Kings Konekted: “A lot of things dictated who stood where and by whose side”

kings koneketed

Brisbane hip-hop collective Kings Konekted are about to launch their new EP The Campaign, and it’s set to be a real landmark release for the group. DJ/producer Stricknine and MC Culprit explain how much it means.

“It feels great to have it finished,” says Stricknine. “It was all done at Class A Records and it was an absolute pleasure working with producer Trem.”

“We always love recording,” explains Culprit. “We would do it every day if we could. When writing we usually start with a beat first, and we can ponder on that for days or weeks, and from there we’ll either decide if it needs a theme or a message, and Dontez might write some verses to it. Generally the writing process starts with the beat, and the beat dictates where the writing of the track is going to go for us. It might all three of us or just two of us working at any one time. Dontez really controls the boards; the computers and the programming. I don’t do any of the computer work, but once we load the beat in we work out the layout of the song, and whoever is going to rap first does their part. The choruses tend to get done at the end, after we get our verses out over the beat and have a listen. If there’s something that’s going back and forth then the process changes a bit where we might switch things around to make sure we get it out effectively.”

Serbian/Australian Culprit and Indigenous Australian/Italian Dontez forged their friendship and musical bond from a young age, growing up in the crime-infested streets of the western suburbs of Brisbane, before joining forces with elder statesmen Strickine, Prowla, and Trem to make The Campaign.

“There was a lot of segregation in what we call the 4300 postcode area,” says Culprit. “It’s a working class area and unfortunately there’s a bit of crime. You could call it a low socio-economic environment if you wish, and a lot of things in the lifestyle – things like graffiti, things like music, things like sport – dictated who stood where and by whose side. And unfortunately fights are pretty common out there. But most cities across the world – wherever you go – have riff-raff; it just happens to be a bit more common in that area, and we bring it all to the table. It’s not a negative view or a positive view; we’re not saying it’s good that there’s fighting or it’s bad that there’s fighting, we just want it to be known. It’s our life, our story, and what we’ve seen, so we want to portray that. But it’s each to their own. We don’t think you have to come from that sort of background to be a hip-hop artist.

The Campaign is the group’s first release since 2009’s Trails To The Underlair, but fans won’t have to wait as long for the next, with a full-length album planned for late 2013.

“It’s going to be called Corrupted Citizens,” says Culprit. “We wanted to put out the EP as a taster to give something to the fans and to thank them for waiting so long as we’ve been working on this since 2009. But that’s not to say the quality on the EP isn’t as good as what the album will be.”

When asked about what the local hip-hop scene and what could improve it, Stricknine is quick off the mark.

“More Kings Konekted!” he says. “Nah, the scene in Brisbane has its moments. There’s plenty of stuff out there that would make me want to go and see it. But there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s labelled as hip-hop that isn’t. We try to make music that can be recognised as hip-hop the world over, so someone in New York can listen to it and know what it is, not just someone from Australia. Some hip-hop artists are together for only a couple of years and put out an album, and it shows in their music, whereas we started in 2007 or 2008 and the guys were together for about ten years before that.”


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