Album two is where it’s at for the man with the Maggot Mouf. It’s like the golden era of our local scene that keeps on going. Like the Christmas gift that keeps on giving, Maggot describes things as good and healthy right now. “Aussie hip hop is most definitely still in its element.” Last time we spoke, he described the “music coming out of the drivers in local studios as the best it has been”. Little is changing, it seems, and Aussie hip hop is still doing us proud and standing on the global stage – well and truly – on its own two feet.
First time around, we spoke about Mag’s first full-length release, a bit of a collaborative effort. “I wanted the first album to be a personal kind of vibe; the lyrics and rhymes were more about topical type stuff. It was really about my personal life but there were twists of humor in there as well.” This time – album two – things are different, but only subtly.
So the new album is titled Runnin’ with Scissors and Mag explains where he was going with the whole thing: “I tried to keep the same vibe with this album for the most part; a lot of the reason for that was because the vibe worked for me last time. This time, it’s different in a way because of the choice of concepts. I tried to do things I hadn’t done before. I did stuff like tracks with off-time beats and stuff; it was partly about keeping it fresh but it was also partly me trying to challenge myself a little as well.”
Wanting to continue too, the move away from the traditional to-be-expected hip hop that is around the place, he makes no apologies for not following trends. “I like the raw and driving direction in the music I’m making right now. There is a lot of grime around; Iast time I had my boys Sammy Scissors, Must and Ciecmate doing the honours on the production – and the beats were sort of up and down – different but with the same sort of feel if you know what I mean?” And he isn’t negative on it, rather descriptive.
“Pretty much after I wrapped up that last album, I started getting some new beats; I kept hassling my man and we decided we were going to really move forward on the next album. We were just doing crazy numbers of beats – like there were 50 and 100 beats there. All of the guys from the crew gel really well and we’d start on a song and slowly it would come together to make an album. It’s nice having the luxury of being able do choose from a whole bunch of tracks when you’re writing, you know?”
Indeed, lyrically the evolution of style and substance has been relatively subtle as well. “I did have a certain vibe last time but there were ideas and concepts there that I’ve kind of developed and changed up a little bit. This time it was more about thinking on certain situations. The ‘thief on the hunt’ – these are the things I wanted to rap about. It’s still the day-to-day stuff mixed with some humour but the songs have a different and more random kind of feel to them. There were a lot of tracks that ended up being started on an afternoon that turned into all-night studio sessions. Last time, these didn’t last – they didn’t make it. But this time it felt right.
“So for me, the music out now is definitely getting better from when I started hearing it on radio. Back in the day, people were doing some cool stuff, but it was simple rhyming. The old cats got older and the new cats came up and their new stuff is getting played now. Sure there’s stuff out there that I don’t like as well, but I reckon if you haven’t got anything positive to say, then why say anything at all?” Fair enough too, when you consider the industry is definitely becoming more saturated and the challenge is standing out from the crowd.
“That’s all I’m trying to do. I sort of came up in the golden era of hip hop around the early ‘90s and it’s much harder to dig out the good stuff now, for sure. There is a lot more cheese and you don’t feel as comfortable picking up and buying a CD if you don’t know anything about it. You don’t want the stuff that’s the same-same.”
Finally, the Maggot Mouf show is hitting a stage near you in the near future. “Yeah, I’m really looking forward to hitting the stage with my man and delivering some of the same energy we always do. We’re just going to get down and party.”
Maggot Mouf’s [AUS] Runnin’ with Scissors is available now through Broken Tooth Entertainment.