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Aotearoa Hip Hop

Curated by DJ Sir-vere
3rd May 2010

 Aotearoa Hip Hop

Aotearoa Hip Hop

 DJ Sir-vere

Curated by DJ Sir-vere



Rip it Up editor and hip hop supremo, Philip Bell (DJ Sir-vere) drops his Top 10 selection of Aotearoa hip hop music videos. The clips mark the evolution of an indigenous style, from the politically conscious (Dam Native, King Kapisi) to the internationalists (Scribe, Savage). It includes iconic, award-winning efforts from directors Chris Graham, Jonathan King, and more.


DJ Sir-vere's Top Ten NZ hip hop music videos

 Behold My Kool Style

Future feature film director, Jonathan King, directed this 1996 NZ Music Awards Best Video winner. The colonial-styled set and beautifully realised details (tokotoko and Edwardian suits) make for an effective back-drop to the political lyrics. DJ Sir-vere: “An original Aotearoa classic”

 Scene III

Che Fu goes Kung Fu and travels to a music video version of Chinatown, for this opium-smoked, shadowy Alicia Williams-directed clip. The oriental styles suit the mellow groove of the song right up to the Mao collars. As always, Fu puts in a great performance, as an infatuated singer.

 Stop, Drop & Roll

Director Sophie Findlay offers a humourous take on all those army films (Full Metal Jacket, Tigerland et al) and TV shows with the bad-arse drill sergeant and badgered recruits. Mareko barks orders to the beat to his troops, the Deceptikonz. “Great fun, and a killer club track.” DJ Sir-vere.

 Summer in the Winter

A simple but evocative music video shot on the streets of South Auckland, in a mix of black and white and colour. The sets are concrete wasteland industrial and the grittiness provides a fitting backdrop to this tale of post-migration PI life that became a hit single in 1996.

 Think Twice

An effective black and white performance video for this charity single aimed at encouraging young people to ‘Think Twice’. It features NZ hip hip royalty: Che Fu, Scribe, P-Money, Savage and DJ Sir-vere (who initiated the project): “possibly one of the things I’ve done that I’m most proud of.”


Smashproof's message to South Auckland youth is delivered via an original drive-by concept. “Little needs to be said about this incredible song, other than it’s a slice of NZ musical history, and Chris Graham’s video is the perfect companion.” DJ Sir-vere. Featuring Gin Wigmore.


Acclaimed music video director Kerry Brown was in charge of this strong performance-based video featuring bold urban-Pacific imagery. DLT and singer Che Fu deliver great performances, and the result is a video that sweetly complements this chart-topping track.

 Not Many (remix)

This clip uses black and white hues to make monochrome magic for Scribe and his crusading crew (Savage, P-Money, Footsouljahs, etc). DJ Sir-vere: "The peak of popularity for NZ Hip Hop, [director] Chris Graham once again came through with the goods and a nod to a classic Craig Mack clip.”

 Screems from da Old Plantation

“Samoa mo Samoa!” - King Kapisi blends his Samoan roots with hip hop culture in this video shot on Samoa's ring road. The hip hop music video standby of the drive-by gets revised Pasifika-style. “Rarely have we seen an artist looking like they are having so much fun.” DJ Sir-vere.

 Su'Amalie / Ain't Mad at You

Shot on location, Chris Graham's gleeful clip could double as a travel promo for beautiful Samoa. The video radiates warmth and sincerity, “again, Graham provides the video magic ... it’s a compelling look at Tha Feelstyle revisiting his homeland and contains some touching moments.” DJ Sir-vere

Aotearoa hip hop - a personal history

Aotearoa hip hop - a personal history

DJ Sir Vere: “I’ve seen hip hop in this country go from being an exciting, brand-new culture, to setting NZ chart records ...”. Read More>

"E tu stand proud, kia kaha say it loud"

2003 doco, Hip Hop New Zealand, directed by Sima Urale looks at key players and at the politics of the music. View excerpts here>

2001 Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit

2001 Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit

A documentary showcasing the landmark NZ hip hop assembly. Che Fu, King Kapisi, P-Money and DJ Sir-vere feature. View full doco here>

Homegrown Che Fu

Homegrown Che Fu

This 2005 episode of C4's Homegrown Profiles series looks at Che Fu, from Supergroove to hit single 'Chains' (with DLT). View Here>