predictable and compliments Suasua's ultra contemporary beat making and production.

I've observed Arcee putting in the hard yards to build a solid fan base for her album debut. She's taken the time to build buzz and anticipation, stretching the release of the album's singles over a couple of years. This appears to have kept her busy with putting on video release parties and events to get her name out there. She's also been involved in battle rap events pitting her skills against other local rappers and has made a name for herself for being a pretty good Keyboard player as well.

Her image is refreshing, I would describe her as a classic "Tom Boy". She's being herself, not over relying on sex appeal like a lot of female artists, but relying more on her talent as a musician and rapper. She seems to have a down to earth "This is who I am" "take me or leave me" vibe about her which I, like many, find endearing and relateable.

With songs like Pepsi and Go Hard, that are made for the dance floor, this album has a really nice party vibe and more than a dash of "girl power'' and is an album I could picture the ladies playing up loud while getting ready for a night on the town.

I really think Arcee and all that contributed to the making of this album have done themselves proud.

You definitely need to get some Arcee in your life.


Check out Pepsi off of The Arcee L.P





Who is Bobby as a Hip-hop artist?

 As a hip hop artist I am someone with a different outlook on music. I tend to think of myself as being unique compared to everyone else. As a hip hop artist I find myself to be someone with a unique story because I have already seen a lot of things in my life. I have seen different religions with people from different parts of the world. All my artistic and creative ability’s come within my soul and is fully real and true to me.

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

I started when I was only sixteen years old not knowing fully what hip hop was but the more I did it, progression started showing. What inspired me the most was the Jerk movement which is a dance and from there I started listening to trap music. 

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

Music from my mind, body and soul.

What sets you apart from other acts/groups?

What sets me apart from other people is my background and story I have. I like talking about being real a lot as well, because I feel that plays a huge part in everyone’s life. Especially knowing the people around you very well. 

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

The one song I am most proud of is called ‘Osiris’. I am very proud of this song because in my verse I talk about so many things that people are afraid or don’t really pay attention to. I talk about the problems that go on around the world and an insight of how I feel towards the world. 

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

I come from Africa Sudan but I am mixed with my mom being from somewhere else. I came straight from Dubai to New Zealand. I represent Hamilton because this is the city I’ve lived in since I came to New Zealand. I feel like there is a lot of potential in Hamilton. 

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

I don’t produce my own beats but I have two particularly talented producers that I work with, who are also close friends of mine. Tony Douglas and Stuss.  

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

The most least favourite thing about the hiphop culture is some people thinking everyone has to be a gangster to be a hiphop artist. Times have changed and that’s not the case anymore. My favourite thing about the hip hop culture is evolution and the amount of people breaking boundaries in the game. A lot more people around the world are getting into hip hop music and the culture is growing in New Zealand.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release was my BSELF ep produced by Tony Douglas. BSELF basically means be yourself which is simple. It’s a five track EP and it’s my first full project I have released.

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

The advice I would give all artists out there is don’t worry about what people say keep pushing in what you believe in. You will eventually get better at it. Be true to yourself while you do everything as well. Stay true to the people around you. 

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

You can expect something different from the last project, again everything from my mind, body and soul. 


Join Bobby on Facebook


Check the Twitter page.


Check out Bobbys Mix Tape BSELF






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T.13 aka Ryan Lovins is best known as one half of the Hip-Hop Group PHD, formerly known as Pot Heads. He's recently released his debut solo album Good Things Take Time.

His group PHD are in my opinion, the hardest working Hip-Hop group in New Zealand and over a career spanning 10 years they have released 10 albums. So you can imagine how fitting in a solo album in the midst of this work pace would be a challenge. The project took 5 years to complete and like the album title would suggest, it took time and it is definitely a good thing.

T.13 is a skilled lyricist and rapper and one hell of a songwriter. The 15 track album as you would expect, is similar in sound to PHD and features band mate Anime producer Zone One, and DJ Jimmy Handtrix who are all regulars on previous PHD releases.

The album has two singles Momentum and Falling In Reverse, that sport slick music videos and showcase T.13's natural charisma and ability as a performer. You only have to see T.13 perform live to see he's a showman through and through. His ability to connect with the audience with his music and his signature chant "New Zealand Hip-Hop" is unrivaled in the Auckland underground scene and has seen his group PHD open for the likes of Mobb Deep, Tech N9ne, RA The Rugged Man, Dizzee Rascal, Dead Prez, Lupe Fiasko and many more.

The album has a bunch of features on it with artists such as Teezee, Pakkz Tha General, Baliztik, Genocide, Lapse, and the track Blazing Trees features an impressive line up of local rappers  4sayken, Illa Myke, Tokie Konez, Anime, Lapse, LAZ, Teezee and True who together along with T.13 fall under the crew banner THC or The Hydra Collective.

I liked the darker more aggressive joints on the album like Demon In The Vapour which is a song about the evils of Meth and Fxck a Hook 2 which has a huge trap beat and some fantastic double time flows. This track goes off live and gets the crowd jumping.

You can buy hard copies of the album, downloads and T.13 merchandise from bandcamp and also check out the PHD website for some amazing free music opportunities.


Check out the music video for Momentum 


Check out the music video for Falling In Reverse




I caught up with Tihei Harawera on the PTG Code radio show on Rep FM where we both were guests. He had a CD he was selling for $10, so I asked him If I could have one to review. I'd seen Tihei a couple weeks before at a Cypher evening at Ironbar on Karangahape Road and heard his freestyling. That night on the PTG Code radio show hosted by rapper Pakkz Tha General he freestyled for over half an hour. Tihei who is the son of ex Mana party leader Honi Harawera has a love for freestyle that is insatiable. He will ask for a subject then incorporate the subject into his freestyles. The guy can go for ever. In fact you may have to pay him to stop. You might catch Tihei in Auckland City or at the Otara markets busking and selling his CD titled Tihei 'For the fans'.


I checked out this 6 track EP, which has an old school feel to it. It reminded me of golden era Hip-Hop like LL Cool J, Eric B and Rakem and Tribe Called Quest. The tracks 'Thinking of a plan' and 'Interlude' have a Jazz infused loungy feel reminiscent of Tribe Called Quest. Track number 2 titled 'Southside' is more modern sounding however and is a little more hard edged than the rest of the EP and for me was the stand out track. The song 'Love' had a really nice hook on it too.


You wont find any tech raps, tongue twisters or multi packed rhyming on this release. Tiheis raps are simplistic but he uses what he has to full effect and his flows are on point.  Tihei raps in an American accent which is always a point of contention with critics. Although he does make a lot of references about New Zealand and where he's from. His guest MC's Lil Steve, Odee1 and Lacroix however rap in their own accents which kind of makes Tiheis use of an American accent stand out more.


Tihei's subject matter is about keeping it real. His love for South Auckland and its area codes. His achievements of opening for Afrika Bambata, studying at MAINZ, and his haters and fans. The production of the EP is on point and the bottom end has a nice punch to it. The Beats compliments of Selecta Kram are skillfully crafted and really make this EP what it is. The 6 songs go together nicely and over all this was a good listen. I left it in my car stereo for the day and listened to it several times in a row.


Tihei is a likeable character, humble and down to earth and he works very hard at his craft. His rapping and freestyling abilities are undeniable and I'd have to say he's one of the best freestyle MC's I've ever heard.  So If you see Tehei busking and you get an opportunity to pick up 'For the fans' then do it because it's definitely worth the $10.


Check out the music video for 'Thinking of a plan' off of 'For The Fans' by Tihei.





Today on ‘The Rap It Up’ blog I interview Rahul Mukund one of New Zealand’s most notorious battle MC’s. Rahul aka XCeeD is a kind of "super villain", if you will, of the 1 outs battle league. Famous for crossing lines no sane man would dare to cross and most notorious for stepping on the Samoan flag in a battle with a big Samoan battle M.C named Krude.

XCeeD who has been involved in physical altercations with offended opponents before has been in the spotlight again for touching on an extremely sensitive subject of the unfortunate death of a fellow rappers twin babies. The ability to offend hardened battle rappers is a feat in its self but this particular “personal” at The '1 Outs' 'Face The Hate Two' event hit such a raw nerve with the crowd of fans, that he was attacked shortly afterwards by enraged punters.

XCeeD is from Aucklands suburb of Mount Roskil and is of Indian descent. He is one of the more active MC’s in New Zealand and the gutsy but slightly built rapper is known for putting himself in the most precarious and dangerous situations for his art with battle lyrics packed to the brim with acidic witt and cutting personals. 

I wanted to find out more about XCeeD, his side of the story and find out what else he’s got in store for New Zealand Hip-Hop.


Tell us about the music you're working on?

Whats up? The music I am working on is mainly all singles. I have an array of records for all kinds of people from the mainstream to the underground and right in the middle where people from all parts can actually have some relation.  Ideally each record that I have made so far has been more for the mainstream audience. Albeit I would never lose touch with the underground roots and hence why my latest single "Follow You" depicts a far more somber and restrained beat where I could just let go. The idea for that song was a relationship that ended sourly. I wanted to take the perspective of an ex boyfriend who turned into a stalker and could not let go of his ex girlfriend. In contrary I have songs which are about relationships such as ‘Poison Arrow’ and further unreleased material (which may not see the light of day) where I felt I had to write about anyone out there who felt they were in a bad relationship. I used my own personal experiences and stretched ideas in contrast to make the listener feel like he/she was in the passenger seat listening to a real life experience where they also could relate. 

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

When you ask me If I produce beats? Yes I Produce beats I take what I have hummed or recorded on my phone and play this entirely back to my amazing set of engineers who bring everything to life. So technically yes I am producing but I am not behind the boards as such. I prefer to use classic instruments and avoid sampling as much as I can. I call myself organic.

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

There are a few songs I am proud of. I think my main single which I am promoting right now ‘Poison Arrow’ would be one. It mixes truth and also fantasy in a way I felt I executed perfectly. There are songs that no one has heard yet that I feel would top that. The reason being, its all life experience. I feel relationships with any human is something anyone can relate to and how you feel in that particular time frame. Each song for me is like a book, once read its either recommended or not. And with 'Poison Arrow' I felt I could pen my feelings through anyones relationship and people could relate to it. All relationships sell. Its something most common to all. The other song which has not been released titled 'Weight Of the World' was another song which I felt I could relate to myself after writing to it and ‘Magical Reality’. I just wrote about the frustration of procrastination, the idea of feeling like you are somebody but yet you are nobody. being a tear drop in an ocean of Hip-Hop. 

Ideally each song I write I want to inspire people who feel there is no escape from this concrete reality society sets us. Relationships, heartbreak, lies, deceit, anger, seeing whack as fuck rappers on TV hearing them on radio and you know yourself you are better. Resonating with them. The boiling fucking pain you feel when you know each record you make needs to break. 

How does XCeeD as a recording artist differ from your battle rap persona? 

HAHAHAHA great question. 

I feel that my motivation right now is in music. I took a break from battling as the scene in NZ is pretty pathetic but hey look everyone has an opinion and no one needs to agree with me on it. There is a huge huge difference which I also battle with while making records and battling as such. When I used to battle (also coming from my recent battle) I couldn't give a fuck who I offend and its a battle. Names are used, personals are used. Win or lose its something that I will always take. But the thing is I never lose as there is always a lesson learned in everything. My objective in battle rap is obviously like any other battle emcee- to destroy your opponent and say the worst thing possible and its not just shock value for me. What I feel like saying I shall and will say and stand by my words in that ring. But battles only appeal to a certain target market compared to say song writing and making music. I think the transition of doing both is like an author writing Horrorcore books and kids novels. You are comparing an apple to an orange. Music pays, (but nowadays battles pay too) When I make records, I aim for the main audience who don't watch battles and fuck with music. Who want to just escape reality for that split second or minute and feel that someone out there is making music which resonates with them. Not everyone can relate to battle rap. But Battle rap is such that its a quick means of getting exposure if you are dope. When I step into the ring I want to pack my multis punches 2-4-6 bar set up as much as I can. When I Song write i want to make it as easy for the listener depending on who I am targeting. A underground ‘head’ doesn't wanna fuck with a song about a relationship and wants to hear 'bars' where I want to pack it up per beat. Then I have songs where I want to reach out to an audience adding bridges and hooks to raise the roof and be completely different to any emcee that makes music in this country. 

Hope that answers your question.

What sets XCeeD apart from other New Zealand battle rappers? 

I have no feelings and i don't give a fuck. I would say much more but I would rather refrain. But people are doing their thing. Love me or hate me. Say what you want about me. But my numbers will never lie. And for the delusional minds that say 'battle rap is not about views' then please stick your head up your ass and don't bother getting on social media sites promoting your battle. Being the 2nd most viewed battle rapper in the country apart from others says a lot. I respect a lot of the new emcees. The people who I have lost to as well. It’s a real learning curve. There are some real hot emcees out there who drop some absolute gems which I feel don't carry weight (which i wish they did) But somehow I push through. Battles now are like an entertainment channel. People want to see who and what you are. Its almost a character you take home or become a house hold name. The amount of times I have been overwhelmed by people asking me for photos and things is a fantastic feeling which not many can experience. I think being the most hated has its benefits. I think NZ is very primitive in their battle leagues and I don't see myself succumbing to that level ever again. Its a sad thing. But i think my view counts should last me for a while and I only wish for the best, to be the best and my persona is like no other. I definitely think I got my popularity from NZ battles in the first place. I feel like Onyx from Pokemon.

Were you expecting the reaction you got from the “dead babies” line?

Funny you ask me that. I feel that line would sink in perfectly with my round 2 but expected that rough reaction. The sad part is, It was such a huge reaction it fully threw me off  for my following lines. I feel I smoked round 1 and had MSHN easy as hell in round 1 (due to his stumbling and lack of punches) But karma came to get me in that Round 2. That bar was so heavy that people were like "WHAT THE FUCK DID HE JUST SAY???" and that just threw me off so so heavily. I saw faggots like Rizz Kidd trying to edge me on. That threw me off completely and I lost all train of thought and he just WENT INNNN. Which I don't blame him. He saw it as an entire ROUND 2 of a choke and said ‘”fuck this is mine" which is human nature and I would do the Same. So no matter what I would say from that point I think I copped the automatic L. But this is what I mean. USA doesn't ask Iraq what weapons to deploy in a War. Of course in my right mind I would never say anything off the battle scene. I am cool with Mike. But I don't think after this he would be and I couldn't care less. The idea was to shock and make sense as it was a round 2 line. But if someone said  something along the lines of 'XCeeD this or XCeeD that" the crowd would inflate with cheers and If i did the same thing it turns into 'fuck this and fuck him' so I feel NZ is quite bias and if people disagree I couldn't care less. I have put in work and done my deeds.  Long story short I expected that reaction but not the fucking rubbish that ensued after.

What are your future plans for battle rap? 

I think you will just have to wait and see. I Will not say anything. Music wise? Keep going till something happens.

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

Favourite thing about Hip-Hop? … Its rap I love rap like anything. Its an escape from reality and keeps me sane on those insane days and without it, I would be playing cricket for some indian cricket club or being an economist for some shit house firm.

Least favourite thing? 

DND and Dontel. (2 pathetic Emcees of this country HAHA) Garbage music.


Check Out XCeeDs infamous battle with Krude.


Check Out behind the scenes footage of the single and video 'Poison Arrow' by XCeeD

Follow XCeeD on Facebook


 Follow XCeeD on Soundcloud










I've been following Ryan Boot aka Ryan HC for a couple of years now and have heard his songs and videos go from strength to strength. So I hit him up for an interview to share him with the world. Meet Ryan HC.


Who is Ryan Boot as a HipHop artist?

I go by the stage name of Ryan HC and just so everyone knows, the H and C are just the first letters of my middle names. No real hard out meaning but i did that because my last name never really felt like it was mine since my dad left at quite a young age and my step father has been there for me. Ryan HC as a hiphop artist, well I want to make music that people like generally and I want to make my friends and family proud of me as well as give advice and tell stories in a catchy way and I think people will start to see more of this when ‘Diary Of Alcohol’ is released.

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

I first started making music only in October, 2013 and by that i mean when i really first started, like the first musically inclined not even a track I ever made, I just rapped over an old freshman XXL cypher beat and just did it for fun and to challenge myself.When I first started I didn’t aspire to be much, I use to sing along and rap to other songs, memorise all the lyrics ect and I thought ‘I can do this’ turns out it was a lot harder than I thought, but i stuck to it and i believe I'm getting better everyday and always learning. You never stop learning. My friends and family now inspire me to make music and I draw from them for inspiration write and create my songs.

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

Stories about my life and a journey

What sets you apart from other acts/groups?

I think what sets me apart is that the people that listen to my music really appreciate it and the messages and stories I tell people can really relate too which is getting harder to find in Hip Hop type of music these days. I don’t talk about guns ect I keep it real.

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

I’d have to say my latest song ‘Lay You Down’ it’s realistically my first song that I have released. The others have been stepping stones on the journey to the mixtape ‘Diary Of Alcohol’.‘Lay You Down’ is currently Number 7 on the audience wildcard chart and the response from fans and friends is just amazing and the support I get because of that one song is truly amazing, my whole group of friends changed their cover photos on Facebook to support me and that means the world to me. Whether it’s 1 person sharing my song or 1000’s I'm grateful for everyone of them and I got a taste of that with ‘Lay You Down’

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

That’s a tricky question for me. I was born in Hamilton but went to boarding school in New Plymouth. New Plymouth is home for me though and everyone who knows me well, knows this and i recently moved back to New Plymouth from Wellington where i was previously living.Half my family lives in Christchurch too so all around New Zealand but to some it up I’m from Hamilton technically but in my eyes I'm from New Plymouth and that’s what I represent.

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

I now produce all my own beats by myself

Whats your favourite and least favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture?

My favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture in New Zealand is how kind of tight the music community is, like if someone is really trying to make music most people know about it and support it which is great. My least favourite thing would have to be the persona people give and this isn’t really common in New Zealand but worldwide international artists mainly act almost as if they’re not normal people anymore. It surprises me when artist show that they are normal people and that shouldn’t surprise me. I’m not sure if many people will understand that but the people who do will agree.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is ‘Lay You Down’ from my up and coming mixtape ‘Diary of Alcohol’.The song is really raw, like I don’t hold back on giving details about my life that others hide and this is going to be a common theme throughout the mixtape. Also its the first time I sang the chorus.A common question I get asked is who it’s about and that’s a hard question for me to answer. I basically based the song on meeting a girl and falling for her. only part that people don’t know is that it’s about more than 1 person, it’s parts of different relationships mixed into 1 song to tell the story of falling for someone.

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

If you want to do something, you can. The only thing stopping you is yourself and I say this a lot when people tell me they want to start up making music. It’s the same as wanting to be a painter, you don’t start off good, you practise and get better till eventually people want to buy your art work from you because they like it. People say ‘aw I want to make music because i really enjoy it but i’m no good at it’ but it’s progress, you don’t wake up one day and magically be good at something. If anyone want to be a rapper, singer or producer or anything I highly suggest trying because you will never know unless you try and that’s exactly what I thought when I started and that’s what I did.

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

Over the next year you guys are going to be seeing a lot. ‘Diary of Alcohol’ will be released as well as a few high quality music video for a couple of the songs off the mixtape. Nothing like I have released so far. Basically this mixtape is going to be the start of the artist I am and hopefully when people listen to it they can relate to it and enjoy it and that is all I want.


Check out 'Lay You Down' By Ryan HC




Connect with Ryan HC on Soundcloud Facebook Twitter and Youtube













Who and what is Saru G? 

I am a political/conscious rap artist. Using rap and hip-hop to expose the greed and the hate, the lies and corruption, that is rife in our world. Rooting out evil and corrupt corporations, one beat at a time.


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

I guess the biggest inspiration for me was my best friend Si. I like to think I have always been a socially and morally aware person, but Si introduced me to the shadow-world of how our planet is being run: Secret societies, corrupt governments and evil, power-hungry corporations. We would regularly catch up for a wine and “herbs” and talk politics and conspiracies whist sharing our mutual love for house, drum and bass and hip-hop. It was probably around mid-2010 that I suggested we release our frustrations by making our own music. Si owned a sound studio (Auckland Audio, now Envy Studios) and was forever mucking around with beats in his spare time. I always enjoyed putting words together and had been a hip-hop junkie since my youth so figured rap was the best way to express ourselves so I started writing and Si started on some beats. Our first efforts were pretty bad, but soon we got the hang of it and the result was our first track, “Trick with your life”. Sadly, Si was lost in a car accident in February 2011, so I inherited some of his recording gear and poured my emotions into my music and have never looked back.


How would you describe your music in one sentence? 

Public Enemy, Immortal Technique and Ghandi all rolled into one.


What sets you apart from other acts/groups? 

The content of my lyrics is what sets me apart from most other acts. I’m not afraid to speak out against injustices or social issues but I still try and offer positive solutions on how to make yourself and the world a better place. I vehemently avoid any music that could be considered mainstream as what I have to say is too important. I have a message that I want people to hear. Even if only one person gets it, I have made a change in the world.


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

“WAR – Not in my name”. This is a collab that I made together with Johnny Black from the USA in support of the “Not in my name” internet campaign that was created to stop the US invasion of Syria. Not only did I make the beat, but I had my amazing cousin Samantha Batchelor’s amazing voice on what I think is a beautiful hook. The lyrics say exactly what my thoughts on war are and the video – which took over 40 hours – shows scenes of war on one screen, split with images of peace on the other. It was well received all around the world and still gets views. And I like to think that since the US never invaded Syria, I had some part to play in that.



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

I’m certainly not your stereotypical rapper that’s for sure. I’m a middle-class white man from Birkenhead, in the North Shore of Auckland. But I am awake and aware and my music comes from the heart.


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

Mostly I make my own beats using editing software at home. I have done a short set with a live band in Kaikoura, which was awesome and definitely something I’d love to do again.

However, I’m always on the look out for new beats and have used tracks from MC Iwi, A.Zee and TTB from Romania.


Whats your favourite and least favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture? 

It sounds funny to say, but the things I like and hate most about hip-hop are its realness and its fakeness. As far as music genres go, there is nothing like rap as a form of true lyrical expression. The formula allows you to pack in way more than any other genre and historically has always been the word of the streets. These days though, hip-hop has been hijacked and subverted by the big media companies to something fake and ugly, where guns, money and bitches are more important than making a positive social statement.

Fortunately these days, the internet has allowed a whole new rebirth of conscious rap where artists can bypass the record labels and still get their message to the world. I like to think I’m part of this revolution.


Tell us about your latest release. 

I have just released my latest track, “Changes”. 2015 has seen a lot of changes in my personal life, but also my personal growth. This song represents these changes and reinforces my thoughts that “You have to be the change that you want to see in the world”. Technically too I am really happy with the flow which is something I have been working on after seeing other rappers in the Auckland scene, but also in the battle-rap scene, where multis and cleaver word-play are the way to get noticed.


With regards to all my releases, I’m not in it for the fame or fortune. I make a track, I uploaded it straight away and make it free for download. Later, when I’ve made a video, I do the same. I don’t currently make albums as I don’t see the need at this stage. I have a message that I want people to hear and the sooner the better.


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

Write what’s real. Write from the heart and be true yourself. That’s the main thing.


But I’ve also learnt from others, that it is a grind but that hard work pays off. Don’t be too cocky, but don’t give up. Get as much exposure as you can and practice, practice, practice. Hard work goes a long way.


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

2015 is my year for change. I’m working hard to boost my exposure and practice my live skills but getting on the mic at open-cyphers or gigs as much as possible.


Musically, I’m really keen to work more with other artists and producers and hopefully some video producers. There is a lot you can do yourself, but so much more can be achieved when you work with others of a like mind.


So this will be a year of preparation and consolidation, the next year I take over the world!



Check out the video for 'War (Not In My Name)' by 'Saru G'



Connect with Saru G on Youtube        Soundcloud      Facebook







Who and what is Matimus?
Who's Matimus?! A 20 year old youngin out the scrub tryna do this thing! Aha I wouldn't say the name "Matimus" is anything special, it's more just an extension of my own name Mat.
When did you start and what inspired you to make music?
This is actually a funny question, becoming a "rapper" was always an idle dream I had in the back of my mind since I was a kid growing up. I was always writing little throw-a-away rhymes and attempting to freestyle years before I even recorded my first track. It wasn't until around 15-16 years old where I really knuckled down and thought about the future and what life holds. So I said to myself "Who cares; we're all going to die someday, why live life normal and dwell on the what if's when you're old, I want to do what I love". Started to record in my bedroom and went from there. Influence wise? I would have to say hip-hop in general, it's been with me for as long as I can remember. Even as a youngin' I had 2 cassette tapes my whole childhood, Major Flavours Vol. 1 and The Rhythm Vol. 8, I think they pretty much set me on the path. Also shout outs to all the greats though, Biggie, Pac, Big L, Nas, Em, Bone Thugs, Wu-Tang, etc, etc, but that's just undisclosed influence for anyone isn't it aha?
How would you describe your music in one sentence?
What sets you apart from other acts/groups?
I hope it's originality. I feel like I'm the only one in New Zealand saying a lot of the stuff I talk about at times. I don't consider myself "boxed in", I'm really trying to broaden my music to not just be "only in New Zealand" but to actually be relatable for the world. At the end of the day, who knows… I'm just one of many out here grinding a lane from Aotearoa hahah.
Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?
Currently? My whole Kiwiana Lifestyle mixtape as a body of work. I made like 2 little mixtapes back in high school that got passed around when I was 17 haha, but I consider Kiwiana Lifestyle as my official debut. Just from the time and effort to create it and finally recording and producing on actual equipment. When I started out with music, I was actually recording on a broken sing-star microphone hanging upside down from a door, coat hanger pop-filter and some simple audio-cut and paste program I got free from the internet, hahaha we all gotta start somewhere, but yeah. Kiwiana Lifestyle is my most current piece/project that I am proud of.
Where do you come from or what part of NZ do you represent?
WANGANUI! Riverrr cittty! MSK! Haha.
Do you produce your own beats or do you use any particular beat maker? If you gander through my Soundcloud and YouTube you'd find some releases where I have used and produced my own beats. I wouldn't say beat making is my forte, but I do enjoy generally creating.
Whats your favourite and least favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture?
Favourite thing? The unity, the diversity of genres and sound just within hip-hop itself. Basically the whole culture. Least favourite thing? Listeners who look down upon the less lyrical rappers, mainly in the Trap genre. Who cares if whatever they're saying is simple and basic, sometimes it's just music, it isn't supposed to make sense, it's about enjoyment and how you feel. I find there are too many who are all about "This isn't real, hip-hop, this isn't real rap, blah, blah" Define "real"? Does everything have to be boom-bap 90's, politics, the struggle and clever wordplay to be classed as real? Otherwise everything would just sound the same... But you know, different ears different tastes. Your least favourite tune is someone else's favourite and vice versa. As for me, I enjoy it all, Big L to Migo's.
Tell us about your latest release.
 I don't really have much to say about Kiwiana Lifestyle as it's a year old, and I feel like I've grown a lot music wise and mentally since then. But if you're down to check it out, check it out. As of now I'm fully focused on my follow up mixtape "Class of 2012". I would say we are sitting at about 80% completion. Other than that, I've dropped 2 songs off Class of 2012 so far, "Secrets" and a video to a track called "G-Boy". I would say those are a good taste test of what's to come next.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring rappers/producers?
I know it may sound corny and you hear this from anyone with a form of success, but honestly… believe in yourself. Back when I was a kid I used to throw off anyone who would say similar things like that. I guess as you get older and follow whatever passion you pursue, you begin to understand the concept of it all. If you're really about it, have the hunger and drive and truly believe; then these things will happen. Success isn't imminent nor easy. There isn't a school for this rap game. To be honest it's down to you and the person who you are, start self doubting and giving up on yourself and I guess it's game over before it begun.
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
XXL FRESHMAN CLASS BABY! Haha nah, I have no idea what to expect. Anything can happen with the universe between now and then, but as for now... the release of Class of 2012 soon. New music, new videos, and shows. Where these NZ promoters at?!? Mess with the kid, you know I got it!

Connect with Matimus of Facebook.







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Reem Nabhani & Liam Dargaville are rap duo HEAVY. Having only been together for a short time HEAVY are blazing an impressive trail, playing 2015’s Chronophonium, Laneway & Splore Festivals. They are currently following up on their 2014 release Tasty with a brand new album called Lock In.

If you took the quirky alt rap vibe of Coco Solid. The down beat slow tempo trippy feel of @peace and the marijuana-centric lyrical approach of Cyprus Hill and mixed them all together with a teaspoon of Gorillaz and a cup of untethered originality you would get something that tastes like HEAVY.

The new album has 12 songs, the majority of them around 2 minutes long. I'm in two minds about this approach. On one hand easily digestible bite sized morsels of music can work really well for rap music. But on the other hand the songs seem to be purposely avoiding any serious use of structure. I could imagine the albums short bursts of music being strung together in a live situation to make a great live set. Although I thought the songs could definitely have been developed a lot more for the album. But what it does give us is a series of taste tests of what HEAVY have to offer.

The way Reem Nabhani’s high pitched aggressive female vocals cut through the bass heavy tracks, the use of pitch shifted vocals and quirky old school video game like synth textures come together to make HEAVY’s distinct sound. Beat maker of the group Liam Dargaville and guest rapper Elvin Alfaro aka LVJ also lend a hand with the vocals and the song Goin In makes nice use of the male and female elements in a trippy @Peace like floaty chorus.

Kush Mansion featuring LVJ is the stand out track for me. Reminiscent of the group Gorillaz the two verse song has impeccable flow and feel and is the track you’ll have on repeat.

To me HEAVY are the hippies of NZ Hip-Hop. They give off a psychedelic hipster kind of vibe with their dress style and musical ambience and this alternative stance is proving alluring with audiences. I heard a couple of people mention them before I was sent the album for review including seeing them on the bill with quirky alt rapper Randa

To keep it simple. I like their sound. I like that they’re on the alternative end of the Hip-Hop spectrum. They’re definitely intriguing and I’m pretty keen to get along to a live show to check them out. If you'd also like to check them out, they have their album release tour happening this May and you can view the tour dates and cities here.

The album is for sale on Bandcamp for an amount synonymous with stoner culture $4.20. So If you’re looking for new stoner anthems this is the place to get em.


Check out Lock In by HEAVY here.