Samoa’s young rappers get a chance to shine

Two up-and-coming hip hop crews will take over Platinum Lounge tomorrow night in the first ever Phat Hip Hop night, especially designed for young talent.

Kylie Stephen Fauchelle, who runs Phat Burger with his partner Kelly Walker heard a few young artists on Soundcloud, and decided to create a space for them to perform.

“These guys are all working on their music at home but they need that interaction with a live crowd to help them get stage confidence, up their ability to become artists or performers,” he said.

“With hip hop and rap music it’s all about the performance.”

In just under a month, Kylie organised a venue and all the gear, while Maika Walsh gathered the talent.

Maika, who goes by the stage name HellBoyMae is one of the artists Kylie found on Soundcloud. He said having the opportunity to perform is essential, for him and for all potential artists.

“We want to show we can do it,” Maika said.

“That’s what the whole night is, I guess. It’s my goal and I’m sure it’s a goal for all the boys, is for the crowd to see this and think they can do it too.”

Not only that, but for anyone out there feeling shy to express themselves, Maika wants Samoa to give them a chance.

“The thing about Samoa is because it’s so small, people are very judgemental. 

“You have to be careful about what you do, not to disrespect this or that and that boxes off our creativity, limits us.”

He said some people approached him to be part of the show, but backed out for worry about their family’s opinions.

“I want people to be more outgoing with their creative sides. If they can see us on stage enjoying ourselves, they might say I want to be like that too.”

O.G.B and O.S.K.K (Original Samoan Krump Kingz) will perform, along with other artists on Saturday 15th December. Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost T$10 on the door (or $5 presale from Phat Burger inside Cocktails on the Rocks, plus a $5 voucher for Phat Burger).

The two crews are: O.G.B, made up of Letoa Hughes, Maika Walsh, Goswein Van Heeswyk and Rudolf Keil; and O.S.K.K, who are Ben Percival, Sammy Brown, Badi Siisiialafia, Lars Bell featuring Branhan Kupa.

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Ben Percival said performing rap and hip hop is about inspiring other Samoan youth to express themselves, in whichever way they choose.

“There are so many talented youth in Samoa, they just need the avenues to get out there and show the world what they got,” he said.

For Ben and his crew, that means rapping and dancing, with a blend of western and Samoan hip hop. They rap in Samoan and English, and produce their own original music.

Sammy Brown, or $ammyboe said rapping in Samoan is about having pride. He recently competed in the Samoa Star Search as a country singer.

“I rap in Samoan because I want to rep the country and the culture,” he said.

Their writing stems from their experience of life in Samoa, or their aspirations for life beyond. Badi Siisiialafia, (stage name Mo0n_$hiN3) said unlike overseas artists, he only raps about the things he sees.

“Overseas they sing about money, fashion, cars, but here, we get it from an original source, things that happen to us.

“If I had money in my bag, I’d rap about it, but I have only five tala,” he said, laughing.

O.S.K.K, who have been making music together since 2015 also produce music videos. When people accused them of spending ill-gotten money to make them, Badi wrote Uncles Truck.

“Cause my uncle, he sells taro. That’s what I had to sing about, I had to sing about my uncle selling taro because that’s where we get our money from. Taro is super gangster, eh. 

“They thought we were, doing bad things to get money, but nah, it’s all taro,” he said.

Saturday’s show is a chance to get out in front of people and show them their hearts, Goswein Van Heeswyk, or Sleen said.

“Since working with these guys (O.G.B) I think about music as less of a hobby but something that could actually happen.

“For me it will be good to get myself out there, be open in front of people I never thought I would say stuff in front of.”

Ben and O.S.K.K say they don’t take it too seriously, though they know their content may seem controversial.

“Some of the music we make may be a little controversial to older people, they don’t really understand that music is an art to express yourself.

“Just because we rap about these things doesn’t mean we do these things,” he said.

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