From time spent in a psych ward to “unwarranted attention from police”, Rates raps about his life “which has really been a roller coaster”, he tells Rip Nicholson.
RATES interviewed May 13, 2016
For Street Press Australia [VIEW HERE]
Images by Gavin Creative.
“I believe we are slowly becoming a police state,” warns Rates, referring to Enemy, his latest offering off new album Untold. “I just want to spread that awareness.
“There is a lot of unwarranted attention from police. There are certain things that have happened to me that weren’t necessary and I’m sure there are a lot of people that can relate,” Rates admits.
As well as being the older brother to Australia’s most polarising rap identity in Kerser, Rates has lived a tale or two of his own. A native of Campbelltown in Sydney’s outer-west, he too directs his energy into rap music to take him away from troubling beginnings. Rates’ persona was first cut out on the rap battle circuits where he licked competitors with a flow so ferocious his lyrics will rip your throat out, he raps.
“Since the birth of my daughter my priorities have changed. I just want to provide and protect her.”
If there’s one thing you can take away from a Rates album, it’s the serum of realism and lack of hyperbole. However, if his story is to be told then it’s best to be depressurised slowly through his Nightmare trilogy of tracks peeking over the darkened walls of his mind state.
Nightmare (one) finds him in a psych ward, sent in to fight off his mental illness, going introspective over and above the blur of meds. The second finds him digging himself out of an awareness of those around him, while the third instalment finds Rates dealing with the reality of being a rapper and shedding his demons. So personal and confronting this series was for the MC that he hopes to never have to revisit it.
“Those experiences for me were a nightmare for me, so hopefully I won’t have to do another one,” he says. “A lot of the things I talk, some fans might not have known or heard about until it’s right in front of them, you know?” replies Rates when asked why he lays out his real-life issues on record. “So, through my music and what I feel is going on, maybe it will inspire them to pick up and learn about what’s going on. So I hope that the track kinda clears up.”
One of the biggest changes to Rates’ life since his debut drop Destroy & Rebuild (2013) is fatherhood. They say it changes your whole outlook and priorities in life. For Rates, who welcomed his baby daughter late last year, never a truer word has been rapped. “Definitely, man. Since the birth of my daughter my priorities have changed. I just want to provide and protect her. For years I’ve been trying to get somewhere with my music and I hadn’t completely developed my sound where I wanted it. But, once Ava was born, it was quite strange, suddenly everything clicked into place,” he confides. “Definitely the best thing that ever happened to me.”
From the hard-hitting End Of Discussion, which finds him in high energy over an alt-rock riff, to dipping low on the more melodic track Right Now that follows, serving up a soother subject, the ebb and flow of a Rates album is charted.
“I wanted it to have that roller coaster feel to it. And it reflects my life which has really been a roller coaster.”