FLEXING REAL STREET APPEAL, HIS EXPORTED BRAND OF HIP-HOP HAS RAPPER, BUKKCITY RELEASING HIS GRITTY STORY BIT-BY-BIT TO OUR SUBURBAN CULTURE.
BUKKCITY interviewed @ 11.30 AEST – 17th March, 2009
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
How do you integrate an MC who fed off the original culture into a suburban-fed bastard-culture a world away? From the bowels of the East Coast, home of hip hop Andre Knight – aka Bukkcity – is the pure product, and after one hit of Bukk the gravity of difference is felt. After samples of 1st and 15th and Underbelly hit the streets and the OzMusic award winner’s circle twice, Knight is now releasing his music, unrefined and real. Neither typically US or Australian by distinction, with the weight of a lifetime not expected to surpass 25 years, his music is unlike in the Australian scene. Same Place is the half-weight album dropped on us before the full pound of his true story is pushed.
Our scene dictates a trend of festival-happy swingers at backyard BBQs rotating on a hot Hills Hoist. Trying to fit in, Same Place’s leading track of the album, ‘Normality’ gives insight on what was once normal to a New Jeru-bred rapper and speaks volumes on how heavy life can be where Knight comes from.
‘Police brutality and seeing my once close friends become casualties / cleaning dope needles off the mantelpiece till my family took her life so casually.’
The words don’t have that much effect, because it’s so unreal, it’s almost movie-like where people are desensitised to the issues. If I say that in Jersey, they’d be like, ‘Yeah, so what? I know this guy that had something happen to him, that guy, this guy’,” Knight offers. “Here you got animal laws, like if you treat a dog wrong you got cops on your ass about stuff like that, whereas you go overseas and life is so cheap.
“I wrote a song on the album called ‘Can’t Blame Me’ which talks about child soldiers, inspired by that movie, Blood Diamond. I wanted people to see how far we are away from the tragedies and chaos that are happening around the world and how lucky we are to be in such a comfortable environment.”
Knight was born in Canberra, and within a year, the family uprooted to America. Growing up in New Jersey, he carried more hood-swagger than most glorified gangsta rappers. Bukk paid some heavy debt to society. With prison rec-yard swell, the bulking rapper resides in Melbourne and has been for a few years.
“The last time I was in back there I got locked up for two years, and as soon as I got released I flew right the fuck back over here. Fuck that place I don’t even go there no more.” Bukk chuckles off, “I didn’t initially come here to be a rapper, I give a fuck about rap. I came here to change my life.”
With his freedom hanging in the balance he immigrated to Australia to avoid further prosecution. Divulging the full magnitude of what Bukk has gone through only overwhelms our culture.. Adapting to the socially ironic raps down here is yet another case to fight. “I found it very awkward, because I was doing hip-hop that I knew – from the original source where I grew up. They have such a different opinion and perspective about it here,” he says.
The UnderK9 label has to somewhat drip-feed him into our scene slowly, the full extent not to be revealed until the follow-up. Same Place is only the beginning – all Bukk, no fillers, no collabs, the sound of which gives imagery to the stories that lay behind the tracks.
“As you hear, I’m not coming here with that club bling-bling shit, I will never release that,” he says. “This music that I choose to release has to have substance. If come out with ‘hey bitch, shake ya ass’ then write me off.”