“I’ve not got any hate left for anybody. I’m not saying I‘m walking away from anything I did in the past but I’ve moved on from it.”
When Brad Strut (MySpace profile) strolls into the pub in London on what could only be described as a mild day at best, he’s rocking board shorts and thongs. Proof positive that you can take the boy out of Australia but you can’t take Australia out of the boy.
Why move from Melbourne to London?
Basically I needed a change of scenery. My girlfriend was moving here for professional reasons. [So I thought] ‘Where did I want to end up?’.
The UK seems like a harder place for an independent Hip Hop artist to survive?
A lot of people at home have this fantasy ideal that British Hip Hop is just as big as its own and probably bigger. The scene here has its moments but Australia is probably a better place for an independent Hip Hop artist to be.
It is a healthy scene over here. You don’t have a national radio station over here or one that is as prolific as the one over here and knowing that if you get a song on the Js [Triple J] then you know that a lot of regular people might have that on in their cars and boom you’ve got a profile.
I haven’t actually got play on that shit at this point. I do get splashes or moments where they push one of my singles for a few weeks but it never really gets on rotation. The Hip Hop Show has always been a supporter and Triple J has as well, but they have a particular style of music they want to play and I’m aware of that in the studio. I’d like to think that as an artist I have the range to make a song that they couldn’t not play but at the same time I’m in this for Hip Hop. I’m not about to go and sucker out for want of an 80s or 90 term.
Why did you decide to package the new album with the remixes?
One of our mottoes as a crew has always been give them value for money. These people are working class people and although $20-30 is a small price to pay for something, I don’t want them to be blah-zay about it. I want them to be like, “Shit ! What did that dude just give me for $20-30?” I put the call out there and people came through and I’m fucking stoked I did it. We’ve got all these dudes with an array of styles.
It opened my eyes as well as there’s been up and downs and bits and bobs, so called wars and that. After a while you start to wonder… well, if I did ask these people to work with me, would they do it?
It’s just good to be able to sort of wipe the slate clean and break into a new future so to speak. That was probably one of the best things about the move: all the bullshit and politics and trickery of a local Hip Hop scene really did start to weigh me down as an artist and someone who is able to give.
There was a time when I was on Obese and worked for Obese. I got moved on and shunned and shunted and a place that I have put my heart into didn’t want to push me or my group and actually pushed to get us black listed. There were this group of artists where we thought that maybe we couldn’t work with them or maybe they wouldn’t work with us.
Hindsight is such a great thing because you can look back and go, “What a bunch of shit that was!”.
That’s what Monopoly was about wasn’t it?
Well, people assumed so and there were splashes probably because I was angry about it. We’re involved in Hip Hop and the best way to deal with something when you’re angry about it is to make a song. But at the end of the day it was almost like a commentary on Oz Hip Hop in itself. It was sort of something that came from grassroots and was owned by the people who did it and not by anyone else.
Monopoly was Monopoly man. I’ve not got any hate left for anybody. I’m not saying I‘m walking away from anything I did in the past but I’ve moved on from it. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again one day and I’m man enough to say that I’ve done shit and put out my hand and say my hate’s gone.
What are Lyrical Commission up to now?
Trem has a record coming out. It would have to be the most anticipated Oz Hip Hop record yet. It’s one every dude and his dog is waiting for. Bob Balans. I don’t really know what he’s doing. He’s incognito. He doesn’t call me and so I don’t call him.
I’ve got a couple of joints on Trem’s record. I think there might be one that’s an ode from when we met to now and shit sort of a flash back thing but stepping into the future. He said, “Get ready for that one”. I’m looking forward to hearing his record. I don’t care if I’m on it not.
How did you hook up with Beat Butcha?
I hooked up with him through Disorda. One of our first meetings was pretty funny. We went to a Ghostface show in London. I hadn’t seen Ghostface before so I was pretty excited. We got really fucking drunk that night and he was stepping all over my new sneakers, getting in my way and trying to talk to me while Ghostface was on. Generally being a drunk c*%t. The first beat disc he ever gave me never made it back to my house that evening. It could have been bad that I didn’t realise he was just trying to be friendly and have a good night with me, when I was just more interested in seeing Ghostface live.
I feel blessed that I‘ve had anything to do with the dude He gave me a few beat discs and I took them away and hand-picked every song for Fallout Shelter in sequence and basically wrote the whole thing in one go. I didn’t even need his beats sequenced in the studio. I wrote to the sequence that he gave me. Some producers do the old 8 16 8 then the next bit and he’s got all these different variations and shit and I wrote to it.
Kyza recently commented that British rappers need to focus less on the clever word play and more on making good songs. As a pretty complex rapper and a guy who’s come into the UK scene from Australia what was your thoughts on that?
That’s true, but that said, being an emcee and being in Hip Hop the aim has always been to go in the studio and to burn. There’s different ways to burn: you can either burn your foes, your imaginary foes or yourself, or you can try and challenge that concept of burning it up in the studio and coming with something new or fresh or original that will reward people with repeated listens. A lot of shit that goes down these days is just boring, clichéd and predictable. It’s like, “What are you doing Hip Hop for, man?” You’re just a gimmick or a puppet or you’re just a mimic.
You’ve been in the game for years how do you keep the motivation going?
I enjoy writing. It’s actually a release to all the things that build up in your system. It is actually therapeutic to be able to just sit back blaze a couple of joints, grab the pad and the pen and try and tune into another level of your consciousness.
What happened to your tooth?
Nothing has happened to my tooth. It’s actually a full tooth and it’s a tooth I’m very proud of. I’ve actually wanted to get it knocked out and get a straight tooth and everyone down from my grandmother to my best friend has said, “No, you can’t get rid of that. It’s you, man. It’s part of your identity”. I actually see it as a testament to how I’ve grown up as well, man. I didn’t grow up with silver spoons. In fact, basic dental care probably isn’t just for silver spooners. I come from very, very humble beginnings – commission houses out in the Victorian countryside. We didn’t have much, man. We only really started getting money when I was about ready to leave home. Anyway, my mum probably tried to get it fixed when I was younger but how was she going to get me to the dentist, man? I was a bit of a wild child.
I’ve got into bar fights in Austria over my tooth. We were out one night in Austria and after you go to the bar you go and get some schnitzel burger and some guys tried to jump into the queue and we were like, “Hey, wait your turn, bro”. We were speaking English and they were speaking German and then they spoke some broken English. It went into the tooth being a symbol of someone being a lesser person because you come from a lower monetary demographic or whatever but using that as something to try and belittle intelligence. I don’t like people who pick on people for looking different. In the end one of them copped a very hard steel chair over the head from my younger brother and it wasn’t pretty. We made a little dash. I didn’t really want to spend a night in an Austrian jail.
I’ll probably get it dipped in gold some day.
Photo at top by J.Davis