MC Raj Discusses New Album, Tour Life & Going International In New Interview

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.

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Photos by @durtbagdan


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Interview: Nter Shares Details On Upcoming Album & Talks Rap Beef

aahh: You released your debut solo album South Side Story back in 2017, but you have been an integral part of the scene in this country for over a decade now. Why was the decision made to wait until you did to release a solo album?
Nter: I wanted to wait for the right time to release the South Side Story, to the point were I thought it was some of my best work. I didn’t want to just drop an album with tracks that meant nothing. Every song on South Side Story tells a story and has meaning. The beat and production definitely has to talk to me before I can start to work.


aahh: Your raps reflect life in Hurstville and the experiences you’ve faced throughout not only your childhood but also the life as you live it now. How important to you is it to reflect your life stories throughout your music and how do you feel about those who just do it to promote an image that may not accurately represent their lives?
Nter: Hurstville isn’t so much a ghetto but a really rough and bad neighbourhood. It was the environment we grew up in. The situations we faced as kids and the things we went through and did just to move forward… its important to tell that story. You can’t just make this sort of shit up. If you haven’t been in that environment it’s easy to tell, people just need to keep it real…

aahh: You’ve been touted as one of the innovators in the local scene especially when it comes to Gutta rap. Where did you draw your influences from when you first started out with the crew Sydney Serchaz. Can you also tell us a bit about that crew and how it came to be formed?
Nter: I drew a lot of influences out of what was really going on and what was really being done on our part back then. Rapping about selling drugs wasn’t a huge thing in the Sydney game. Forty was always on that hustle and he was one of the first but Sydney Serchaz told the story of the searcher, the hustler and the thieves story from where it was happening it also highlighted the struggle.
Sydney Serchaz was like a family to me with Skeamo being my brother and Sky-High teaching me a lot of what I know today. At first it was just them two then I came along and from there we just ran with it. Doing some of Sydneys first gutter rap shows and then taking it to a new level.

aahh: As with many rappers in the scene, there seems to be a constant juggle between making music and balancing out all the other responsibilities people face in life such as family and or other work commitments. How do you find dealing with that kind of thing?
Nter: In this day and age you have to work. Music isn’t going to pay the bills unless you’re Kerser or ChillinIT no matter how many views or likes you’re getting. Let’s be real all that shit means nothing, at the end of the day I work. I’ve had the side hustle but I can’t pay bills from a jail cell. I manage both as well as I can but if it came to be, it would be my job because its a pay check each and every week.

ahhh: You rep Trap Runners, how did this crew come about? Is there still a Trap Runners album in the works and what can you tell us about that project?
Nter: Yeh, Trap Runners is what it is now. Myself, Merks and one of the other boys, Jake came up with the idea. It started just as a little group, we first called it THE REAL but changed a few things and then we just started repping Trap Runners. The boys were off doing their thing and I was doing my music so we came together under that banner and now we’re the number one group in the underground..real…but yeah we are working on an album for later this year.

aahh: You’ve steadily been releasing new music including the tracks Legacy, and Wrong Turns which dropped just the other day. This is apart from all the tracks you’ve been featuring on with Sesk and also Merks. Are you currently working on a new album or mixtape?
Nter: Yeah, I try to keep constant music dropping every month or so. Just not too much because then its just overplayed or boring. At the moment I am just looking around for beats for an album. It’s not 100% certain but I’m slowly working on it. I am also working on a mixtape, but it will be a gutter tape

ahhh: Will you be working with Sam Mason on your next project. You’ve both worked closely together over the years including on your debut South Side Story?
Nter: Yer Sam Mason will most problem produce most of the beats, but I will be using some other producers. We’ve actually been boys since rugrat days.


ahhh: What’s the biggest change you’ve witnessed throughout the local scene over the past 10 years?
Nter: The biggest change is that everyone is rapping now but there is no content to their music. No one is telling a story. It’s all who is the best fighter or who gets the best clothes. It’s fun all that but to tell the story of someone real and to stop show boating with shit that isn’t yours in ya clips… you should be able to free the realness.

ahhh: What do you think about rap beef and how people approach it in Australia. We rarely see diss tracks, yet there’s always an undercurrent of beef that occurs throughout the scene. Do you have any thoughts on that and what has your experiences been with that?
Nter: This rap beef isn’t real at all. It is easy to get on Instagram and talk shit or throw subliminal’s in tracks, but how you gonna handle it when its sitting on ya door step or you’re out in public and some one pulls up on ya… if you haven’t got the heart to carry on with it just go about your business. I try keep outta all that shit these days. I’m too old to be beefing on social media with pensioners.


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