GRIME HAS BEEN PERVADING OUR HIP-HOP AT A SLOW TRICKLE AND IN DOING SO HAS LEFT A CULTURE DIVIDED. ONE ARTIST, UK EXPAT FRAKSHA COULD BE THE GUY TO CONQUER IT.
FRAKSHA interviewed @ 17:30 AEST – Monday 17th June, 2013
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
Oli ‘Fraksha’ Jones’ career sees him at the centre of a shift in tempo to the hip hop scene and is a high point of discussion as is his desire to separate himself from the direction dubstep is heading.
“Dubstep has obviously exploded in a way no one could have imagined, but it’s also changed a great deal and it’s a very different thing to what it was just a few years ago,” says Jones. “It’s funny, once it blew up you had people from the hip hop scene jumping on the bandwagon, people who hadn’t given a shit before, you never saw them at parties but then it becomes the commodity it became and now loads of people have got their ‘dubstep song’. That’s when I lost interest. The music became soulless, and a bit of a joke. There are plenty of opportunities in dubstep here, plenty of shows, but it’s taken a path I’m not interested in following.”
An MC from Slough, UK (home of David Brent and The Office), his path started with three-piece act Nine High running at 140bpm. By 2002 he was in the Street Science hip hop workshop in Melbourne’s Frankston, trading bars with the likes of Ciecmate, Reason, Hunter and more. In 2006 he relocated to Australia and stamped his own brand of what the UK had grown to appreciate and delivered it from right outside of the box – for most. He found a haven at Broken Tooth Entertainment alongside those few who understood.
“I’ve always felt I had something different to offer and that’s what I’ve tried to do at all times. I don’t feel ‘outside the box’ from the people I work with and other artists on [Broken Tooth]. That’s why I do what I do with those people, because I feel that they’re on a level and we’re coming from a similar place. I do feel distant from the Aussie hip hop scene as such,” admits Jones. “I don’t really connect with a lot of it. There is definitely a widening berth between what I and my friends do and what I see as the ‘Aussie hip hop scene’. I find a lot of it very bland and sterile to be honest; I need a bit of flavour.
“Not fitting in to the standard hip hop shit though has meant we do miss out on some opportunities and we don’t exactly ‘fit’ in anywhere really,” he laments “but that’s okay with me. I’d rather be the black sheep than part of the herd. I’m sure if I was spitting on 90bpm happy-go-lucky horn laden beats I’d be doing better for myself though.”
Jones, who also answers to the monikers Joe Bananas and Frank Sinatra, released his first full-length player titled My Way last March. With a slew of producers, including M-Phazes and Phil Gektor (Crate Cartel), Fraksha breaks the bones of rap down and grafts it together as his own. “When I first started thinking about an album I was torn between doing all grime or all rap. I thought it would sound weird mixing them up but I just couldn’t contain myself to one style and so it was always gonna be a mixture.”
Jones concludes with what seems like a health warning ahead of his My Way tour travelling out later this month. “There’s a lot of hype to our show. There’s definitely no shoegazing going on,” he emphasises. “I cover a lot of ground musically and I like to think it’s an entertaining and lively show. Fuck head nodding, I want heads skanking out!”