DIASPORA: Meer makes waves for Arab women in rap music

Culture, Interview, Music

Rapper Meer is a young woman living in Australasia. Having just moved to Sydney from Auckland to be with the love of her life she says she appreciates a man who respects a woman going after her potential. “I want to make a mark as an Arab woman – I want people to know what an Arab is. I want Middle Eastern to be a part of the selection when you choose where you’re from,” she says.

Born in Dubai, she came to New Zealand when she was five years old. Having always used writing as an important outlet, especially when it comes to her mental health and positive well being, she says eventually making a rap song became an obvious choice. “The first time I went up on that stage I couldn’t explain it, it was something magical, that feeling I got, I couldn’t get anywhere else and I was addicted.”

Although her lyrical content can get quite heavy theme-wise she says “I want people to scream my name on that stage I want people to know my lyrics, I  want to touch people in ways that they have never..that sounds weird…I want to affect people emotionally through my music, in ways they’ve never been before.”

‘You messing with a bad bitch’ goes the hook of her most recent video release Pomegranate. But, she says “I’m not really an intense person – I’m such a kid – the person you see on stage is someone who feels powerful and wants to prove it but the person I am when I get off stage is powerful and I don’t have to prove it. Even though there’s a lot of intense content, people might think it’s too much.. Do you think?”

A GAME OF SKATE with Too’OnPoint

Culture, Interview

One brief decider using paper, scissors, rock, then twin brother Shingi Murare kicks off a ‘Game of Skate’ match versus his brother Muche, the pair known as Too’OnPoint  meet me at their local park in Flatbush, Barry Curtis Park. 

ALEYNA: So you guys grew up around here? I’m filming you.

SHINGI: Oh shit, yeah we did, we grew up like…. we’d skate 20 minutes down the road before they built this, everyday after school. Weekends I’d be here  first thing in the morning. It’s still probably one of the best skate parks in Auckland, but we didn’t have that much back then…Til we begged the council.

ALEYNA: Who’s we?

SHINGI: Like a lot of us, like the local skate shop as well

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ALEYNA: Which is?

SHINGI: Boardertown, my brother works there. So even though I got into music and shit, skating’s still …before I wanted to be a musician I wanted to be a proskateboarder. I was really passionate about it, now it’s just fun like what you do for exercise and to have fun, before, I took it too seriously.

MUCHE: And then it’s not fun.

ALEYNA: When did you come across the show Epicl’y Latered and what did you like about it?

SHINGI: It would’ve been almost 10 years ago now we would’ve still been in intermediate school just learning how to skate then the show Epicl’y Latered was something new and refreshing. You got a peek into their personal lives as well as an in depth interview on skate culture. It put a personal attachment to my favourite skateboarders which intern motivates you to scare you even harder it’s almost like a musician watching their favourite musicians biography you know.

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ALEYNA: So where are you guys from?

MUCHE: Harare, Zimbabwe

ALEYNA: And how old were you when you came here?

MUCHE: Bout 2002, I was seven.

ALEYNA: So you went to school out here?

MUCHE: Yeah, Elm Park Primary.

 

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ALEYNA: Wait where are we?

SHINGI: We’re in Flatbush but we grew up round the east like Pakuranga

ALEYNA: So first memories of skating, how did it start?

MUCHE: Just seeing my mates back in intermediate and my friends would skate and I’d just watch clips of them doing like kick flips and shit skating and be like bro how do you do that.

SHINGI: I got me a little $10 skateboard from the Warehouse and shit, it could barely ride.

ALEYNA: So you loved it that much that  just put up with that? What was the first board you bought?

SHINGI: Yeah for a little bit and then I got like a proper skate board, I think my first one was a Flip, Geoff Rowley.

MUCHE: I think the first board I bought was a Zero cause I loved Chris Cole.

SHINGI: I was real poor and shit so I couldn’t afford to buy a board and shit for over $100, so I’d always cop second hand skateboards…once in a blue moon I’d buy a board.

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ALEYNA: So is this your stomping ground?

MUCHE: Yeah

 

SHINGI: Oi legit, we were probably the reason why they built this park…

ALEYNA: What’s that story?

MUCHE: Um so if you go back maybe a kilometre that way we used to be fucking little shits always just going there  skating up, the shop owners would complain and shit , we’d skate all the local schools, they’d always complain there was like 20 of us and we’d always just go and skate together so they got pretty pissed off about that after a while.

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SHINGI: We even did a petition and they put like 700k into it or something.

MUCHE:  There was like, One News or something came out here when it was still getting built and they got us all to come through and ask, ‘Oh what do you guys think about this park?’ But bro we needed this to be honest like where else were we gonna skate? You’re [the council] not providing facilities for the youth to go kick it at type thing.

SHINGI: And the public transport system is so trash.

MUCHE: It’s hard to get to other parks.

SHINGI: To get to skatepark would take you half a day.

MUCHE: But now it’s like legit, this place is probably a home for a lot of people who have grown up around here, it’s needed.

ALEYNA: So skating, as brothers that’s something that you’ve always done together?

MUCHE: Yeah and my other brother, he’s better than us, he’s fuckin good (laughs).

SHINGI: Yeah he’s fucking good aye, so good.

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ALEYNA: What is it you love about skating, is it like something you can do as a family, as brothers like isn’t some of this shit scary?

SHINGI: It is but it’s fun like ..the risk.

MUCHE: The way I see it it’s like confidence building , if I was gonna go do that 10 right, like that I’ve never done in my life but if I was going to go do it I would probably run up like five times and then come to a point where you’re like I’m actually going to do it this time and that’s when the adrenaline kicks in before you do it and then once you do it, it’s like ‘Oh my god it wasn’t that hard’ and then you go try it again you know but like getting over that mental barrier of  it’s ‘just a 10 stair’ or  ‘it’s just an olly’ type thing gets me, I dunno. Sometime you could be out there trying a trick for a whole fucking day and you’re not going to get it, but you’re still, every time you fall down and fuck yourself up you’re going to get back up and try again you know.

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SHINGI: Cause you want it that bad…

MUCHE: And then you get it one time and then that one time made up for the whole day’s worth of work  you know so yeah it’s a good feeling,

ALEYNA: So do you guys reckon  that define loving something or just your drive and character?

SHINGI: Definitely defines loving something.

MUCHE: Loving something because fuck, you got to put up with the bad times you know what I mean just for those small moments of hope but it’s worth it in the end.

SHINGI: It’s the feeling of achievement that’s so satisfying even if you do something one day you’ll be like fuck ok, if I can do that then the possibilities are just endless

MUCHE: It just makes you like, I’m going to take it to the next level.

ALEYNA: Do you help each other train or learn?

MUCHE: Game of Skate, we should play a gam of skate now…

SHINGI: It’s like what’s that game on the basketball court…Donkey.

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Review: Raiza Biza- Winter Solace

Music

Good music can remind you of a perfect moment— and a great song is seductive enough to leave you with that memory for life. In an interview with Jay-Z and Zane Lowe, for the BBC, Jay-Z said: I wouldn’t do an album just to mark a season. On the flip-side Oddisee did it. And when he did, he got his followers and the underground excited. Raiza Biza’s latest offering for a cold New Zealand winter, sounds like his Summer. EP in chill mode. It’s also his style honed in; as he is making improvements both sonically and creatively. From beginning to end, it’s a sexy, warm offering for shivery listeners. Hopefully this season you have a lover to appreciate this album with…or for.

Producers choiceVaughan, Thee Tony Douglas, Jay Knight, Iron Will, Crime Heat, Tausani, Myele Manzanza, Jordo Hornblow and Nu-Vintage all have beats featured and Raiza’s artistry on verse tie them all together superbly.

From the opening song you can tell ‘Winter Solace’ is the theme but it doesn’t deter an air of intelligence and personal honesty laced on-verse. Raiza reps for his crew Ammo Nation and being the A$AP or Kendrick of his team is a position he takes seriously. Also connected with Young Gifted and Broke, Biza strikes an ideal balance between his boys and his professional world. On ‘Winter Solace’ he talks about lovers, the cold, personal reflection and the reality of being a real person having to keep a 9-5 job whilst trying to pursue his music; though the age-old theme of a struggling artist is not tedious when Raiza uses it. There’s surely a song in there you’ll click with on this release and if you’re a listener who just likes the vibes then Raiza’s latest offering is definitely for you.

Shouting out love for his people in Wellington, Biza will be back down in the capital opening for Kev Brown Saturday, September 14th. Yes, Wellington loves Raiza back. As the winter has roped me into listening to 90’s R&B warmth like Raheem Devaughn, Ginuwine, John Legend and Musiq Soulchild; Winter Solace has the perfect vibe to reset me back to my first love: Hip Hop.

Check out: You Make Me, First Light

Download Winter Solace HERE.

 

 

Review: A$AP Mob Turnt Up The Logan Campbell Centre

Gigs, Music, Review

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“This ain’t a concert, it’s a party,” said A$AP Rocky.

And the A$AP Mob did just that on Tuesday night at the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland. The energy was for lack of a better word, TURNT, and if all rap shows promised the ‘A$AP Mob experience’ artists could give their music out for free and play ‘fat cat’ on a mat of concert money. Actually, A$AP Rocky’s smile is kind of like that Cheshire cat in Alice In Wonderland – cheeky and pretty infectious. Genuinely infectious. Even when he got girls on stage to leave their dignity at the stage floor, scramble up from the audience, and keen to bend over a little – I was still in the crowd thinking, ‘damn this is one wild ass party’.

I’d heard Kendrick Lamar say at his Perth show ‘this is a party, not a concert, we came to party’ and thought oh I’ve seen this. But when Rocky does it, it’s untouchable. He took the shows status past rap for me and made him and the mob universal music. Touring with a DJ, crew, guitarist and drummer; the lighting was cool, but as far as special effects go, that was it. The rest was on him to work the stage and make people as happy as he was, and he did. As he openly admits he is still a kid inside who just wants to have fun; he showed that he wasn’t just working another show in some foreign country, like other rappers have done when they come here; he was doing what he loves, as a big kid looking to have big boys fun, expressing, ‘I love titties, I do.’

Though the last half of the show was just the DJ spinning tunes with as many people on stage as could fit, what I thought was a short show was actually my fault, as the ticket said 8pm start and I came at nine. ‘It’s a rap show’ I told my cousin. A total miscalculation, as I rocked up Wild For The Night was already playing and A$AP Ferg had done a whole set, Spycc later told me. So if you’re going to the Oz shows, go on time.

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Buy packing out the Logan Campbell Centre the way he did, A$AP took his status in NZ from being ‘that famous rapper guy who made that song with Skrillex’ to rock star rapper. And though my cousin from the North Shore could recognize about 70% of the people in there and the girls on stage all got picked up by their parents in SUV’s like we were at a school disco, I didn’t care. A$AP himself proved he and his team are the real deal. The line in his track Goldie, ‘yes I’m the shit, tell me does it stink’ rings true as I say, anyone who wasn’t there missed out on one of the best rap concert in a very long time. There was weed, moshing, fighting, smiles, boobs, bras and more weed, silly girls and a lot of bass – a true rap concert.

Closing out his show, the 24-year-old expressed it was a blessing to see different colours and ethnicities all the way out in New Zealand at his show, because we are the future.’It’s a blessing to be here,’ he said.

The A$AP Mob will stream their Sydney show on June 28th HERE