Pegz - Independent Rhymes

Pegz is the grand daddy of Australian hip hop, founder of Obese Records (home to Downsyde, Bias B, Hilltop Hoods) he has recently released what will be his last solo album. The reasons behind this are numerous, "I think I need to lighten my load in terms of work and stuff, there are 1001 reasons, I think I just need a little bit more time to take care of other things like business and other personal matters". By finishing up his solo career, Pegz will be able to focus more on collaborations "I really enjoy working with other people because I haven't really been in a group since I started MC-ing, I'm looking forward to that shared creative experience and having other people take on some of the responsibility and being able to just kick back and take orders for a bit".


Don't think that this will mean more time off for the busy entrepreneur, it will mean "having a more hands on role with these artists during the making of these albums, I'm really excited about the prospects. I think it might be a little bit difficult at first to not have 100% control of the direction of the music, but new challenges always keep things exciting".


Burn City is Pegz third LP and "there's a little bit of everything in there, my music isn't cryptic I make sure that it's fairly comprehendible, there's themes [ranging] from personal things and relationships to my concerns about whatever. There's a bit of social commentary there and there are some political themes. I don't like to get too much in depth about that sort of stuff, I think the music speaks for itself and I like there to be a little bit of mystery".


For Pegz, the feeling of finishing a record is amazing. "Once I get the master back from mastering for the next two or three weeks I'm just walking on a cloud, nothing beats the feeling of finishing a record coming out of mastering."


With the impending tour, Pegz has had a chance to reflect on his career to date and the highlight would be "The Culture of Kings 1 compilation, Reason took me over to Adelaide and I got to meet a whole lot of people, a lot of the artists that are signed to the label now through the networking through that first CD, so I went over to Adelaide for the Culture of Kings 1 launch and really started building some of these friendships, especially with guys like Hilltop Hoods and Funkoars and those sorts of people". Networking is a big part of the Obese culture, it's "been the foundation to our success, the artists that were on that initial compilation Downsyde, Hilltop Hoods, Crossbred Mongrels, a tonne of other artists, Koolism, and heaps of people that have really made something out of it. So I think that was a really pivotal point for me".


Obese has also played a strong part in the development of Australian hip hop. The roster of artists is chosen by "what music moves me, if it's something that I really relate to then it's only a matter of a couple of phone calls and we try and work out something. With the majority of the artists on the label I've just been a big fan of their music". Being a fan has also assisted in artist development, "Australian hip hop has a pretty rich history, but it's only been the last 7 or 8 years that the media and radio have started to embrace it, and there have been support systems and business opportunities to help artists develop, it's come a long way".


Occasionally there is one song that will make you a star, "but it's a one in a million chance that you'll have one hit song and be able to build a career off this one hit song and come out of nowhere". Pegz advice is to up and coming hip hop artists is "Be extremely passionate and dedicated, and understand that it takes a phenomenal amount of work, every artist on this label just works their ass off and puts in endless hours and it's not a case of catching up with your mates once a week and writing a song. Whether it's Muph + Plutonic or Hilltop Hoods, you've got a producer doing 40 hours making beats each week, the MC is doing the writing most nights and it takes a lot of work and a lot of passion to make the dream come true and I'd just say to any artist coming up that really put your head down and work as hard as you can".


This is not to say that you have to sign to a major though, "The playing field has been levelled a bit through technology, people are able to source music more readily and it's not sort of a monopoly of five majors that are force feeding us the music, due to the media and MySpace and digital distribution, it's really helped independent artists get their music out there, there's been a huge shift over the past 5 years".


Being on an independent also allows you a little extra care, "I really want to help everybody on this label, I want them to all get to a level where they can support themselves full time off music and being able to put a little bit more time into music and be a little bit more productive - that's my goal for the future, to help these artists and make sure that they're content with the opportunities that we provide". This also weighs in on the decision not to release as a solo artist anymore, "the last thing you really want to do is be taking food off your artists' plates".


Burn City is out now through Obese Records

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