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BEST YET

Drapht - photo credit Alex Montanari
Drapht - photo credit Alex Montanari

Throughout his 20+ year tenure, Drapht has cemented himself as one of Perth and even Australia’s most recognisable and significant hip hop artists. His latest album came to fruition through a culmination of life events, self-reflection and growth and is a true testament to Drapht’s ability to remain authentic and real with everything he releases. ‘Shadows and Shinings’ is in true Drapht fashion, an album rife with humorous anecdotes, intelligent lyricism and features a massive array of other local artists and creatives from the recording process, the production of the video clips and right through to the features on the album.

With the addition of the new artists on this album came new elements along with more of a melodious sound which includes Drapht singing on a majority of tracks.

After a first listen to this record, Drapht’s self-proclamation of this being his best work yet certainly rings true.

Around the Sound‘s Tahnee Graham had a chat with Drapht following the release and ahead of the huge rural tour kicking off this Saturday, the 16th of October in Exmouth.

“With ‘Shadows and Shinings’ I just wanted to be as honest as possible to my, you know, period of time that it represented, I love being as vulnerable and as honest as possible. The album goes back to 2017 until the present moment and so much has happened within that time period, so many ups and downs. I spent a lot of that time writing half of this record in the US, came back had my daughter, then covid hit, there was just so much that happened.”

Tumultuous periods in life along with significant new chapters like the birth of a first child will certainly push someone to begin reflecting on themselves and ultimately enter a new path of growth, Drapht comments on his journey through this.

“I have always been quite reflective and always wanted to push myself as a human first and foremost. There was a particular time in the states where I had stopped drinking, I had a massive night in L.A and a big week that followed and I just thought to myself “What the fuck am I doing with my life?” I had one of those moments like “Wake up and stop wasting so much time out partying and be a bit more present and in the moment.”

The realisation to quit partying and be more present is a massive one, especially when drinking heavily is such a huge part of music and the Australian culture itself. ‘Shadows and Shinings’ contains a few songs surrounding alcohol and the consequences that come with having maybe a few too many, specifically the song ‘Oh Shit’ which is one of only 3 songs on the album that doesn’t contain a feature from another artist. In a prior interview with Around The Sound, Drapht stated he wanted to feature and work with local artists, and he has certainly succeeded with sticking to his word with this latest release.

“I just wanted to work with friends. I wanted to have people involved that knew who I was from a personal perspective, who understood my process and would bring more to the project itself in terms of the energy that was involved. I didn’t want to work with people that were just part of the industry that would help push the project just off namesake. I’ve spent so much time in the past trying to work with industry people that I didn’t quite have a friendship with where I just felt exhausted after working with them. This time I just wanted to keep it as personal as possible and most importantly just put the energy back into Perth including the friends I came up with ‘Laylah’, ‘Dazastah’, ‘Hunter’, ‘Graphic’ (Clandestien) and ‘Mortar’ and just a bunch of people I’ve been kicking it around with for the last 20 years.”

With the addition of the new artists on this album came new elements along with more of a melodious sound which includes Drapht singing on a majority of tracks.

“With that I just wanted to be as honest and authentic as possible to myself and not have a hip-hop theme dictate what I wanted to do. It’s never made sense to me, people from the outside telling you how you should express yourself and that you need to follow a certain set of rules/regulations that don’t speak to you as a person. The purist mentality has never sat well with me and ever since ‘Who Am I’ I’ve pushed away from that and strived to be myself and express myself freely. You have to be true to your influences as well, a lot of the stuff I was and am influenced by is 60s rock, a lot of Beatles and Nina Simone and a lot of old soul. I have always gravitated to more melody especially within my later catalogue, I just love it. I think secretly I want to be in a rock band as well.”

Maybe next time Drapht hits the road he’ll have an entourage of a rock band but for now he’s heading back to rural W.A with his friends ‘Complete’, ‘Bitter Belief’ and ‘Greesy’. Not a lot of local artists tend to hit the rural areas of W.A but Drapht has consistently made this decision regardless of the inability to travel east due to COVID restrictions. Is this a more feasible option for an artist of his calibre or is this something more should capitalise on?

“There’s a lot of tiers as to why I do this. Number One, I love hitting the road. I love going on a road trip, jumping in a van and going from town to town playing shows, is a huge passion of mine. I think rurally people are so appreciative there’s a different level of excitement whenever we do shows there. I am super grateful I’ve had the last 15 years to work on a listenership that will support me outside of capital cities. I never want to stop playing rural shows, we don’t have to jump on a plane for the most part, especially when it comes to W.A, we jump in a van and hit the road for 15 days. There’s just so much we can do. I just hope even though we played last August and we’re doing it again that I’m not saturating the market and people aren’t getting sick of me.”

‘Shadows and Shinings’ deluxe edition is available now containing even more impressive features from some of Perth’s OG’s of hip-hop along with a lot of new up-and-coming local artists. Find all streaming and purchase information here, make sure you learn the lyrics and check out each track ahead of catching Drapht in your town. Tickets to the upcoming shows can be found here.

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