Aspiring rapper Mugzy, who hails from Australia has hopes of carving himself a successful career as a hip hop artist. Since the tender age of 14, Mugzy was captivated by his earliest loves of the hip hop genre – Eminem and DMX among others. Today he is working hard to get his name out as much as possible.
Mugzy got on the line with us here at Bloggers Gamut for a chat about the state of rap music today, his pursuit of a rap career, respecting the hip-hop culture, what the Australian hip-hop culture is like and more! The conversation was easy-going and quite insightful, as Mugzy is artist who takes his craft seriously and truly does love the culture of hip-hop, so we had lots to discuss:
So I know you will have been asked repeatedly what the hip-hop scene in Australia is like but I am curious as I’m not too familiar with the scene over there myself, could you give us a quick overview?
Hip-hop in Australia man, we love it here. We always gravitate towards whatever is coming out of the current culture and .. there’s a lot of artists here that in my opinion do hip-hop as a hobby rather than seriously trying to pursue a career in music, so when it comes to someone like myself who is trying to make this a career its tough because it’s like ‘who do I go to if no one else is serious about this?’ That’s why I like linking with and reach out to people in the States, Canada and the UK because people realise your aspirations, they see you are serious and are willing to help offer their platform and show Mugzy some love. I just wish Australia would kinda catch on and be more about putting ourselves on the map, just be a bit more serious about the music you know!
At this point my WiFi decided it didn’t want to co-operate temporarily so I vented my frustration at that and at modern society’s constant and ever-increasing reliance on said technology, to which Mugzy offered his observations:
Yeah man it can be your best friend and your worst enemy at times! The technology we have is so ingrained into our everyday lives it’s only when you don’t have that technology available do you realise how much we are seemingly obsessed with it – this happened with me recently, a few weeks ago my laptop crashed so I didn’t have a laptop for about three days. I swear you become effectively a junkie in a sense cause you need that internet, to connect and socialise you know. We do rely on it too much but it’s such a big part of life now!
Getting back on topic, in relation to what we were saying about artists not being serious about their craft, how much do you think that race plays a part? Has it affected your pursuit of rap so far or not?
Because hip-hop is traditionally such a African-American culture you know that’s what originated it, and I still don’t think we’ve got past the hurdle of caucasians coming into hip-hop, I mean obviously we’ve got Eminem and a few successful white artists like that but I feel you’ve gotta have this fame factor about you to actually be respected as a white artist. Like if you’re an underground artist – like for me personally, its kinda stereotypical as people are like ‘ohh you’re doing the whole Eminem thing’ or the whole ‘wigga tryna act black thing’ when that’s just not the case – I really love this culture and am really an artist who’s pushing hard. It’s kinda discredited in a way that if you’re white and you’re doing hip-hop people automatically assume you’re not that serious about your craft and like I said it’s a big hurdle to step over.
Yeah absolutely, I feel artists like yourself really have to persevere and keep pushing so people will actually think ‘oh hold on, this guy is serious – we should actually listen to what he’s got to say’ and not just discredit as you say:
Yeah I mean you know there are artists out there who genuinely are doing the whole ‘wigga’ kinda thing so such presumptions do have a base and it certainly doesn’t help serious artists like myself when you have people pushing that phony image. Perseverence is it man you know if you really put yourself out there and do stuff for the community and get yourself about, you know really prove this isn’t a joke or a hobby then people will respect it.
For me it’s just about being real and projecting yourself you know I mean I’ve never been into gangs or drug dealing and that kinda stuff, like when I got into-hip hop at about 14/15 it was the early 2000s era and I really got into Eminem, Dr. Dre and Shady Records and such, I remember it being a great point in time for the genre. Then I started doing my homework on the culture and just engross myself as much as I could in the real old school culture of hip-hop, tracing the roots back to the first pioneers ya know and the culture definitely respects you for doing that: When I’ve done interviews in the US people are mad surprised that I know all the history (laughs), they’re gobsmacked in a sense it’s crazy!
Totally man and I think that’s one thing that is so unfortunately overlooked by the young hip-hop artists – especially the more mainstream names these days; the amount of them that don’t know the origins of the genre they’re getting rich off, to me it’s poor and so shallow:
That’s a sad thing man, I mean look at the genre of rock for example, and you see all these upcoming bands and they all praise the gods of the genre – Led Zeppelin and The Doors whereas you get this kids today who don’t know shit about where the culture came from and they’ll come out with some bullshit like saying “Tupac is shit” and it amazes me you know. Like what’s going on here?!
Yeah it is a real shame and that analogy does raise the question of why the history and pioneers aren’t as important for new artists, hopefully that can change! Moving on slightly, I wanted to ask who are you favourite Australian rappers?
Yeah man, so I’d say Hilltop Hoods are pretty dope, Briggs is another one and my third one would be Bliss n Eso; they’re kinda the three pinnacle ones over here man that are really doing it for Aus! It’s kinda annoying that everyone knows Iggy Azalea you know as she does the whole fake accent and is what the world see’s as representing Australian hip-hop, it’s pretty bad you know there’s so much better hip-hop going on here than what is projected by her. We’re not a fan of her over man, she tried to do a tour in 2016 and she had to back out cause tickets just weren’t selling which says it all really!
Okay cool I will have to check those guys out, and yeah no doubt Iggy gives the likes of yourself a poor label! She for me, and the majority of mainstream hip-hop artists now I refer to more as pop artists – personally, I’ve always interpreted or understood hip-hop as being ‘rap is poetry’, yet none of these artists uphold that:
I still say that the 90s and early 2000s was a bit of a golden era ya know, I mean the music actually had a message then and I look at what’s popular now and it’s all these crazy trends like tattooing your face and the IQ of these mainstream artists is just lowering. I understand you need your pop songs to get up in the club but if that’s all you’ve got what are you really saying you know? Going back to an artist like Biggie for example, even with a club song like ‘Juicy‘ where admittedly it’s primarily quite a simple rhyme scheme but it’s so relatable and you can visualise what he’s saying and like when you look at what’s considered a ‘lyrical’ rapper now the trend is just basically spitting the biggest words, just projecting a dictionary like it sounds impressive but you’re just drowning out what the actual message of the song is – to the point you have to explain the song to me, which defeats the point of the song man.
Music back in the day, i know its cliche to say it man but just had so much more substance – the likes of Public Enemy and Rakim ya know they can rap and sound better than these current cats but always deliver a message man. Outside of hiph-hop ya know artists like Prince or Eric Clapton who you go back and listen to and it really dawns that we just don’t have music like this anymore, that’s just such timeless music.
For sure you know, I mean for one thing what’s popular in music has changed so much today like hip-hop is so much more diverse a genre and there’s so much more money involved that you do have artists who look at it thinking from a business perspective, that they can get a good paycheck and achieve fame through the music rather than actually caring about their artistry and the message:
The only problem I have is where, for example I saw an interview with Nicki Minaj on Funkmaster Flex and he was talking about how she’s very sexualised in her music and image ya know, and essentially giving a bad rep for not being a ‘powerful woman’ and she responded trying to justify this saying she’s empowering women and it frustrates me you know. Everyone sees through the bullshit and it’s just like just admit your music is what it is, just take responsibility don’t be out here trying to claim you’re helping anyone when you’re clearly not. I feel like there’s no justification for your actions you know just admit what you are projecting instead of lying and creating this fake persona, artists will say anything just for views man like we said that kid who claimed he thought Tupac is shit – that’s just such obvious bullshit causing controversy cause it will get views.
Alternatively I saw an interview with this kid Tekashi 69 where he openly said he doesn’t take the craft or the culture seriously and people in the comments were all praising him for ‘how real he is, how open about his fakeness he is’ – that really annoyed me man like there’s honest artists out there busting their ass trying to make a career and meanwhile people will say this guy is the greatest thing cause he’s quoting that he’s being fake like what world are we living in man? Really annoyed me man!
Yeah that is just ridiculous man, the world we live in today is too full of that bullshit.. onto a more positive topic haha, do you have any favourite UK rappers?
The main thing I know about UK hip-hop scene is that the battle scene there is crazy, like full on going completely past the line with the insults you know, just savagery! (laughs) Artist wise though, I don’t know too much of course I know Dizzee Rascal man, I think the UK has the best comedy for sure! Karl Pilkington always cracks me up with his morbid sarcasm – he’s great!
Okay man well one bunch of UK artists I would recommend and feel like you’d enjoy is the High Focus Records roster – they champion that traditional, boom bap style, they’re free of all the fuckery we’ve discussed and just care about the music not the riches ya know
Oh sweet man yeah I love that, I’ll have to give them a listen, thanks!
If you could name one artist that you would love to collaborate with, who would it be?
To push it up into the pop charts, I’d have to go with Prince man! I think he’d put some funk in it, he could do a solid jam guitar riff! I remember when he died and my mum called me and told me – I thought she was joking, pulling a prank or something but unfortunately not. That was a scary year man we lost a lot of great artists!
Good choice I think it would work well and yeah it was not a nice time at all! If you had to pick a current rapper to collaborate on a track with?
I’m gonna go Shaggy 2 Dope man, been getting into a lot of Insane Clown Posse and I think that would be sick to work with him! I’d probably just bring back some pioneers you know try to bring them into the limelight!
If you could give one piece of advice to an young aspiring artist who’s trying to make a name for themselves in the genre, what would you tell them?
Personally, you know do the music and definitely work but one important thing is don’t think it’s gonna happen overnight – cause it’s not. When you’re young you know you want the riches and the fame, I was a bit the same (laughs) and you’d talk to managers and A&Rs and they’d say ‘you need to work on this’ and it really shows you how hard you have to work in this industry. If you’re in the mind-state of ‘I’m gonna be the next big thing’ without really thinking through how much you have to put in it’s really gonna slap you in the face. So yeah work hard but also embrace the culture, as we covered people will respect you far more if you respect the culture and we need more people to bring that respect back to the forefront.
That concludes the interview, I wanna thank Mugzy for his time and for such a great hip-hop conversation!
Mugzy is currently working hard on his third album which he revealed will be a 2cd production! He also has a documentary about his career with the Sydney Film School which he’s hoping to submit to the film festivals in December!
Find Mugzy on Facebook here
His Youtube page is here
And his ReverbNation band profile here where you can find all his tracks!