From Big Things Comes Scribe
Author: Andrew Hughes
"We did gigs around Christchurch and the South Island for two years, pretty solid, from '97 to '99 and that's where I met Ali".
After the group disbanded Scribe and Ali Toto stayed tight. DJ Ali, co-organiser of the annual Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit, is now Christchurch's veteran hip hop DJ, hosting radio shows and live events. Earlier this year the duo released a mix tape titled 'The Boilup' which has proven popular in Auckland. Scribe plays host with Ali mixing and scratching.
"We had always planned to put out a mix tape, it just never happened because we have all these other things that we do. The opportunity came up where we were both at his house, so we just made a mix tape over a couple of days. I came up with the name, it's a piss take and a bunch of our favourite songs basically."
A resident of Christchurch for over 20 years, Scribe is now based in Auckland but is in no hurry to forget about his hometown.
"It's not about east or west, nothing like that, or North Island vs South Island, it just comes down to representing where you're from. Everyone writes about their environment, but I'm definitely representing Christchurch hard on my album."
Recording his vocals at Kog meant a limited 13 days studio time - Scribe averaging two songs per day. At this hasty rate, he managed to record what was needed for the album and still have studio time to write two extra tracks which he says will be recorded in better quality sound booths.
'The Crusader' is due to hit stores in October. Not surprisingly it features the likes of P-Money, Ali, and DJ Shan in beat production roles as well as Ladi6 and Tyna from Dubious Bros. on the lyrical tip. Scribe helped produce some of the beats but says he was after a variation of sounds on the album.
"I try not to be restricted to one kind of style. I've got some happy songs, I've got some dark shit and I've got some cool shit. So I'm trying to make a complete album that's not just dark, but also colourful".
Where many artists struggle to find a way of stretching their sound to reach a wider audience, Scribe manages this with ease. Witness those P-Money tracks Synchronize Thoughts, '99's b-Net award winning Sunshine, Remember? and the new banger Stand Up.
Scribe's lyrical skill plus P Money's rock-infused beat on Stand Up has helped the single reach new audiences - 91ZM and Mai FM as well as A rotate on Channel Z - airplay that even P-Money couldn't conjure up.
Chris Graham, who has worked with the likes of Bic Runga, TrinityRoots and King Kapisi, was charged with creating a video for Stand Up to catch the youthful eye. They wanted it to be more like a rock clip than a hip hop video. Shot in one day around Real Groovy record store in Auckland, with 35mm film, the result is an energy driven riot scene, complete with cameos from nearly every one of hip hop's local elite, plus over 100 extras. Funding came from NZ On Air as well as Dirty Records.
"And Red Bull contributed big time," Scribe laughs. "100 people on Red Bulls - you can't go wrong!"
The video includes some overt T-shirt promotion and I ask if he will be joining King Kapisi in the clothing industry. "Definitely at some stage. It's cool because I own my own merchandising, but it's pretty much in its teething stages. I'm talking to a screenprinter at the moment and we're doing some designs."
We have witnessed Scribe evolve and mature as an MC over the past four years. As his dreams become reality he assures me that his rhyming discipline is still in action.
"I started off doing underground stuff, at radio shows freestyling, trying to get guest appearances, then I started doing gigs and then support for groups like Bone Thugs 'n Harmony, then I began to do videos and now an album, so it's been level after level.
"I think that I'm evolving still, I keep trying to go to the next level, but the day I do stop progressing I think that will be the day I give up, because there really will be no point. I can't see myself trying to crack a number one album when I'm 40."