WITH ALL THE BLUSTER YOU’D HOPE FOR FROM A FEISTY FEMALE MC, SKY’HIGH TELLS RIP NICHOLSON SHE’S NOT ABOUT MAKING BAD MUSIC – EVER.
SKY’HIGH interviewed @ 12:00 AEST Tuesday 12th June, 2012
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
There is a new femcee fatale in the Australian hip hop scene, with real streetwise bravado – Skh’ai Temalesi Gerrey, better pronounced as Sky’High on the street level where her raw and uncompromising rhymes lick out to whomever dares to be within earshot. Neither shy nor humble, the Sydney MC delivers her vernacular with such a voracious appetite, that her frantic overflow off debut LP Forever Sky’High may lead some to align her with the likes of UK’s Lady Sovereign or Queens, New York’s Nicki Minaj.
The debutante has other ideas however, insisting she spits unlike anyone else. “No, I don’t spit in accents; I spit Sky’High. When you’re hearing my music, you’re hearing me!” Gerrey emphasises, “No mix in my shit I like it straight up. If people confuse me with a UK MC, I don’t give a fuck as long as my music is comin’ out ya speakers.”
Gerrey, who has earned her stripes with a slew of mixtapes and YouTube hits before inking the dotted line with Elefant Traks, has employed the services of New Zealand’s premier hip hop producer, P-Money (Scribe, David Dallas, Vince Harder). On Forever Sky’High his beats flex from the rock-riffing opener of Let’s Just, to the grimey dubstep of Reign, to the psychedelic Carnival and the hip hop muscles of Don Dada and Forever Gone. While P-Money’s variety may add a little to the confusion to the project’s genre, her style has proven to be scattered by design, and by her own admission Gerrey firmly believes, “You can’t label me, I make good music. If I need to fit into a ‘box’, gonna have to make a new genre. Just call it ‘Sky’High’.”
Gerrey maintains her roots are too embedded for her to be considered anything other than a Sydney MC and may have otherwise developed a hemispherical identity to her tunes. “I’m too Sydney City for that to happen. But like I’ve said before, I make good music and I work with the best to make that happen. That’s it,” boasts Gerrey. “If anything, my album is a ‘Southern Hemisphere’ collaboration. At the end of the day nobody is going to give a shit what [nationality] you are if you’re good at what you do. But again, I’m Sydney City. I do me! I’m as Sky’High as Sky’High gets.”
“AT THE END OF THE DAY NOBODY IS GOING TO GIVE A SHIT WHAT [NATIONALITY] YOU ARE IF YOU’RE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO. BUT AGAIN, I’M SYDNEY CITY. I DO ME! I’M AS SKY’HIGH AS SKY’HIGH GETS!”
Rather than shopping her music around for a palette of different beatsmiths to paint the album’s soundscape, Gerrey’s chemistry with P-Money was well-fitted and there was no need to look elsewhere. “Yeah It was a bit like that,” she laughs. “P and I work well together – don’t need to shop around if we can make the best shit it together already. So yeah, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”
Gerrey was dragged up hard out of the housing commissions of South Sydney. A colourful upbringing of family influences, with her grandmother a King’s Cross go-go dancer and mother managing strip clubs, the diversity of Sky’High comes from a Fijian, Scottish and Aboriginal ancestry. Her hardcore narrative reflects the personal woes, drug addiction and confronting street life that have formed a curvature of authenticity and given her the backbone to go full time into her chosen path into music, a career driven at full throttle toward a gutter rap movement unseen at this level in Australia before. “I have never and will never work a normal nine to five. Fuck your nine to five. I never stop working and my music is me, I ain’t succeeded yet… still in the process.” Upon reflection, Gerrey insists that Forever Sky’High didn’t come out exactly as she had hoped for, but of course, it’s work the MC can be proud of. “No, [Forever Sky’High is] not as I had envisioned; but of course it’s good, ‘cause I wrote it and I’m not about making bad music. Ever! I’m only giving you a taste of what’s to come… It’s only going to get better and better.”