The second Brisbane show at Riverstage is sold out! Sydney’s next, get in quick.
Source: Hilltop Hoods on Facebook
ahhh: You’ve been working hard in the scene for at least 3 years now, you released an LP titled To Be Crowned way back in 2016. How do you look back on that release 3 years on? Do you think your style has evolved over that period?
MC Raj: Yeah bro, ‘To Be Crowned’ was the first lil’ project I put out and my first attempt at getting my music out there. I’m not gonna lie, when I look back at that LP I still think some of the lyrics are some of my best. Some. Definitely not all of them aha. I was really just getting into writing properly when I dropped that, at the time I was trying to find my sound and what style suited me best.
The point of that LP was to show off my versatility from Boom Bap to Grime and Trap. I’ve definitely come a long way since then and personally feel like I have found what styles and sounds suit my flows. That LP is nothing compared to the album I got coming soon.
ahhh: In 2017 you backed it up and released Catch Me If You Can, tell us a bit about that album and what you were trying to achieve by releasing that album? There seemed to be some big boom bap influences on that album
MC Raj: Ayy you have done your research, legend. ‘Catch Me If You Can’ I started working on as soon as I had finished writing the last song from the LP before. I was really tryna get my foot in the door of the Aussie hip-hop scene with this one, tryna make myself recognised. But still staying true to my roots. I started off just freestyling to boom bap beats before I put my pen to pad, so boom bap for me is something that comes easy and sort of just flows because of that.
While I did use boom bap beats for a lot of the songs, I tried to test myself and see how much I could change the flow schemes or speed during these tracks, instead of sticking to the usual bar for bar flow that I used to come with. Ummm, my main influence would just be day to day living my bro. I mean my day to day is probably very different to the average person… but that’s what makes it special in a verse I guess. The ups in life and the downs especially are what helps me write and come up with concepts. At the end of the day, I’m doing this for me, the shit is like therapy. If people like it that’s a bonus.
ahhh: 2018 seemed like a massive year for yourself as a rapper. You didn’t release an album but it felt like you used the year to build a lot of connections and really give yourself a platform to take over in 2019. Would you agree with that?
MC Raj: Yeah brother. 2018 was massive. Mitchos Da Menace, my big brother dropped me into MenaceGvng at the start of 2018 and that turned my life around in terms of Music and the scene in general. I started doing shows with him, backing him up, and doing a couple of my own songs too.
It was really a fuckin massive year bro, from losing friends and family, couch surfing wherever I could, doing dirt that I never saw myself doing to meeting some of the biggest rappers in Australia and some of my biggest inspirations when it comes to writing. 2018 was the worst and best year of my life, real talk. I’ll only ever say I really got into the scene in 2018, before that I was just going on live freestyling and filming off my iPhone doing verses for the people. Besides a few one takes with OneLove. My intention was to drop this Album that I’m about to drop ‘8EEN’ in 2018. Things didn’t go all to plan there, but it has been finished for ages, just have to sort out the bizzo side of things.
aahh: 2019 has continued in pretty much the same fashion as 2018 and you’ve dropped some big tracks such as Real Talk (Rajmix) with BodyBag Media and of course 201MG-RAJXDB which was massive with DB. Why do you think the track with DB connected so well with ya fans and what was the motivation behind that track?
Mc Raj: 2019 kicked off insane. I had a couple lil’ shows with all my 201 and Sickwad brothers in gong. I started seeing a lot more of them towards the end of 2018 and onward. 201MG featuring DB was a sick start to the year, I don’t think either of us was expecting the love that was gonna come from the release of that track.
DB is my brother, love the kent to bits, we had been speaking about doing a track together for ages. One night at Svlty’s house we were pretty deep in a seshpit and just found a beat and got to it. Both of us finished our verses within an hour and got straight to recording it that night. I’m gonna be doing a whole lot of tracks with DB in the future, maybe even a joint LP. Both of us are fairly like-minded and we both fuck with each other’s sounds and flows. I think that song worked so well in particular because we were both writing it next to each other (we was probably just as high as each other too) and we were both on some ignorant mood the whole night. Worked out well. Shoutout DB and Svlty.
aahh: One of the first live shows we heard you were involved was put on by Fortay. I believe it’s where you met Mitchos Da Menace. How did that show change your trajectory as an artist?
MC Raj: Yeah lad, it was a show in Newcastle hosted by TKO and it had artists like Fortay, Kearve, Mitchos, TKO, T-Wreckz and the Sub C lads. Myself and Menace had seen each other around before this, but It was the first time we sort of got to know each other. That show was a big one for me, I’d never done a proper set before too start off with, let alone with Artists I listened to frequently like Menace and Fort. After that show I really picked up my shit, I never realised how important stage presence was until then. I’ve been working on that ever since.
I rep Menace Gvng first off and 201 for sure bruz. Menace had been seeing me on facebook with those iPhone clips and the OneTakes with onelovecreations. One time I was on live just freestyling and he was watching me go, he just commented something like ‘Bruzz, come join MG… we can turn you into a weapon‘. I took that opportunity and didn’t look back, and Menace has done exactly what he said he would. I got into 201 by kickin’ back with a lot of the lads in it, especially Huskii. I met Huskii at the start of 2018, and throughout 2018 I ended up doing a lot of his backups at shows we would bump into each other at, the first one being in Melbourne. After that, If we were at a show and he was one outs on stage, I would be up there with him doing his backups and geeing up the crowd. MG201 is a problem, trust me.
aahh: We couldn’t have an interview with you without mentioning King Huskii, what kind of influence do you think Huskii has had on the local scene and on yourself as an artist?
MC Raj: Huskii brought something to the scene that no one had ever really seen, heard or done. Like Mitchos did with his aggressive, ignorant and intricate bars. Huskii was really on some different shit, from the moment I heard his stuff back in late 2016-2017 I became obsessed, I related and felt it on a whole different level. His bars and songs either made me want to crawl up and hug myself or go out and go back to my old ways… you know how that goes. He has impacted the scene majorly, anyone who doubts that is doubting themselves. Facts.
He influenced me a lot more then he might think, after hearing his songs I felt like I didn’t need to hold back on any of the stuff I had been suppressing. Gave me a boost in confidence, real talk before I was with 201 I was like a fanboy, minus the fantasies, same goes for Menacegvng. But yeah bro, Huskii has impacted me greatly, when I was kicked out and was surfing couch to couch, his music is one of the only things that kept me going. I couldn’t even rest properly unless I was pumping his tracks. I never would have thought I’d be backing him up on stage and become close with him. Same goes for Mitchos.
aahh: You were involved in one of the biggest clips of 2018 in ChillinIt’s Wish You Well Part 2 (It’s A Vibe) what was that day like?
MC Raj: Hahaha far out bra that day was loose. To this day It was still the best day I’ve had filming a music video, to be honest halfway through it I had sooo much VB I’d almost forgotten we were filming a music video. It just felt I was getting smashed with the lads hahaha. But oath brother, It definitely is one of the biggest music videos that has come outta Australia. Chill is doing his thing bro, good on him for getting to where he is at.
aahh: You’ve been a part of some huge shows of late. Tell us do you have any tips on surviving tour life? We know shit can get hectic pretty quickly
MC Raj: Thanks my bra, legend. Touring around can be pretty hectic at times, I still haven’t seen a few States here, but no doubt about it, I will end up performing in all major cities soon enough. But yeah bro, from what I have seen for myself and for others, touring can either be really great or really baddd. If I had any advice for it, go get it, do what you need to do and for your own sake, don’t get fucked up before the shows, save that for after. I’ve seen too many artists slip up and even seen an artist who couldn’t perform his set anymore due to the fact he was so munted.
Even with the afters… don’t go too hard. I’ve made that mistake myself too many times and just been completely worn out for the following week. If you have consecutive shows, the after celebrations of each show could be your demise. Facts.
aahh: If you want to achieve one thing in 2019 what would that be?
MC Raj: Greatness brother, I want to be able to say I feel accomplished for what I’ve done this year. I’ve never really been able to say that for myself. So that would definitely be the main ambition. In terms of music bro, I need to drop this album ‘8EEN’ and a few single tracks with features like Mitchos, DB, Svlty, Tryl, Rops… too many to mention bruz. I’m going to be releasing two projects this year g. I’m already 5 tracks into the next project I’m working on. I’ve been silent for a reason, these two drops will change everyone’s perspective on me and that is guaranteed.
aahh: A lot of artists aim to go international, is that something you think about? Do you think it’s realistic for an underground artist in Australia to do so or do you think it’s only really possible for those who have support from a major label?
MC Raj: Yeah brother that’s the plan, I wanna be able to go to the States with MG and the 201 lads. Once America sees all the talent we have down here, trust me, they will be shocked. They have been sleeping on us. Facts. It is seeming like it is more and more possible to be able to get heard over their and that is sick! We just need to get the right artists their and show them what’s up. I can 100% see myself and the lads rocking stages in the states and travelling, that would be dope as fuck. But if anyone thinks they can make it to the states before making it in their own country, let’s face it, they be dreaming. It’s a long rough road that I’m willing to walk to get there. It won’t be easy. But MenaceGvng is always keen for the competition.
In my opinion, It doesn’t matter if the artist is underground or not, if they have the hustle and grind, anyone can become bigger and better. I do think having a Major label is significant, which is sad because some of the signed artists I know, don’t work nearly as hard as the majority of the underground rappers. But yeah bro, if you’re on the grind and have that vision, anything is possible. I mean look at half of these mumble rapping fellas, in my opinion, some of the major ones are trash, I can’t understand a single fuckin word in their songs except lean and xans, but that doesn’t matter because they had the grind to get themselves where they at. It’s possible.