Hip-hop Drapht broken

27/Mar/2009

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FOR Australian hip-hop fans, 2008 will be remembered as the year Drapht broke.

West Australian rapper Drapht enjoyed a meteoric rise last year thanks to the success of the single Jimmy Recard and the release of his breakthrough album Brothers Grimm.

The scale of Drapht’s success becomes clear with the news Jimmy Recard was the second most played track on national youth broadcaster Triple J in 2008.

The single also came in at number 10 in the station’s definitive Hottest 100 for 2008.

Hailing from Mt Hawthorn and later, Yokine, Drapht (real name Paul Ridge) attended Perth Modern School in Subiaco but as he puts it, “didn’t get involved in the music side of things.”

However, school did lead him to strike up a friendship with Damien Allia, who was to become DJ Armee , a member of Perth hip-hop trailblazers Downsyde.

“I went to school with Armee and he exposed me to the hip-hop he was listening to,” Drapht said.

“He would play at the Hyde Park Hotel and I would try to sneak in because I was under age.”

In the late 90s, Drapht he became a member of the Syllabolix crew started by Optamus from Downsyde at the Hyde Park Hotel and included future hip-hip identities Hunter, Matty B, Dazastah and more.

Drapht said the popularity of Aussie hip-hop today was unheard of when he started rhyming a decade ago.

“There was no bearing at all that Aussie hip-hop would be played on the radio,” he said.

“The backing from Triple J has gone a long way, as well as the growth of music festivals where hip-hop artists can share the stage with popular rock acts.”

Since his 2003 debut Pale Rider, Drapht has impressed many with his effortless flowing vocal style, while refining his sound in each of his three albums.

“With Pale Rider I was still finding my feet and what style I wanted to have,” he said.

“For Who Am I the flow was made catchier. I think we’ve (Drapht and Brothers Grimm producer Trials) finally found our feet with the last album.

“Lyrically, it’s about what I have to deal with on a daily basis.

“Early on, I tried to tackle politics but now I leave that to others.”

Drapht is teaming up with Downsyde for a national tour that will swing into WA this week.

He said the gigs would be different from the usual format of headlining and support slots, with both acts on stage at the same time.

“We are on stage together for about an hour and a half,” he said.

“Performing together is no problem because we’ve been friends for so long and made so much music together.

“I usually have a DJ and an MC on stage, but on this tour we’ve got the whole band.”

Drapht and Downsyde play the Foundry, Cannington, on Wednesday, April 2, The Rosemount Hotel, North Perth, on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, and the Railway Hotel, North Fremantle, on Sunday, April 5.

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