Interview with Hamza

To hear how Hamza raps is to hear how Hamza speaks. “That’s what I pride myself on, not trying to be anyone else but me. So if you listen to my songs you’re like “Oh, that’s Hamza.”

Born in Bankstown to parents who migrated from Pakistan, he moved to Liverpool early on and calls it home to this day. Growing up, travelling through Glenfield and Panania to get to school in East Hills, the more Western influences of his life outside of home were very different from those at home. “There was those two worlds. I would always go outside of home – Boom, it’s like a different personality.”

Original artworks by Hamza.

After getting love on his first official release, he made the excellent “Trash and Treasure” EP as a major work for his Fine Arts degree – combining his passion for music with his love of painting and graff by creating visuals to accompany the four-track project. Continuing to sharpen his sword, 2020 saw the release of two singles: ‘OG + Guava’ and ‘Scarface’ (the latter of which was crowned the sixth Australian best rap song of the year by one of the nation’s most esteemed publications.) It also saw the release of the ARS-CoV-2 virus, which would leave Hamza stuck at home with nothing to do but bang out a project.

From this period came Hamza’s biggest project to date: an EP titled ‘Conference of the Birds’, released in April. Across the seven tracks, Hamza infuses his cultural heritage into his distinctly Western Sydney raps, presenting the experience of a modest weed dealer through the lens of his Islamic spirituality. He refers to cops as shaitan (demonic spirits in Islamic belief), wears his Black nikes while making dua (a prayer of supplication or request from God) and likens the hiding of his face to a hijabi. The references to Islam and Arabic terms can give mythological significance to, say, the battle against the pigs in blue, or it can serve as a reminder of the insignificance of the dunya (i.e. the temporal world) he must navigate before receiving eternal life in the hereafter.

In lieu of traditional narrative, Hamza fills out his raps with little details – like the Hot Star fried chicken in his hand, his Calvin undies, and the bong in his car’s cupholder – that create a full, recurring picture of a never-ending paper-chase. Moving swiftly through moments and thoughts, and returning to motifs like watching for cops, there is no sense of chronology to the events unfolding as there is no distinguishing one day from another – it’s all one long night on the M5. On the second-last track ‘Ringtone’, he sounds like Sisyphus if he was pushing packs instead of a boulder: “Reload the pack, making it back, making the dosh, it never stops”.

Hamza’s ancestral influences are presented in a mix of references to all the other things swirling around his brain – Picasso, Dali, Hot Star, Gong Cha, Mabo, Bradman – to stamp exactly who he is onto a track with a rapping style that values saying cool shit in a fresh, unique way. Take a bar like “Check Waze for shaitan”. Four words, unlike anything any rapper has ever said on a track.

On this EP, his lines are often stretched out or spaced apart – putting each bar into focus – but these slower flows are usually paired with venomous delivery. The opener “Grub” strips back the drill formula into a sparse, lo-fi beat that feels more like some grimy boom-bap than it does drill.  The most explosive round in the clip, ‘Section 10’, is saved for last. With a beat that feels like it’s on a path of destruction, it’s a song made to set off mosh pits and is the best showcase of Hamza’s impressive command of his voice and his growing arsenal of dope, signature ad-libs (e.g. “Oiii”, “Crackaaa”).

Hamza is DIY to the core – producing, mixing, mastering and handling his visuals himself – has zero bad songs and sounds like no one else. He’s kept up his hot streak since ‘Conference of the Birds’ with two more great tracks: ‘Dunhills‘, that received an equally great remix from SOLLYY, and ‘Opal‘.

We met up earlier in the year, on his 24th birthday, to talk about his new project, his first exposure to hip-hop through a D12 CD, balancing his Western and Pakistani identities in his music, Islam in hip-hop, shuffling at lunchtime, his unorthodox creative process, working with SOLLYY and Murli, what needs to be change in the Australian rap scene and more. I can’t thank him enough for being such a great interviewee and for volunteering to provide the incredibly dope artworks for this piece.

Could you tell me a bit about the new EP Conference of the Birds?

Yeah, so… where do I start bro? Started last year, I reckon as soon as we went into lockdown. I was kinda at the stage where I was trynna network with other people. Other producers who I thought we’d work well together, but it just got to a point where I was sick of waiting on cunts. I thought fuck it, ceebs. It’s lockdown, I’m here by myself, I’m just gonna go hard.

I started with the track Grub and after I made that, I knew where I wanted to take the project. I wanted to tie in a lot of my cultural heritage and where my family came from. So, through samples, even just through like colloquial terms and Arabic words. Just references like that. Tie those two worlds of East and West together. 

I ended up making twelve-thirteen tracks, in that six-seven month period, that I was properly happy with. And then the next five-six months was just me fine detailing and cutting it down to seven tracks, cause I’ve never been one for a project with fifty tracks. It feels like a waste to me, every song and every word, every moment, should have meaning.

Can you tell me about the title?

A couple months before it came out I was just doing heaps of research and I came across this book called Conference of the Birds. It was a 14th century Sufi poem. Sufi Islam is really big in Pakistan where I’m from. And it’s a mad mystic, spiritual form of Islam. And then on top of that, the story that it was telling was someone’s tale to find themselves and someone’s journey to find enlightenment for themselves. So, I thought it fit perfectly. It’s a direct quote from the Qu’ran, it has pop cultural heritage and all those connotations tied to it, plus it just fit the theme of everything I wanted to go for. 

That is one of the most notable things to me and one of my favourite things about it is how you use language from the Qu’ran. Stuff like “check Waze for Shaitan”.

That’s what I love doing, merging those worlds. Checking Waze is something so mundane and ordinary that we do on the everyday, but then combining it with this word that has connotations in the Arabic world and biblical allusions.

I’ve always been super inspired by Pusha T and people who just write simple but with so much depth. So every time you listen to the song, you hear a new meaning in the line. It’s not trynna have the most complicated bars. I don’t give a fuck about that.

Yeah and it’s not narrative necessarily.

Exactly.

But with your shit there’s so much detail that you get a full picture even when it’s not a story being told.

100%, yeah. When I’m writing, it’s not even like okay, I wanna make this song because I wanna make a fucking love song about some cunt who just broke up with his girlfriend or whatever. It’s just anything that comes to my head.

Are there any other artists you’ve found that mix in references to Islam?

It’s tough, bro. There’s always been artists that mention it. Even Nas. He kinda mentions it in Illmatic. Certain little moments. I grew up loving Lupe Fiasco and he’s like the main one. He would always incorporate his sense of religion or Arabic words or stuff like that within his music. I remember hearing Food and Liquor for the first time. One of my best mates when I was young was the biggest hip-hop head, so we shared a lot of moments where we were just sharing music. And he showed me Food and Liquor when I was super young. Probably only like 12, 13. And just the production, the way he tells stories. It’s like, it’s a different level. I just fell in love with it. You don’t see rappers portraying that image of just, y’know—it’s just always flashy shit. This and that. He was kinda taking a different route and I connected with that. I was never one for all the flashy shit.

Nowadays, a few people do it. Even in the UK scene a lot of people kinda incorporate their religious influences. Even in drill, I hear it sometimes. Freddie Gibbs, I’m sure he does it in a lot of his music. But, I’m glad that more rappers are kinda finding that world.

Yeah, because like you say, Islam is definitely a big part of hip-hop history, but it’s often from the Nation of Islam or the Five-Percenters background.

Yeah, exactly.

This more Sufi Islam is definitely more rare.

Hard, right! And then when it comes to having a role model, right? So when I’m growing up, you don’t see a Pakistani musician. My first introduction to hip-hop was, I bought a D12 CD. And I was like “Holy shit, what the fuck is this?” I was playing it on my Walkman like “This is fucking nuts”. So there was those two worlds. I would always go outside of home—Boom, it’s like a different personality. It’s like a double identity type of thing, you know? I’d have my mates, I’d have my kind of Western identity. Like, it’s not cool to speak your own language when you’re growing up but then when you get home, you have this whole different world that no one even sees. So it’s about sharing parts of both, cause they both made up who I am.

No description available.
Hamza in Marrickville, by me.

Was music an important part of your household growing up? What sort of stuff was that?

Not really, bro. I didn’t grow up with any instruments. The only exposure was just through the TV. My parents would have foreign channels set up. Like a big fuck off satellite outside our house and you’d get all these Indian and Pakistani and Middle-Eastern channels and it’d just be playing random shit. So a lot of those harmonies and vocals and all that classical Punjabi stuff just stuck in my head. But then it wasn’t until we were on our way back from Pakistan and my parents said to my brother and I:  “Alright you guys can buy one CD each.” So, we’re in the store like, “Fuck, we’re about to buy CDS. This is crazy.” And I just saw the D12. I saw the Old English font, the D12, I saw all of them standing there in black. I was like “This is hard as fuck”. I don’t know what it was, I was just like, yeah I’m getting it.

Then after that, one of my best mates in school growing up was a massive hip-hop head. His mum just played random shit. It started off with Prince and then, like, Alicia Keys and all this random shit and then eventually got into hip-hop. And then we just started sharing, like, Lupe, Nas, Wu-Tang. We loved Wu-Tang Clan. Just because it was so different and gritty. And then yeah, it was just Limewire days. As soon as you got Limewire, you’re on there trying to find songs. Akon and shit.

So, nothing really at home, and then in high school, I started to get deep into hip-hop and stuff. And then into a lot of King Krule and all that kinda grungey, indie, more alternative shit.

I can hear King Krule on some of your SoundCloud demos where you’re singing a bit.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that shit, bro. Still to this day, I’m bumping King Krule. When I listened to King Krule’s album for the first time – Six Feet Beneath The Moon – and albums like Wu-Tang – 36 Chambers and MF DOOM – Madvillain. Those albums changed my perspective on music, cause I grew up only having these small flashes of what Western music is and this and that. Then once I heard these albums that are really like the underground hip-hop scene, I’m like fuck. You don’t have to make music like this. You don’t have to have like a chorus, a verse, a chorus. You can just have three minutes of samples playing out and then just spit fucking twelve bars and then the song ends. And that stuck with me. I was like, bro, I don’t have to make music regular. I can just make it however the fuck I feel like it.

And then, growing up, I started skateboarding. So that was a massive influence on the whole punk, hip-hop culture. So, I take em both kinda the same. Skateboarding is as much a form of expression as music is.

Was there always hip-hop going around when you were skating and around those people?

Yeah, so there was like hip-hop—aw, back in the days it was more like Green Day and AFI and shit, you know? Cunts full emo trends and shit like that – goth cunts. But you grow out of that shit.

I feel like skaters got around Odd Future and that was when people got back into hip-hop.

Yeah, hard. That was in high school hard, right?

Yeah.

Cause I had those infuences, like that punk shit, then also like Odd Future and Earl Sweatshirt and then just doing different shit. But yeah, I’d say my main exposure to hip-hop wasn’t until I got into high school. 

But even then there was influences from all over, like hardstyle. We were always into like shuffling, hardstyle, fuckin… like, we had this place in school. It’s a little overhang, where people would just set up and then just shuffle all fucking lunch. Seriously *laughs*. Just be shuffling, lad. Then I’m like, bro what is happening?

Was there much Aussie rap going round at that time?

Here and there. See, it’s weird bro, cause most cunts didn’t like Kerser and shit back then. They would hate on him.

For sure.

For like, putting on an Australian accent. And I wouldn’t bump his music religiously but I could still appreciate it. One thing I always stayed true to is I always used my own accent. My mate, we both started recording around 13, 14. And he’s rapping in an American accent. And the first time I recorded, I rapped with this American accent and I’m like “What the fuck is this?” So I’m like nah, I can’t do this. And this is like at 14, but I was self-aware enough to be like no, I can’t put on something that’s fake because then once people hear me talk, they’re gonna be like “What the fuck? He doesn’t even talk like that.”

But when I was in high school, people loved Nter. I went to school in Panania, so there were a lot of lads. Every day at the station, it was like “ABK225 cunt”, Kerser, Nter, Skeaz Lauren, all these cunts, a lot of the lads loved them. I kinda got along with everyone. Lads, Lebos, all the boys, right? But, I wasn’t a massive fan of Aussie hip-hop and it’s cause I didn’t hear the stuff I wanted to hear. And that’s why I’m making the music now, cause I’m making the music I want to hear in the scene.

So were you making what was essentially Aussie rap before you liked it that much?

Yeah, exactly, right? I wasn’t listening to any other Aussie rap. I was just making music that I liked in my voice, which happened to be—like, I was born in Bankstown, born in Australia and I’m fucking Australian. So, that’s my voice and my story to tell. But nah, I didn’t grow up listening to Aussie rap like that. I remember people always bumping it at lunch time, like Nter, Skeaz Lauren. We were pumping durries on the oval behind the art block, someone would be playing Kerser in the background. But yeah, I was definitely more influenced by US/UK stuff when I was younger. Like I said, Lupe Fiasco was one of my favourites.

Yeah and I think that is pretty common these days for rappers of this current generation.

100%. Like, Hooligan Hefs, right? He releases these hardstyle rap tracks. But, when I was in high school, Kerser did the same thing. And everyone said it was fucking shit. Fair enough, they’re not the same artist but the recipe is exactly the same. So I don’t even think it’s the scene. Like, the scene has changed, but it’s moreso people—the eyes on the scene that have changed more. People’s perspective on Western Sydney has changed. They’ve gone from seeing it as trash to now being treasure. That’s where the name [for the Trash & Treasure EP] came from.

So, when did you start making music?

Oof. Crazy. Like I said, I’d never had a good introduction to music in my household. So, when I made that friend, his aspirations were like ‘I’m gonna be a rapper’, and I didn’t want to be a rapper. I didn’t give a fuck about that shit. I just loved music, I loved hip-hop and we were mad mates and we were just jamming shit. And then, when we were fourteen, we both just started writing lyrics and recording on Audacity and making shit – terrible stuff. It was always just a cool hobby to have, but it was what we lived breathed. Every day, we’d come back from school, share our bars. It was terrible bars, but it was what it was. 

Once I took high school music class in year 10, a couple of my mates taught me how to play guitar. Then, I went to Pakistan with my acoustic guitar for two months, with family, and I just played for two months straight cause there was shit all to do in the village. So, I came back, I was like, I’m really passionate about guitar and shit, and that’s when I started writing music cause I was influenced by King Krule and all these indie, kinda grungey cunts. And I just started writing songs on guitar. I would write bars, but it was much softer music. I would also sing. And then, once I left school and I was all on my art shit and painting and I was at uni and shit, and I just got to a point where I was like I wanna start taking this shit seriously.

What year was this?

2015, I’d say. Then a lot of crazy shit happened in my life. I was all over the place and that, and I just turned to music. I was like, I’m gonna start learning how to make shit properly. So I started off just releasing those random demos on SoundCloud.

To be honest, I reckon it was uni. When I had my graduation, I needed to make a major project. I was like, I could do a little bit of art, little bit of painting, little bit of this and that but I didn’t have anything I wanted to focus on, so I was like fuck it, I’m just gonna do music. So I started playing my lecturer demos and shit. I was like “Yo, what do you think of this?”, he’s like “Yo, what the fuck?” And then it got to a point where I was like alright, I’m gonna do a full video installation, put up some projectors, play my music. And I made that, so that’s where the Trash and Treasure EP came from.

But before that, I’d recorded ‘Limbo’ and I was just showing it to, like, my brother, my girlfriend, all random cunts being like “Yo what do you think?” and they’re like “Bro, this is sick, put it out”. I’m like fuck it. I had no idea how to put out music. So I just signed up to Distrokid, I did some research, I put it out… and a lot of people fucking love ‘Limbo’. Still to this day.

Yeah, that’s still your most streamed song.

It’s so ridiculous, bro! I’m like, okay cool, it’s an alright song but fuck, I’m so much better now, bro. It’s kind of frustrating as a musician like that.  

So are you still going hard with the visual arts as well?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure.

Is it something that you want to keep doing together?

Yeah, for sure. One of the main goals was to combine those worlds, you know? Cause, fair enough you can play a show, or fair enough you can have a show in an art gallery, but, I want to do fucking both at the same time.

So where are you recording these days?

Just at home, lad. In my wardrobe.

That’s the booth?

That’s the booth [laughs].

What sort of gear do you have other than that?

Fuck knows, bro. So, when I first started taking it seriously, I had one of my good mates I grew up with, he studied audio engineering and has all this gear. I was always hitting him up like let’s go record at your’s, but he got mad busy. So, he’s like bro, I have a spare mic and this audio box, or whatever the fuck, and a midi controller – take it. And I just learnt. Like, I don’t know what the fuck I was doing. I still, bro, to this day, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. Proper producers probably watch me produce and be like “what the hell is going on?”

So are most of your beats sample-based?

I’d say 80% of my shit’s sample-based. Only a few songs—like ‘Ringtone’. I didn’t use any samples. ‘Section 10’, I didn’t use any samples.

Where do you go looking for samples? Do you have a method there or is it just shit you hear and you think that’s gonna be a good sample?

Mostly, I’d say YouTube. I just go crate digging but like in a modern way, obviously. So, sometimes, I’ll research like an artist that I want to sample or movements – there’ll be certain musical movements that I wanna grab from. Like, for Pennys In Drains, that sample came from Claire De Lune. You know that super popular piano track?

Yeah.

It’s by a guy named Claude Debussy. That’s his name – crazy name [laughs]. I had loved his music and he makes music that’s not in, like—it’s weird because it’s not in a major or minor key. It’s just atonal – it’s both, and he’d float between happy and sad in a moment. I just heard this one part from Claire De Lune, I was like that’s it – boom.

So have there been any particular artists that have been influencing you lately or just people you’ve been enjoying?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Marley lately. His music, for my soul and shit. But yeah it’s not necessarily hip-hop. There’s another artist called Rodriguez, who’s like old guitar, talk about some dark Detroit drug shit. Random shit. I’d say hip-hop… I was listening to the Ghetts album. It’s a full conceptual piece. And just a very distinct style. I liked the Slowthai album. That shit goes hard. Some really good production on that as well. I really fuck with Kwes Darko’s production.

A fair bit of UK drill would you say?

A little bit, yeah. I used to pump UK drill. I used to always listen to 67 and fuckin’ Millions, SL and all these new cunts. I really like what they’re doing.

Cause I was listening to Grub this morning and I was like, this is kind of a drill song.

That for sure was inspired, yeah. There’s certain things I like about drill that I wanted to take from. So I was like, I really like the way they have these crazy 808 slides like buuhh then wuwoowuwoo. But I didn’t want the t-t-t hi-hats y’know. That’s so typical of drill. Every cunt has that. Fuck it, I’m just gonna leave hi-hats out. I’m gonna make a boom-bap song that sounds drill-ish. And that’s where that idea came from. Even with the bars, I kind of would rhyme less and elongate the bar. You know, “long nights on the M5 with the billy out where the drinks be”, and then that last word for a fucking long ass sentence is the only rhyming word in the next bar. So, yeah, I took a lot of inspiration from drill when it comes to Grub.

So, you’ve never collaborated with any other rappers.

Yeah, not yet.

That’s pretty rare. Is that an intentional thing or just hasn’t happened yet.

I don’t know. Like, I’ve made music with people. Never put it out. I don’t know, I’m really picky. Like, I’m a control freak and that’s why I do everything myself. 

There are a few people I’d love to work with, but when it comes to collaborations it’s moreso the producers. Because they can really hone in and figure out a way for my message to translate to everyone. So, I like working with Sollyy and, you know, there’s sick producers like—you know Domba? He produces for Raj Mahal.

Yeah.

Sick cunt. He makes some bangers as well. But yeah, I’d just say, it’s not my time to make music with other cunts yet. If there’s someone I’d collab with, I’d say it’s Isaac Puerile.

Yeah, oath. He’s one of my favourites.

Mm, he’s a mad cunt.

How did you link up with SOLLYY? Did you know him before music or?

Nah, he just hit me up when I put out Limbo. I started listening to his stuff and I was like fuck, this is different. And then we linked up a few studio sessions. Sometimes got work done, but even ‘Wild West’ – the song I did with SOLLYY – we were in the studio all night. I recorded some other bars to that song, and I was kinda just forcing myself to write. I went home, maybe a week later I listened again – just the beat – and it just came.

But, since then, I’ve only seen him a few times, cause he’s been mad busy, doing bits for everyone, bro. Producing for Fez and every cunt. Yeah, he’s a mad cunt. And he’s so diverse as well. Like, he can do so many different flavours.

He doesn’t really have a sound you can pin down.

Exactly, yeah! He sent me a beat like two years ago that—I told him: don’t let anyone rap on this shit. Cause it’s like a Gorillaz-like, punk-type beat, yeah? But everyone that he’s shown has wanted to sing on it, and as soon as he showed it to me, I’m like yeah I wanna do some punk, talking-yelling type shit on this, and he’s like “Yeah, let’s do that!” Now, it’s been like a year and I still haven’t done it [laughs]. I will do that one day. But I’m telling you, that one would be a radio hit.

So, you planning anymore music videos?

Yeah, 100%. I think ‘Itsha’ will be the next one.

And you’re co-directing with Murli a lot these days, right?

100%. Every video is a mad joint effort. I’ll start off, send him the track, he’ll be like cool, let’s mock-up some shit, and then I’ll go full art-mode and start storyboarding and conceptualising my ideas. Even with OG + Guava, there was this one shot where it’s like a cracked mirror. I told Murli this is a reference I want to directly take. There’s this photographer, her name is Francesca Woodman. She committed suicide at 21. So, mad sad and shit, but she made some crazy photos and I had always loved her art, so I said I want to reference this artwork and make it into a music shot.

Francesca Woodman.

There’s a lot of talk these days about what the Aussie scene should be doing, or where it should be going, how to take it to the next level. Where do you think the Australian scene should be going?

For the Aussie scene, I just want people to be themselves, bro – honestly. A lot of people trynna be something they’re not. Like, people just see whats trending and what’s cool and they’ve been rapping for two weeks and then put out a song and somehow they get fuckin’ fifty thousand views just because they sound like every other clone. So, bruv, I’m over that shit. That’s why I would only collab with artists that I really fuck with. Like, people that are doing their own thing – Isaac, even Genesis Owusu. Like, carving his own lane out, that guy’s been hustling for how long? Finally starting to see the fruits of his labour on an international and national scene, and he’s been killing it for ages. So, I just want to see more people that are just unapologetically themselves. Don’t try and be like this cunt, that cunt, gangster, driller, whatever the fuck you wanna try be. Just let your experiences talk for themselves. Because people might think it’s cool to just make raps about this or that. Like, you can rap about whatever the fuck you feel like.

If we get more support in the grassroots-underground for artists that don’t get as much exposure as they should, that would be good. Because, like, there’s a lot of artists I personally feel that get tons of exposure that are fucking shit.

[laughs] 100%, yeah.

Like, who’s picking these cunts, lad!? Trust me. It’s crazy. That’s why when I saw your list of top fifty songs, I was like fuck, bro. Every song is hard as fuck. You know what I mean?

I’m glad.

Yeah, every list, like… Triple J, what do you call it? Triple J Hottest 100. That shit’s horrendous, bro. Like, fuck, love for playing my music every now and then Triple J, but still, bro, get that shit together.

But that’s Hau though, aye? That’s not even Triple J. Like, Hau’s good, Triple J’s…

Exactly, right? If it wasn’t for Hau, they wouldn’t play my shit. He’s more involved with the grassroots shit and the more underground shit, which is fucking amazing, bro. Shout-out to Hau for giving me that one, two plays on fucking Triple J. Sick cunt. Because who the fuck knows who’s listening in fucking Wagga or Perth or fucking Coober Pedy – who knows, bro?

It feels like it’s pretty hard for a genuinely independent, grassroots artist to just make money right now.

Yeah, it’s tough lad, what do you do?

Cause no one’s buying records…

Yeah. Our generation now is streaming. And streaming doesn’t pay shit, bro. People would make money back in the days by touring and album sales. Who the fuck’s going to JB-HI-FI buying albums? Like, back when I was in high school, kids would rack Kerser from JB-HI-FI – they had to take him off the shelves, cause too many cunts would rack it [laughs]. It’s too funny, bro. Now it’s a different game, bro. Getting on a playlist, getting this, y’know, premiere – whatever? It’s crazy.

Yeah, it’s just the playlists.

They control it, bro, it’s crazy. It’s like a monopoly. Whoever they want to get exposure, they get to choose. Simple as that. But, that’s why I just don’t want to compromise my artistry or my vision for anything like that, cause I know that—I can take Genesis as an example, right? He’s been hustling for years and he’s stayed the same. He hasn’t, like, changed, compromised his vision or his voice. Now he’s up to a point where you can’t really deny that he has a foot in this scene. He has a voice and his identity needs to be heard. Whereas, if you just sell out, cunts will forget you in six months.

Yeah, and that’s it, I feel like there’s not enough people who realise the potential when you do actually carve out your own sound. That’s what Genesis did, but there’s people obviously chasing the American sound – thinking that’s what’s gonna be popular or crossover to America – but it’s like, they’ve already got that. You’ve gotta give ‘em something new, and that’s what Genesis and Tkay Maidza do.

Straight out. Sampa, all these amazing artists, bro.

Yeah, they’re the ones that are poppin’. Not on the radio, necessarily, but, you know, cunts overseas who actually care about music.

Hard, and then if you go to their shows, it’s like a different experience. It’s like they’re combining their culture, their heritage, their art, everything into one. That’s what I mean by merging those worlds.

By George Morris Nagieb.

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