-By Iven Manning
“The long-awaited 93 KFC Rotisserie Gold mix tape from Melbourne rapper Ivan Ooze has dropped after what has been an intense period of frenzied activity. While busying himself on a national tour with the legendary Wu-Tang Clan– which also included a studio session with Ghostface Killah– Ooze put the finishing touches on the mixtape which brings his breakneck flow into the spotlight and cements his place as part of the exciting new wave of Aussie hip hop.”
You’re coming over to do WA soon, have you ever played here before?
Ah yeah, I’ve played over there before with Seth Sentry. I missed it the first time coz I got really really sick but the second one I went over there with Seth and it was dope as.
I wanted to ask about the bungalow, is that where the magic happens?
Yes, there’s a bungalow, I’ve actually moved out of that house so I’ve got a new bungalow that’s happening, that I’m walking around in right now. I moved out not that long ago but yeah that’s where the magic does happen.
I saw one of the EP’s is called Ringwood Rich. In your opinion what’s the rattiest train station on the Lilydale/Belgrave lines?
That’s a hard one. Maybe Mooroolbark? Or could even be Lilydale, I’m not sure, even could be Ringwood. But they’ve all pretty much cleaned up now, they’ve got all the PSO officers and shit so I don’t think anyone does anything there.
Is there much of a in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs for Hip-hop?
In Melbourne there’s a lot of emerging new artists which is good to see, but they’ve all got different styles so I dunno…it’s good to see everyone mixing it up and stuff but I haven’t seen who’s coming up more than average, but I know a couple of MC’s around here who are pretty good so that’s good.
You seem like you’ve got your online presence sorted out, so how does that relate to the idea of a local scene in Melbourne. Do you think that’s less relevant/more obsolete in this day and age?
Um, it all just depends really, like when I started rapping I used to go down and do ciphers with these dudes called GHC (Global Hip-hop Collective). They used to just meet on Sundays and stuff and do ciphers and I’m pretty sure they still do that, and there’s still other groups that do that around Melbourne. And there’s still the open mics that people go to and I remember a lot of those dudes, they don’t really use social media, so there’s still a whole lot of underground hip hop that’s still happening in Melbourne but it’s just not advertised on social media and stuff so you don’t see it. So there’s a lot of great MC’s who aren’t on social media.
Do you think that’s an active rejection of social media, to try and keep the local scene going?
Yeah definitely, but then again, say if you want to, not make it, but get a bigger profile and stuff you definitely have to use social media because it’s the biggest tool for everything now. You can definitely get noticed by doing shows but it’s very rare, like people are always on Facebook, the whole fucking society’s on Facebook so if you’re on Facebook and you’re showing what you can do, then people are definitely going to see you. So that’s the other way of keeping it more local now, is being on the internet and showing what you can do, what your raps are and sharing it with groups and shit.
I noticed listening to your stuff an Australian accent isn’t noticeable in your sound, is that a conscious decision by you to separate yourself from that style of Austraian hip-hop?
No , not at all. I’ve always rapped how I rap. So I never used to get told that it was like an American accent, and I never used to get told that it was an Australian accent, we just used to rap and everyone used to have fun with it. There was no real opinions on it saying “you shouldn’t rap like that, you should rap more like this”. So it was pretty much your style was what you enjoyed doing. And now when you kinda getting a little bit bigger, every single, every month or so, there’s always people who are like “fuck this cunt, he doesn’t sound like an Australian, he sounds like an American”, but I’ve seriously rapped like this my whole entire life so why would I change for what people say. This is the way I rap, I don’t rap any other way, so I don’t understand where that comes from. But it’s definitely not a conscious decision to be like “I don’t wanna rap like an Australian, I wanna rap like an American.”, this is just the way I rap.
That’s interesting that you actually get panned for that. What’s the movitation behind that do you think?
What I reckon is, some people might be jealous..and that’s the only thing that I can see from it because what they hate on me for, they obviously haven’t listened to any of the songs I’ve written, because the only things that they write is “this cunt’s got an American accent, this cunt’s wack.” There’s nothing about what he’s written, what he does, blah blah blah, it’s just about “this is Australian hip-hop, this is Australia” type shit. But that’s just fucked up to me , if you can’t seriously stretch your mind out and be like “let me try it, let’s see”. If you don’t like, then sure, you don’t like it, that’s completely fine but they completely disown it because it’s “not Australian hip hop”. I don’t know, I just don’t really give a shit to be a honest, I just keep doing what I want I to do and if people enjoy it they enjoy it and if they don’t, they don’t.
I agree with that. Do you think that as Australian society becomes more multicultural and more immigrants and refugees and stuff are settling here, that’s bringing diversity to the sound of Australian hip hop?
Oh yeah definitely. There’s some Sudanese guys I think down from Dandenong, I think they’re called the Gremlins, and I listen to them all the time. They’re more heavy, trap sort of stuff, and I like it, it’s cool. That’s what I’ve been listening to recently out of Australia, they’re actually fucking sick. So yeah, you’ve got diversity here which is bringing different sounds towards hip hop which is great because you’ve got a whole different choice, the whole Australian population can be like “I like this, but then I don’t really like that”. So it’s good to hear that it’s not just generic, not that one sort of same sound, the whole of hip hop is spreading now which is really really good to see.
What do you reckon’s the most vibrant spot for hip-hop in Australia?
Either probably Adelaide or Melbourne. Most of the top dudes come out of Adelaide or Melbourne I’m pretty sure. But it depends, I know a lot more MC’s in Melbourne, but that’s just because I live here. if I was over in Perth or something I’d probably know a lot more in Perth. But there’s a lot of kids in Melbourne that I’ve seen on Facebook or the internet, they’ve got some pretty cool shit so I’d probably have to say Melbourne.
I’ve gotta ask about the Wu-Tang tour, how was it and how was the studio session with Ghostface Killah?
Yeah it was sick, it was awesome. I’ve never interacted that much with other artists that I’ve toured with before, but with Wu-Tang we got dinner and talked about shit, it was really cool, they were really friend dudes and it was really sick to see, really humble. It was the best experience and I learnt heaps of shit from it.
With the Ghostface studio session, that was sick, definitely like a dream come true, coz I used to listen to Ghostface and Wu-Tang when I used to skate, like every day, and that’s like what would be the soundtrack for pretty much everyone I used to skate with, so then being in the studio with him was pretty fucking insane. Pretty surreal.
For sure, when are people gonna hear that session?
I’m pretty sure it might be coming out in September, but there’s no like, official date for it. But it’ll be coming out as probably as a single off the EP that I’m doing, which’ll be coming out later this year.
Couple of quick ones to finish, VB’s or Melbourne’s?
Fitzroy bowl or Prahran skatey?
Ahh that’s hard as… I’d say Prahran skatey.
Brunswick St or Sydney Rd?
Ahhh Sydney Rd.
Ivan Ooze will be playing in Perth this Thursday the 12th of May at Jimmy’s Den, then on Friday the 13th at Arcade Nightclub in Joondalup.
Photo Credit: Ivan Ooze