Welcome to Canada Mr. Butta. Introduce yourself.
P-Butta’s the name. I am an emcee and producer, and a BOOMtown (Brisbane, Australia) representative, who’s heavily behind all of the elements that help hip hop progress. At the age of nine, I spent $30 on what would become my bible: Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers. This obviously played a major part in pushing me into the culture that I’ve found in clubs, tunnels and people in every city I’ve been. It is this culture that keeps feeding the fire inside and out, and keeps me wanting more from and for this international community of ours.
How would you describe your style?
Smooth delivery but dropping topics with a crunch… keeping in line with the P-Butta theme. As far as emceeing, I don’t like to have any specific style, but I love to rhyme, and don’t try hide it. I am also a big believer in using the microphone to say something relevant, and enjoy twisting my joints with double-meanings, and underlying themes to keep it interesting for both myself, and the listener.
What brought you to Vancouver?
While I was putting together my recent release: Entrenched, I met Chronic Sythe, of Ill-Legitimate (Canada), who was in Australia to work with the king of Bris: Robby Balboa (who is featured on Entrenched). For me it was a very necessary connect, as I was lacking dope beats — I didn’t want to use any of mine on the first joint — and Sythe had plenty. This is why half of beats for the album are from him.
While finishing the CD, I decided that I’d release it in Canada and then the UK before dropping it in Australia. As soon as I had my master, I took off to Vancity where I have just released the album Canada-wide. I am currently working with Ill-Legitimate, and a number of other Vancouver artists, creating the first half of a Canada-UK-Australia album to be released 2010. So in short, I came to check out what Van has to offer.
Vancity’s Ill-Legitimate records has a lengthy and deep relationship to and with many Australian rappers. What’s the story there?
Ill-Legit, brought the heat to Brisbane, and left having worked with some of our best crews and artists. They went on tour through three different states, gaining recognition for their really tight shows, but more importantly for their real hip hop. It’s hard to find hip-hoppers in it with the realness, and without the fronts. They’re dope cats to work with.
What’s the difference between Brisbane’s (Australia’s) hip hop scene and Vancouver’s?
On the surface the hip hop appears to be quite different, but when you get down to the core it’s really very similar. But to give a general feel: hip hop is more prominent here in terms of involvement in, and general acceptance of, the music. But in every city I’ve chilled for a while, there have been different values placed behind the many elements. Brisbane lays claim to some of the best graffiti artists in hip hop today, with writers like Sofles, Seiko, and crews like WTCS and DTS working hard to ensure our scene is ever-present in an aesthetically pleasing way. Our street art team always has and will feed my inspiration for the music I make.
What sort of influences are there on Australia’s hip hop scene that you don’t hear in American or Canadian rap?
Until recently, the Australian scene has been intent on keeping that old-school, true-to-hip hop mentality, which I have to admit is a really cool way to be brought into the music. In the last ten years the mentality has flipped, from keeping the focus strictly on Ozzyism, to allowing the music to progress and emcees to keep tracks more relevant to what’s on the table, opening us to a broader, hip hop audience. This has seen artists like Hilltop Hoods, and Bliss & Esso touring in a number of different countries to a good reception, where they’ve ripped it up.
How long did it take to make and release your debut, Entrenched?
I had been throwing ideas around for a couple of years then went to England in 2006, where I started bedding down ideas that I would build off when I returned to Brisbane. The first completed track didn’t happen til the start of 2008, and from there it took me ten months to finish and get the masters. From there I came to Canada, and within two months had the CD pressed and released Canada wide in HMVs and on I-tunes. So all together it took a long time, but if I break it down to how long from Entrenched’s first recording to its release, it took nearly two years. And it was worth every minute of it.