Feature: Young Sid - Bringin' Home The Truth
Author: Gareth Shute
"I first started listening to hip hop when I was real little. It probably would've been when NWA first came out, I grew up on that stuff. Even when I first went to primary school, I'd be rapping and dropping lyrics and getting in trouble for it ... Ever since then
I've been just listening to hip hop, all the way through."
As he got older, Young Sid became more serious about his rapping and hooked up with Tyree and Deach to form Smashproof while still at Papatoetoe High. When Tyree came to the attention of Auckland DJ Justin 'Juse' Ferguson, it had a roll-on effect for the group, who were given the chance to appear on Juse's 'Global Casino' album.
When Juse played demos of Tyree and other upcoming rappers to ex-pat Kiwi, Kirk Harding in New York, the pair decided to join forces and set up a new label. Move The Crowd was established along with Juse's partner at Woodcut Productions, Aaron Christie. Harding was already strongly connected in the New York hip hop scene and could therefore provide hook-ups for the label in the US. Originally, Harding had established his credentials working in A&R for BMG in Auckland. His influence helped push the early careers of Supergroove, the Urban Pacifika crew and Che Fu. The pioneering work he did for hip hop here gained him attention from the US, where he was offered a position at rising hip hop label Loud.
In 1999, Harding took up the offer and moved to New York, where he became Loud's Senior Vice President (International). The company went on to work with Xzibit and Mobb Deep, while Harding himself was put in charge of the international careers of the Beatnuts, the X-Ecutioners, and Dead Prez. When Loud was taken over by Columbia Records, Harding moved on to work at SRC (Street Records Corporation) which had been started by Loud founder Steve Rifken. SRC started the careers of David Banner and Akon, before Harding shifted across to Universal/Motown.
Young Sid soon realised that MTC would be the perfect label to jump start his rap career. Work on the Juse album was followed by work on Tyree's solo album and this gave Young Sid another opportunity to display his talents. It also gave him the chance to visit Canada, where the video for Tyree's track Ladies and Gentleman was filmed.
Harding arranged for Young Sid to have a two week recording session in New York on the way home, working with Cochise from the Beatnuts. Young Sid suddenly found himself in the home of hip hop.
"I didn't really get to explore New York as much as I wanted to, because I was mainly in the studio - they put me to work hard-out. But one time I was walking down the street and I heard these little kids rapping to each other - it was pretty crazy. Everyone over there is a rapper! Everyone over there is trying to do something with their music. It's probably harder for them to do something like this because everyone's doing it and it's harder to stand out as being someone with new skills. Over there man, I was sort'a shy 'cos I was in a new area - I didn't know anyone. For the first week I was just kicking back listening to beats and then the week after that, I just got into it."
Young Sid also set himself the challenge of writing much of the material for the album while in the studio, catering his rhymes individually to each of the beats he ended up choosing.:
"I was nineteen at the time and I wrote everything there. It was hard - there was a lot of pressure and I was shy at first. But Cochise was really good - he appreciated what I was talking about, where I was coming from with my music and what I wanted to do. I learnt a lot from him - I learnt to be clear and concise with my verses. It was really helpful."