A Dose Of Reality
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On his latest EP, A Dose Of Reality, Adelaide-based emcee Eskatology raps about the refugees he works with.
"I've worked with many refugees in my job as a youth worker," says the rapper, who is giving the 10-track EP away as a free download.
"You hear stories about Sudan and how there are camps set up, where they're tortured and murdered - it's something people need to hear about."
They can hear about it on his new EP's track "G.O.D.".
First Iraq, went on to Afghan, on to Iran
Not before they had Libya in the thumb of their hand
Walking through the jungles to Sudan
See these death camps of refugees without a plan
Soldiers cranked up with the highest demand
Dropping bombs for war like they did to Japan
Worldwide drama happening in every spot on the globe
The end of the world soon? Only the lord knows...
"This reference streams from the wars, violence and just the destructive nature a lot of people are turning to in the world," says the rapper, who was raised in the small town of Crystal Brook by his Ngarrindjeri grandmother.
"Any time you turn on the TV there is something happening and it just feels like it's getting worse. I guess some could say that there was and always will be violence, but it just seems to be more fluent nowadays.
"Basically, the reference around the Middle East is to the governments who are always getting involved with civil wars for their own benefits - Iraq, Afganistan, Iran, Libya, now Syria. The US always wants to drop bombs in war, look how Barack Obama was quick to talk about dropping missiles on Syria. Same shit happened in Hiroshima where they dropped those nukes and killed so many. I watched a doco on the people of Iraq, who are now affected by the radiation - babies been born deformed.
"My belief is that in the end days, which I feel we are living in now, there will be so much drama and evil in the world, that that’s when we know it will happen - and that eventually it will consume us all, the more war, the more death."
Eskatology, who is also known as Jonathan Stier, talks a lot about death and the "end days". His stage name comes from the religious term “eschatology”, meaning "end times".
"The name stood out to me because my music is always based on life and death and everything in between, and an end is in everyone’s future," he says. "My relevance to the name comes down to trying to live through life and bettering myself and continuing to make this music to the very end, being able to hold onto something till the end."
The rapper spits about "life and death and everything in between" on his new song "Cradle To The Grave".
"This track was written to provoke thoughts about everything that is within life, from birth to death," he says. "It reflects a more 'past, present and future' look on life, for those that forget where they come from and what they can strive through."
It also pays tribute to his mother and all matriarchs. "There is always respect shown for the mothers out there," says the emcee, who also has German and Yugoslavian roots. "Gotta respect the women that brought you into this world, no matter what."
But the EP pays a healthy disrespect to those who abuse their authority. On "G.O.D." Eskatology raps: "In a police state, we know who are the officers." Asked about the lyric, he says: "Everyone knows who they are, everyone knows the people running these countries are just puppets on a string, being pulled. If they don’t know, they need to be educated and the people who can't see, need to see. I think they make themselves more visible because people are catching on and exposing these people.
"The people that are running countries like America, Australia, are all working for evil and not the good of the people. These politicians or government officials run the country in a police state, which uses repressive and controlling tactical ways to control the people and affairs."
Eschatology can be taken to mean rebirth or resurrection. Eskape Reality - Eskatology’s second album - marked the second coming of a fine rapper. The new, more mellifluous, EP is like a new dawn. Eskatology says the strong melodies are something he strives for.
"Most definitely," he says. "I love music that touches the soul or makes you feel something when you hear it. I want people to feel what I'm writing just as I feel and see it in my own mind, and having a melodic sound moves those chords inside to make you feel what I'm saying."
And for all of Eskatology's talk of end times, the EP's track "Believe" points to a brighter future. "'Believe' is one of the more uplifting tracks, something that I hope can inspire change and make people feel better inside, feel the positives to achieve," he says.
"It is about believing in yourself, being who you can be, just about finding that potential in yourself and believing that anything is possible. It's more uplifting. I want to do more uplifting tracks, to inspire. It helps to inspire myself and to inspire others."
Download a free book on Aboriginal hip-hop, featuring Eskatology, here. Below, the rapper talks about his EP.