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Pegz: Axis of rhymes

15 years in Australian hip hop is no small feet. A talented MC, Pegz’s longevity also comes down to his prominent position the local hip-hop scene. As CEO of our largest, most consistent and arguably dopest hip hop label – Obese Records – Pegz has overseen the building of our scene and some of its most defining releases.

A man who is such an integral part of the scene could be forgiven for having a high opinion of themselves, however my recent Q&A with Pegz found him to be an MC comfortable in his own skin and a humble CEO happy to share the praise with his talented roster. For a mainstream US artist a 15 year career leads to houses, cars and jewels, so I began the interview by asking Pegz somewhat jokingly how fruitful our scene is.

15 Years in the Australian hip hop scene, you must have a few million tucked away by now?

Yeah! I have about 2 million problems.

Seriously though after a hard slog and basically no recognition it seems people are finally starting to realise how good our artists are, is it rewarding for you as a CEO/artist to see where it’s at?

I’m ecstatic that the artists are getting the recognition they deserve but we’ve got a long way to go before we bask in self glorification.  

With the success of the Hilltops, Koolism and co do you feel more pressure to “raise the bar” so to speak with your new LP?

No! I feel confident I’m on the right path seeing my peer’s accomplishments. 

As a CEO of Obese you are responsible for a label that has shaped Australian hip hop. Respected by all from artists and reviewers to the general public, are you happy with where the scene is heading?

I’m happy to be alive and have great friends which just happen to be majority of the scene. I don’t know where the scene is heading, I just know the artists are progressing at a healthy pace which is a good sign for the future.  

The thing I love about our scene is that it retains the elements of what makes hip hop great, sampling, scratches, lyricism and individuality. Do you think we can refrain from selling out US style?

Only time will tell but I think we have done our best to educate listeners with the honest and organic hip hop we create. 

Another thing I have noticed of late is each state developing there own sound, SA has the funk driven Hoods, Funkoars and co, Victoria has the battle hardened lyrics of Lyrical Commission and Art of War, while WA’s Syllobolix crew are doing there thing. Do you think this is healthy for our scene or are we stereotyping our sound?

It’s healthy to have as much diversity as possible in the scene.  

Having said that, you have always had a unique delivery and lyrical subject matter yourself, how have you grown it on release number four?

I feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin these days and hope the listeners can hear the difference. I also think I’ve made enough mistakes rushing previous releases to know the ingredients of a good album.  

Plutonic Lab lets be honest, his beats are nuts, the live feel and subtle sampling is always nice, has he provided some hot stuff for Axis?

Plutonic Lab is going to make the Moby’s and Fat Boy Slim’s of this world look like house DJs when the world knows his name. He produced 12 of the 14 tracks and every instrumental is hotter than the girls in Prahran!

Your press release describes the sound as “funky with upbeat energy” – press talk aside how would you describe the album’s tempo?

Yeah I don’t know if I’ve ever considered myself funky but my publicist must because she wrote that. I would describe the energy of the album as soulfully explosive.  

Being an SA boy I’m always checking for anything with the Hoods on it, and I was excited to see Suffa on the boards as well as featuring on This Is For Life. Tell us a bit about the track?

Suffa produced 2 tracks and both add that sweet Adelaide funk to the album. To work with my two favourite producers and the Hoods as MCs has been a spiritual experience.

I was also excited to see you have Selekt on board for cuts as the boy’s got skills. Is this a new partnership or has he always been onboard?

I have worked with Selekt on all my releases. He has the accuracy of a machine.

Where do you see Oz hip hop in 5 or 10 years? Will it be charting or will all MCs still be working in retail on the side?

I don’t know where the world will be in 5-10 years, hopefully we’ll all still be here. I know the next Hilltop Hoods record is gonna knock Kylie off the no.1 spot.

What is required on the rider for a Pegz gig?

A stomach pump and stretcher. 

You have the opportunity to work with any producer worldwide. Who would you choose? Incidentally I’d take Primo.

I believe Plutonic Lab is the best producer in the world…but I wouldn’t mind a Beatminers instrumental.  

Is Obese going to move on to dominate the world market? If so I’d like to pledge allegiance to the cause!

Thanks for the support I will have you command our legion of publicists as General Stalin. 

Well that solves my future career quandary! Tell me about your all time favourite MCs and producers, as well as the worst shit you ever heard?

Shit homie that’s a hard one. You can find my favourites at the Obese website, and if you wanna hear some of the worst shit then you’d have to find my first record!

Finally – beef, is it an integral part of hip hop or a devious money making scheme?

Beef is when egotistical grown ups act like kids.  

As they say in the classics, that was all folks. Pegz is clearly passionate about his music and I’m sure when Axis drops in the not to distant future the results will speak for themselves. As far as the broader picture of Australian hip hop in general, it’s a sage bet as long as Pegz has several fingers in the pie our scene is in safe hands. Make sure you grab Axis from a record store near you and in the meantime buy anything with the Obese Records imprint with confidence.

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