Hyjak Interview /// 2004

[dropcap size=small]H[/dropcap]e’ll hyjakulate, always off his face like a pack of ravers and for those that don’t know, Hyjak’s the one with the breadstick on the cover on his new album. Drastik Measures is a duet album with Torcha produced by Sydney super DJ Bonez – a.k.a. ‘the funny lookin greek guy in the middle’. Amusingly honest and genuine, Hyjak & Torcha couldn’t give a f*ck what you think, and this attitude makes the album and these musicians a complete success from track one right through to number fifteen.

Hyjak’s first encounter with Hip hop is quite a story, ‘by lookin through an empty car yard, going through cars that were all run down and demolished and shit and we found a tape’. After listening to this magical tape (apparently the only tape he owned) as well as his brothers records he was hooked on the hop at the tender age of seven. One claim to fame is dropping rhymes at a party with ‘cameras and spotlights and shit on me’ when he ‘grabbed a beer and started drinking it, and it had cigarette butts in it’ and he ain’t scared to swallow his pride and maybe some cigarettes and admit it. His head is firmly sitting on his shoulders as opposed to jammed tightly up his ass like so many in the scene today. Influenced by the ‘fast technical rhymers like Big Pun, Big L, Big Daddy Kane. All the people with Big in their name. Whether people like him or not’ he likes the they way they flip their words and lyrics ‘real fast and technical with a bit of humour’.Hyjack likes beer, loves music and always raps like he got nothin to lose.

His partner in crime Torcha and producer/DJ Bonez were found at an MC battle he won when he was 15. ‘The first one I went into, and Torcha was in it and bonez was the DJ for it and I after I won that we all hooked up and started recording and shit together, the rest is history.’ Their first gig was in Melbourne at the Obese launch. ‘We went all the way there and none of us had made a set, so we basically got up and freestyled the whole thing, we were the only people that did that there and we were trying to see if people could work it out or not, I think half did, half didn’t.’ So how did it go down? ‘I think people liked it, it was very unorganised and messy but…’ That’s what hip hop’s all about? ‘Yeah definitely, our sets now are heaps better though.’

My favourite thing about their new release (Drastik Measures) is the whole concept behind it. ‘At the time me and Torcha were workin in a deli – if you see the cover we’re both in a deli, i’ve got the breadstick and he’s got the salami, a lot of people think it’s a gun.’ I thought it was a baseball bat but that’s beside the point. ‘So we were both workin in the deli, it was basically trying to get out of this every day workin’ for the machine on minimum wage bullshit, trying to put an album together and eventually get out of the deli and not have to work shit jobs all day. When we finished the album we both got fired anyway. So it was drastic measures to make the album and get the fuck out of the deli.’ Down right hard work and honest deli goodness, not afraid to not have a conceptual, artistic and pussyfoot music facade to claim as inspiration – another reason to respect the honesty of this album.

What can we expect from the album? Apparently don’t think cos it’s not going to be what you expect, or what you may expect from an average oz hip hop album. ‘We’ve done a diverse bunch of sounds on it, we’ve tried to, well we haven’t tried to, we have made club songs, chilled out songs, jazz sot of songs, songs with singing in the chorus so it’s not your average hip hop album.’ So is it something for everyone? ‘Yeah something for everyone but some people say it’s too commercial, some people say you swear a bit too much, it’s not for everyone but we’ll see.’

Recording an album is quite obviously a fucking huge undertaking, which took the boys about a year to complete yet it also full of learning curves and opportunities to further master the art. ‘On this we did a track a week and really focused on it full time, it taught me a lot about mic techniques in the studio and stuff and basically recording an album is very different to tracks every so often. We really wanted to create a story sort of thing, start to finish. We were making tracks and then throwing them away and not using them, then making new ones. Seeing what worked and what didn’t .

The boys did a few collaborations, featuring Kye from Wicked Beat Sound System, Hilltop Hoods, Mass MC, Endz and Meanz and Lil Harris. What did they bring to the table? ‘Kye just lives down the road from me so we always drink and smoke and kick it so we thought we’d include him on the cut to try and add a different sort of the flavour that a lot of Aussie hip hop is scared to run with. Hilltop we’ve known them for a while from doing same shows and doing interstate gigs and we hang out with them a lot. We like their shit and they like our shit so we basically just got together. Mass has been our boy for a few years now and he brings that hardcore element of just truthfully funny hardcore shit so we had to have a bit of that on it.’ Hyjack’s favourite on the album is just that – ‘the one with Mass – reformed, that’s real hardcore shit that’s got some melody to it as well.’

In terms of the future of the oz hip hop scene he sees some more business interest and label involvement meaning it will get ‘bigger and bigger. It’s got a big following already, it depends a lot on labels, if they start getting interested in it and putting money into it, there will be more MCs coming out of the woodwork cos they’ll see they can make some money off it. At the moment it’s not really like that. So I think now the labels are starting to see they can get some business out of this so possibly, it will depend on that. As far as underground goes I’m sure everyone will keep doin’ what they’re doing and it will get better and better.’

So will it be a positive thing if the labels get involved or are we going to start getting Britney’s, N*sync’s & Xtina’s in the oz scene? ‘It will be good but it won’t, if the labels start trying to control what sort of music people are making it won’t be good cos all creativity will be lost. When labels get into it, it can sometimes ruin it cos you get all these candy ass mc’s that will come out and start rhyming cos they think they got some money and their daddy own’s a record label or some shit so it will be interesting to see what happens.’ Apparently these candy ass mc’s and shit talkers are plentiful in Sydney’s scene. ‘You’ve got the same old people you see around at every hip hop gig still talking the same old shit and then you’ve got a few people starting to come, like JJJ listeners who hear shit on the radio and then some uni students coming out of the woodwork. It’s really expanding is all I can say but they’ve still got a bit of a problem with getting rowdy like places like Adelaide and Melbourne which are heaps more lively, especially Adelaide. Hip hop shows there everyone’s bouncing off the ceiling whereas Sydney everyone’s standing around checkin out what shoes everyone else is wearing, shoelaces or some shit.’ Apparently Sydneysiders need to drink more, ‘yeah! and just concentrate on having a good time and not trying to be so hardcore’.

So what gets up his goat about the scene? ‘Pretty much that, people go around talking a lot of shit about other people cos there’s not much else going on their lives, concentrating on what clothes they’re wearing and how hardcore they are just shit like that. A lot of shit talking.’ How bout the bling bling scene and the whole gangsta thing? ‘Well as far as I see it, I think anything can work as long as it’s done in a clever way. For Example if they were talking the bling bling shit but they dropped it in a clever way that made you stop and think and it’s entertaining to whoever’s listening to it, I’ve got no problem with it. But alot of the stuff that I think is degrading hip hop, that’s not bling bling on the underground scene is just boring old shit rhyming about how my dog ran away and shit like this and that.’ The kind of shit I assume would be heard on Nova, so what would happen if mr jak heard his tracks on commercial radio? ‘I’d probably start laughing first, I don’t think it’s a bad thing cos it’s expanding the sound, if people like that actually dig it then good on em.’

What about chicks in the scene? There’s a lot of dope female mc’s coming up like Layla and A-love so I think this is giving the chicks more of a reason to go to shows instead of being dragged along by their boyfriends, now they’ve got more to identify with which hopefully will bring more chicks to shows, that’s good cos you don’t want a whole bunch of guys just sitting round at shows. ‘ So when can us chicks come check out your shows? ‘We’ve got a tour coming up, which starts in Canberra in April and does all the major cities.’ If I was you I’d go check these boys out, remember to be rowdy.

[alert type=blue ]This article was written for ozhiphop.com by regular contributor Sophiska. [/alert]

[alert type=white ]Ⓒ All Rights Reserved ozhiphop.com 2002 /// This article originally appeared here on the ozhiphop.com Forums [/alert]