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Drapht blows in



Perth 'skip-hopper' Drapht is riding high. Perth 'skip-hopper' Drapht is riding high.

THE winds of change are sweeping through 'skip-hop' and Perth rapper Drapht is right in the thick of the action.

The local MC (aka Paul Ridge) has sent the music industry abuzz with his catchy ditty Rapunzel garnering high rotation on triple J and commercial radio, and reaching Platinum sales status on the ARIA singles chart.

Admittedly, the modest muso said the feat would have been unheard of a decade ago when home-grown hip-hop was still entrenched as an 'underground' culture.

“When I first started, no Aussie hip-hop was getting played on commercial radio,” he said.

“I'd never consider one of my songs be played, let alone have two singles (2009 hit Jimmy Recard proved his breakthrough)…it's beyond belief.”

Last Friday, Drapht 'dropped' his fourth album, The Life of Riley, signalling his departure from niche urban label Obese Records, and releasing via his own label, The Ayems, with distribution through Sony Music.

Drapht - a former roof carpenter who boldly pursued music full-time at the age of 25 - explained the decision to branch out on his own was in line with the liberating theme underpinning the album.

“The Life of Riley is based around the old Irish quote of living the good life, but I took it more to living the life you you want to live and not abiding by society's pressure,” he offered.

“A lot of friends just got pushed into trades, have been with the same girlfriends since high school and are working towards having a family and house by 30.

“(Leaving Obese) went back to that whole concept - I really wanted to push my own music and not have to work for the man and line someone else's pockets with money, but rather put money back into the pocket that works the hardest.”

While Drapht is riding the wave of Aussie hip-hop's ground-breaking penetration into the mainstream (for which he attributes to his Perth pals Downsyde and Adelaide's Hilltop Hoods), local up-and-coming rappers' futures are under threat due to a lack of suitable live venues following the closure of North Perth's Hyde Park Hotel.

“It's really hard for younger MCs to get a venue now, but back in the day when I started performing, I could go to the Hydey on a Monday night and do as I wish,” he said.

“It's purely got to do with the trouble that the culture attracts - it's got a real stigma - and the aggressive nature of hip-hop with fights and graffiti.

“But that's only 10 per cent of the scene - if people really knew what the culture and artists were about, it would open up their minds a lot more.”

Drapht plays Groovin' the Moo, Bunbury, on May 14 and Metro City, Northbridge, on May 20.

Emilia Vranjes

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