KIWI RAPPER SID DIAMOND REPORTS ON THE NEW YOUNG SID ALBUM, WHICH REPORTS ON THE DARK LIFE OF NEW ZEALAND.
YOUNG SID interviewed @ 13:30 AEST 27th October, 2009
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
Of late, Young Sid has emerged as being one of the premier MCs to rise from the long clouds of New Zealand. Briefly apart from his Smashproof massive and on his second solo album, Young Sid is back from New York with What Doesn’t Kill Me, a bottom line message to the struggling classes across NZ’s inner cities.
Diamond is a product of an alcoholic mother and drug dealing father raised in Manakau City’s Hood Otara in Auckland’s south and home to the notorious street gangs Tribesmen and The Killer Beez. The latter incorporated Young Sid in a campaign for the gang-tied Colourways Records label in 2008, landing the MC in a lot of negative press heat to which Diamond responded on his new album’s ‘You’ by simply stating “I’m a writer before a role model” – he also once declared live that he’s not connected to the gang, but he’s the realist and represents the boys in the hood to the fullest.
Growing up, Diamond kept his headphones injected into NWA to avoid the gang pull and at 11 years young recorded raps as part of the short-lived Murder Squad well before Smashproof and their thundering record-breaking success. It wasn’t until 2005 while attending uni when Diamond followed rapper Deach into Tyree’s Smashproof and signed with Move The Crowd Records. He soon dropped the ed and went MC and two years later MTC released his debut solo The Truth, which took home the Maori Urban Album of the Year and was nominated as Hip Hop Album of the Year at the 2008 New Zealand Music Awards. It was the first release to get the New York treatment and on 2010’s What Doesn’t Kill Me Diamond took another bite from the Apple with leading producer Emile, who can be responsible for the serious tone in Sid’s follow-up album.
“I travelled back to NYC to record half of my second solo with producer Emile, who is one of the reasons behind Kid Cudi’s success. He has production on Eminem and Ice Cube’s albums along with other artists in America. The second half of this album was recorded in NZ with Melbourne duo Twice As Nice on production.”
Taking advantage of time spent abroad, Diamond took the work ethic of where hip hop is serious business home with him. “Everybody is working extra hard over there to better themselves so when I came back to NZ I just worked as hard as the American artist… if you’re a musician you should never take it for granted.”
Through both albums, Sid has maintained his stoic hometown pride by being the voice of many downtrodden cries, repping his neighbourhood with words rather than colours. On ‘You’ Diamond comes in pissed off but with heartfelt intention with an empathic word to those worse off.
“[The album] is definitely is a wakeup call for New Zealand,” Diamond writes, having commited to this credo on the album through countless recent write ups. “I wrote this album to provoke thought and I wanted to write songs that came straight from the heart rather than let an A&R dictate how my shit is going to be like and selling my soul for a Top 20 song.”