Samoan-born MC Feelstyle has long been lauded amongst Aotearoa's hip hop elite for his ability to craft music in both his native Samoan and English. The rapper earned a place in the history books, under the name RIQ, when he edged out Upper Hutt Posse to win the country's first ever MC battle in 1987. He's been in demand since, working closely with a list of Kiwi music's who's who and dominating the 2005 Pacific Music Awards with debut album Break It To Pieces.
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.
Shot on location, this gleeful clip could double as a travel promo for beautiful Samoa. In the absence of special effects, the video radiates warmth and sincerity, aided by remarkably slick editing and a cheeky sense of humour. Director Chris Graham also helmed clips for hip hop classics 'Brother' and 'Not Many'.
In this offering from the Loading Docs series, Kiwi/Samoan hip hop artist Kas Futialo (Tha Feelstyle) journeys back to a place called the Crossroads (Le Māgafā) in Faleasi'u, the Samoan village where as a child he imagined his future. Here four parts of himself — spiritual, cultural, creative and the everyday — meet in the space where the dirt roads merge. The result is more storytelling than documentary, expanding on Futialo's metaphor for life and hip hop. The use of black and white film creates a timeless quality. Director Sani Salanga is also known as hip hop artist Dei Hamo.
"E tu stand proud, kia kaha say it loud", Dean Hapeta's lyrics typify the socio-political messages in NZ's early rap music. The four elements of hip hop: breakdancing, graffiti, DJ-ing and rap are examined through interviews with key players in the hip hop scene (including King Kapisi, Che Fu, Upper Hutt Posse). A recurring theme in the Sima Urale-directed documentary is that local hip hop artists are less interested in the "girls, booze and bling" school of hip hop, and more interested in using their art to make a political statement.
It’s Samoan Language Week and Tom Natoealofa says “Talofa!” to kick off Tagata Pasifika's Aotearoa award-nominated coverage of the 2011 Polynesian Blue Pacific Music Awards. Natoealofa co-hosts with Angela Tiatia, from the TelstraClear Pacific (now Vodafone) Events Centre in Manukau. The awards honour everything from gospel to urban. Nesian Mystik take out a trifecta including the big one, and Ladi 6 also wins. In the last clip Annie Crummer picks up a Lifetime Achievement gong, and the Ponsonby Methodist Church Choir perform her song ‘See What Love Can Do’.
Directed by Miki Magasiva (brother of actors Robbie and Pua), this clip uses eye candy CGI to showcase a range of sharply-dressed youths dancing on a turntable — including a girl who appears to have a broken arm. Hip hop artist Tha Feelstyle handles verses; Boh Runga (who sang the chorus) does not make an appearance. Soane himself appears roughly four minutes in, to wrangle the wheels of steel. Sadly the Tongan-born doorman turned DJ would die of a heart attack in November 2014.
Chris Graham studied filmmaking in New York before returning to NZ and forging a reputation through distinctive promos for well known Aotearoa musicians (Scribe, Trinity Roots). He made his feature film debut with comedy hit Sione's Wedding (2006), closely followed by horror movie The Ferryman.