SAMMSONITE TELLS RIP NICHOLSON WHY BRIS 30 ROCK HIP HOPPERS, THE OPTIMEN WOULD NEVER SURVIVE IN THE BUILDING GAME.
THE OPTIMEN interviewed @ 13.30 AEST – Friday 27th August, 2010
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
The boomtown OPees known for putting it down for their river city over the years have verged on the national scene, touring the east coast recently and selling their latest output, 4 month old The Out Of Money Experience – the most professional drop from Brisbane five-piece The Optimen who feel they’ve come a long way since their 2003 Boomtown debut. Putting it into perspective, Samuel ‘Sammsonite’ Grace paints the out of money experience that the boys went through in creating their first album before leading Queensland to the forefront of Aussie hip hop, coming off their second LP and leading the local hip hop contingent at this year’s upcoming Valley Fiesta.
“When we did Boomtown we were literally all unemployed and we’d just meet up everyday and grab a couple of tallies,” Grace recalls of their early days. “I remember there was a house being built at the back of where I was living, and we thought, if we make an album faster than they can build a house, then we’re on track.
“They built the house, did the garden, did the landscaping, moved in and were there for a year before we could finish the album,” he laughs. “It was a long process man, it was cool but you know, we were young and we were kinda just kicking it and not sure about what we were doing. So you’re redoing stuff all the time, constantly doubting what you’ve got. Then after that we had a big break.”
2005 brought about the well-received Boomtown, but for five years The Opees went static, focusing on their individual careers before snapping back for 2007’s The Optimen present: Red Tape Renegades Vol 1 compilation. They established themselves as contenders across the state scene and flexed on label mates Pure Product’s opening release before leading Queensland back into the running with The Out Of Money Experience in April.
Adding a funk and swing element to the latest drop reflected a more mature approach from the 80’s babies. The Out of Money Experience took The Optimentoa new platform of exploration. “We could never do another record like Boomtown,” Grace offers.
The ideology and name of the second album may have been born out of the recent global financial crisis experienced but Sam explains it goes deeper, through the ribcage to the heart of what hip hop is supposed to be about – relating The Out Of Money Experience to a time when simply cutting wax into dope beats constituted hip hop.
“When it was conceived it was about these dudes who didn’t have any money to go into a studio so they were finding samples of records from dudes that could afford a studio and jacked it, made loops and made hip hop that way. It’s always been the way of hip hop to be more efficient with money. And you could make a record really cheap,” Grace says.
“I mean you could go into St Vinnies and buy a couple of records and if you can get a good samples you can make hip hop like that,” he says snapping his fingers. “and that’s the kind of idea we wanted for The Out Of Money Experience.”