Izzy n The Profit, the rappers who know no fear

Issue 
Izzy, middle, and The Profit rock Rooty Hill. Photos: Mat Ward

Pulling Strings
Izzy n The Profit
www.izzyntheprofit.com

It’s midnight in midwest Sydney and Izzy n The Profit are whipping a crowd into a full-blown frenzy. The audience is tiny, but the rappers are leaping around the Rooty Hill RSL like they’re ripping the roof off a stadium.

Emptier emcees would have been dispirited by the sparse turnout. Ropier rappers would have been put off by the soulless venue. But this dynamic duo are bounding all over the stage, spitting out the lyrics to their searing single “Rattle Ya Cage” like they’re shaking up the Superbowl.

We’re not here to battle, we’re here to rattle ya cage
Izzy n The Profit make no mistake
You know we’re raising the stakes
You get put in your place
Our punchlines will kick in like a foot to the face

It’s the kind of swaggering bravado that suggests they know no fear.

A few months later, Green Left spots the stout, stocky frame of Izzy marching through the crowd at the Platform 5 Hip Hop Festival near Redfern, and pulls him aside for a chat. It is here, huddled under a tin awning to shelter from the pounding beats and the drizzling rain, that Izzy reveals the unexpected way in which he came to lose his sense of fear.

“It’s kind of a bit of an out-there topic for some,” he begins, a little hesitantly. His hair, which is slicked back from a finely sculpted hairline into a Japanese plait, shimmers with the faint remnants of rain. “In my early childhood,” he continues, “probably somewhere between the ages of three and six, I lived in a house that was possessed.”

He pauses, a faint smile playing across his angular features.

“Yeah man, pretty crazy. So for three years as a kid, I witnessed a lot of spiritual stuff happening. My mum was a Christian and she still is, so I was raised knowing all that side as well. But as for the dark side of things, I witnessed quite a bit from a young age - just a lot of really nightmarish things happening in my room as a kid. You know, voices, figures, things moving, all sorts of stuff, you know, the whole kit and caboodle.”

The house was in Penrith, 50km west of central Sydney. Most of the local Indigenous Mulgoa people were killed by smallpox shortly after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Did Izzy find out if there was any story behind the strange goings-on in the house?

“No, we didn’t end up finding out,” he says. “It was a funny thing with that house. Just before we moved, mum got pastors to come in and pray over the house and then it went. Then we moved and every time I’d go past that house, people would move in. Not even a week later, they’re out. We were just the ones dumb enough to stay there for three years.”

He laughs.

“Mum didn’t realise how much it affected me, but it did because it ended up instilling a lot of fear in me from being a young kid up until early teenage years. Then that fear, I thought it got squashed or whatever when I was about 14, I thought I’d got rid of it, but I think it just reversed into, like, extreme anger. Like, ‘I’m not going to be scared of anything, whether it’s physical, spiritual, nothing can scare me.’

“Even as a teen living in different houses and that, even when I was living on my own, my mum would come over and she’d be like, ‘Make sure you lock your door.’ And I’d be like ‘Nah, I’m not locking my door, if someone comes in, they come through me.’

"That was my mentality, because I just didn’t want to fear anything, I just became really angry against fear. If anyone was trying to instil fear in me, I would fire up. So obviously it hadn’t been squashed, it was just expressed in another form.”

When he was barely in his teens, Izzy also found out something that most kids would fear: that his father was not who he thought he was.

“My last name on my birth certificate and everything is Ballard, which is English, but biologically I’m a Beale. I was 14 when I found out that I wasn’t English, but I was Aboriginal, and then I met my dad.

“Our mob is quite big, I’m still meeting people and run into people all the time that are, like, family and stuff like that. It’s funny. Kamileroi is the mob.”

Indigenous Australians have had an uneasy relationship with Christianity, to say the least. The missionaries’ mission to “civilise the Godless” - despite Aboriginal people already having their own gods - provided a useful cover for Britain’s imperial ambitions. But for the persecuted Indigenous people, the missions then became a refuge from the murderous pioneers and pastoralists.

John Harris, who wrote One Blood: 200 Years of Aboriginal Encounter with Christianity, notes: “Scientists were telling people that Aborigines were subhuman, didn’t have the same level of evolving as European races.

"So there was this view among the population that it wasn’t so bad to kill Aborigines. And it was only the missionaries who said, in their, you know, 18th century way, ‘These people are descended from Adam. They are children of God and they have souls and we shouldn’t be shooting them. God has made of one blood all nations of the earth.’

"Missionaries did protect and give life to Aborigines where they would not have had it. Missionaries were educating Aborigines and saying, 'We’re going to show that they are the white man’s equal.’

“The problems came when there was no longer any need to protect Aborigines but now they were all locked up in institutions and churches wanted to maintain those institutions and maintain their hold over Aboriginal people when they no longer needed to do that. And that was when something that began as a good thing, because it was a reaction to great evil, became a bad thing.”

Christianity maintained its hold over Izzy. If anything, his faith deepened after he found out his Aboriginal heritage. He is a warm, engaging person - solid in character as well as build. Those meeting him for the first time may get the impression that he would not need the steadying hand of religion had he not been introduced to it. But for Izzy, his faith has been a great source of strength and redemption.

“In my early teens, probably 15 or 16, I started getting involved with gangs and stuff like that out west, Penrith, just the western Sydney area,” he says.

“I always believed in God as well, so I always had a strong faith, but I kind of just ignored that and ran with what I was doing.

“At about 18, I got sentenced to prison, not for long, it was eight months, it was a string of offences, like breaking and entering, theft and a few other things. But the judge overruled it and turned it over at the last minute and gave me a suspended sentence.

“I think if I’d gone in at that time and in that frame of mind that I was in, it wouldn’t have done me good. I think I would have come out a frigging psycho. So things happen for a reason. I think I was favoured there.”

It was that lucky escape - or divine intervention - that set him on his musical journey.

“Me and my good mate, we’d hang out the front of this youth centre, you know, causing trouble and that. But this guy, a dude from Vanuatu, nicest guy ever, he was a youth worker. He kinda took us both under his wing and just started mentoring us and getting us involved in things and whatnot.

“Next minute, we were volunteering at a youth drop-in centre out in Penrith and that was, I guess, my introduction to youth work. Even though we were, you know, shifty, we were mentors.”

He laughs.

“So that led me, I guess, to want to be primarily focused on young people and youths - I guess a ‘been there, done that’ type thing, but not just that. It was that I had a guy who took the time out of his life to come and do that for us, so I feel like, it’s not that I just owe that, but it’s something that I’m passionate about as well.”

For the past four years, Izzy has been working with Christian “hip hop church” the Krosswerdz Krew. His faith now runs through almost everything he does, from his music to his moniker.

“I’ve got my solo album I’ve been recording, Snake Eyes - The Art Of Deception,” he says. “It’s a bit of a mixture of a play on words.

"For instance, my name being Jacob or Jake - Jacob actually means ‘supplanter’, deceiver. In the Bible, the character Jacob, when he wrestled with an angel, wrestled with God, God changed his name to Israel. So Jacob, Jake; Izzy is short for Israel, which means struggle with God.”

Absent-mindedly scratching behind his right ear, where a small crucifix is tattooed, he stresses that Izzy n The Profit do not write religious music.

“Our music isn’t like Christian hip hop or anything. I mean, like, we don’t stray from talking about God but we don’t overly preach or whatever. I mean, if anyone asks us, like, what our music’s about, it’s life in general, basically. But we just write from our hearts and that’s the way it comes out. Our music is positive.

“You know, there’s a lot of misdirection and a lot of bad teaching in hip hop, a lack of morals in a lot of it. Not all of it, you know, there’s heaps of great stuff, but at the same time what the mainstream media portrays is mostly not what young people should really be taking into their lives and living, you know, which is a shame.”

Hip hop has strayed far from its radical roots. The former Minister of Defence of the Black Panther Party, Geronimo ji-Jaga, had a great insight into the attempts of the establishment to subvert the genre. He was also the godfather of the late legendary rapper Tupac Shakur, so ji-Jaga saw at close hand how Tupac's hip hop, like most at the time, changed from angst to gangsta.

Ji-Jaga noted: “Hip hop is indigenous and it’s powerful and it scares the hell out of these people, right? So, they have to get control and employ Cointelpro-like tactics.

“After the leadership of the Black Panther Party was attacked at the end of the 60s and the early 70s, throughout the Black and other oppressed communities, the role models for up-coming generations became the pimps, the drug dealers, etc.

"This is what the government wanted to happen. The result was that the gangs were coming together with a gangster mentality, as opposed to the revolutionary progressive mentality we would have given them.”

As radical hip hop producer Agent of Change puts it: “The music industry has been busily trying to turn hip-hop from a tool of freedom into a tool of oppression, projecting an image of Black people that the white supremacist ruling structures are entirely happy with (that is, an image of simple, primitive, hypersexualised people only too willing to kill themselves with drugs and guns).”

Izzy agrees. Is that why he is trying to push a more conscious brand of rap?

“Yeah, you know and it doesn’t get as much attention,” he says. “It takes a lot more work I’d say. I can’t lie, we all like some sort of attention at some point.”

His latest project, with fellow Aboriginal rapper 21 Monks, should garner plenty of attention, not least from its attention-grabbing name, taken from the year the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove. “The two of us together are called 1788,” he says.

So it‘s all about the invasion?

“Yeah, which was awesome really because for me, like I said, only finding out that I was Aboriginal when I was 14, I mean, I’m in my late 20s now, but I’m still learning more and more about my culture and about my family and about our heritage and our history. But I did research for some of this stuff and, yeah, it was killer, it was really good and in the aspect of research I really found out a lot of things that I didn’t know.

“I freestyle a lot, I write quite quick, but with this stuff we’re being purposeful and strategic, you know. It’s not that it doesn’t come so easily, but it’s more about being patient and not rushing it and not just, you know, not going with the first thing that comes out.”

The first record to come out, however, should be Izzy n The Profit’s debut album, Pulling Strings. The video for the next single has just been completed, featuring reformed US gangster Sevin. The ex-member of the infamous Bloods gang approached Izzy n The Profit after sharing a stage with them in Sydney.

“I was honoured,” says Izzy. “It felt good to be asked by, not just an emcee but one of my favourite emcees who’s just a dope lyricist and a dude who’s international, from the States. He’s got, like 25, 26 albums, plus mixtapes, so the dude’s got some old stuff and it’s real street too. I love it, personally.

“He did a track not long ago that had everyone from the West Coast scene in it, like from - not everyone rapped on it but everyone was in the video - from Ice Cube to Ice-T to Snoop. Snoop rhymed on the track as well and Sevin was on the chorus - it was a massive track. So he’s known throughout the joint. And yeah, the track turned out dope. The video looks pretty cool man, I’m happy with it.”

He feels just as blessed - if not more so - to have met The Profit. Izzy crossed paths with the non-Indigenous emcee, from Gosford, NSW, through the Krosswerdz Krew.

“I said, ‘We should do a track on each other’s albums, you know’,” says Izzy. “It started with that, so we started writing a track and the first track we did was What We Love. Koori Radio played that a lot, too, which was off Profit’s album.

“Then we said, ‘Let’s do an eight-track EP together.’ Because everyone was, like, ‘Oh, you two sound really good together, you complement each other.’ That eight-track EP turned into doing an album. Doing an album tuned into becoming a crew and, yeah, the rest is history, so it’s been good.

"I’ve worked with many different dudes over time and, you know, for whatever reason, things hadn’t worked out in the long run. But with Profit it’s been … it’s been magical.”

A bromance?

“A bromance,” he laughs. “Exactly.”

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Download a free three-track "Taste Tester" from Pulling Strings here.

Below is the full, unedited, Q&A. You can also download an mp3 of the interview here.

...I’ve got my solo album I’ve been recording, ‘Snake Eyes - The Art Of Deception’. It’s a bit of a mixture of a play on words. For instance, my name being Jacob or Jake, and Jacob actually means ‘supplanter‘, deceiver [laughs]. In the Bible, the character Jacob, when he wrestled with an angel, wrestled with God, God changed his name to Israel. So Jacob, Jake, Izzy is short for Israel, which means struggle with God.

Tell us about your childhood.

First things first, I was born and raised in Penrith. I’ve got a bit of a tricky background actually, my last name on my birth certificate and everything is Ballard, which is English, but biologically I’m a Beale. So skipping forward a little bit, I was 14 when I found out that I wasn’t English, but I was Aboriginal, and then I met my dad and everything like that. Our mob is quite big, I’m still meeting people and run into people all the time that are, like, family and stuff like that, it’s funny. Kamileroi is the mob, so I know that he lived up around Peak Hill for quite a while and when he passed away, probably about eight years ago, he was in Dubbo hospital in a coma and died of cancer. He was 56 or something like that, so young, really. So yeah, growing up out west, my childhood was good - I had a good mum and had a good upbringing as far as that’s concerned. Mum married when I was one. I still don’t know how that works that my birth certificate says Ballard, I’ve gotta find that out, that’s a question I’ve gotta ask. So both parents, mum and step dad - but I call him dad because, you know, that’s what I knew him as, I didn’t find out till I was 14 like I said. A few weird things. In my early childhood, probably somewhere between the ages of three and six because we were there for three years - it’s kind of a bit of an out there topic for some - but I lived in a house that was possessed or whatever as well. Yeah man, pretty crazy, so for three years as a kid, I witnessed a lot of spiritual stuff happening. My mum was a Christian and she still is, so I was raised knowing all that side as well, but as for the dark side of things, I witnessed quite a bit from a young age - just a lot of really nightmarish things happening in my room as a kid. You know, a lot of stuff happening and most of it happened in my room - voices, figures, things moving, all sorts of stuff, you know, the whole kit and caboodle.

Did you look into the history of that house?

No, we didn’t end up finding out. It was a funny thing with that house. Just before we moved, mum got pastors to come in and pray over the house and then it went. Then we moved and every time I’d go past that house, people would move in, not even a week later, they’re out. We were just the ones dumb enough to stay there for three years [laughs]. So mum didn’t realise how much it affected me, but it did because it ended up instilling a lot of fear in me from being a young kid up until early teenage years. Then that fear, I though it got squashed or whatever when I was about 14 , I thought I’d got rid of it, but I think it just reversed into, like, extreme anger. Like, I’m not going to be scared of anything, whether it’s physical, spiritual, nothing can scare me. I became really anti-, like, real staunch and that. Even as a teen living in different houses and that, even when I was living on my own, my mum would come over and she’d be like, ‘Make sure you lock your door’, and I’d be like ‘Nah, I’m not locking my door, if someone comes in, they come through me.’ That was my mentality because I just didn’t want to fear anything, I just became really angry against fear. If anyone was trying to instill fear in me I would fire up. So obviously it hadn’t been squashed, it was just expressed in another form. So in my early teens, probably 15 or 16, I started getting involved with gangs and stuff like that out west, Penrith, just the western Sydney area. I was always - I knew everyone, so I was like a middle man [laughs]. So yeah, I got involved with all that. So for me I always believed in God as well, so I always had a strong faith but I kind of just ignored that and ran with what I was doing. I believe I was called for something better than what I was doing, but, yeah, I didn’t care. At about 18, I got sentenced to prison, not for long, it was eight months, but the judge overruled it and turned it over at the last minute and gave me a suspended sentence.

What was that for if you don’t mind us asking?

It was a string of offences, like - oh, what was it - breaking and entering, theft and a few other things. But I hadn’t been caught for anything, like, under 18 and then at 18 I got caught and got sentenced to prison. But like I said, the judge turned it over at the last minute and I got a suspended sentence so, for me, I think if I’d gone in at that time and in that frame of mind that I was in, it wouldn’t have done me good. I think I would have come out a frigging psycho. So things happen for a reason. I think I was favoured there somewhat. But then one of my, me and my good mate who is someone I’ve known for, like 10 years now, me and him, we were like - you know, I had a lot of drug issues and stuff like that, for years, battled drugs and that. But me and my good mate we’d hang out the front of this youth centre, you know, causing trouble and that. But this guy, a dude from Vanuatu, nicest guy ever, he was a youth worker. He kinda took us both under his wing and just started mentoring us and getting us involved in things and whatnot. Next minute we were volunteering at a youth centre and that was, I guess, my introduction to youth work. That was just a youth drop-in centre out in Penrith. So I was just volunteering, helping run things, just whatever needed to be done, I was just helping out. We were kind of like - even though we were, you know, shifty, we were mentors [laughs]. It’s kind of funny, looking back at it. So that led me, I guess, to want to be primarily focused on young people and youths - I guess a ‘been there, done that’ type thing, but not just that. It was that I had a guy who took the time out of his life to come and do that for us, so I feel like…

You’re passing it on?

Yeah, in a sense. It’s not that I just owe that, but it’s something that I’m passionate about as well. So, as you know with our music, our music is positive and it’s pretty much about trying to - you know, there’s a lot of misdirection and a lot of bad teaching in hip hop, especially.

What do you mean by bad? What would you say was bad?

Well, a lack of morals in a lot of it. Not all of it, you know, there’s heaps of great stuff, but at the same time there is a lot of… what the mainstream media portrays is mostly not what young people should really be taking into their lives and living, you know, which is a shame.

You mean like glorifying crime and drugs and just being out there to make money and that sort of thing?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I think that’s come about from the appropriation of the whole industry by big record labels.

Definitely, definitely, 100%.

They’re just after commercialising it.

Exactly.

There’s also that whole argument that they wanted to disempower the Black Power movement in the late 1970s, early 1980s.

Yeah that’s right. That’s exactly what it is.

So you’re trying to bring a more conscious aspect to it?

Yeah, you know and it doesn’t get as much attention. It takes a lot more work I’d say, being honest, it does. But then again, attention is not what we’re in it for, so it’s all good. But I can’t lie, we all like some sort of attention at some point.

Well if you’re trying to spread a message the more people that know…

Oh yeah, the more people that know, the better, you know. But I get the best of both worlds really with the Krosswerdz fam and that.

So when did you meet Krosswerdz?

It’s been going for six years and I’ve been involved for, probably, four. And that’s kind of been a good pathway for me in getting back on track and, you know, getting more stable and being more directed in what I’m doing, you know, so it’s definitely been great. But it’s the best of both worlds in that I get to do stuff that is, you know, my faith and that, focused, with Krosswerdz, whereas our music isn’t like Christian hip hop or anything. I mean, like, we don’t stray from talking about God but we don’t overly preach or whatever. I mean if anyone asks us, like, what our music’s about, it’s life in general, basically. But we just write from our hearts and that’s the way it comes out. But then I get to do more gospel-focused type stuff with Krosswerdz as well, so, yeah, it’s the best of both worlds.

So do you teach writing lyrics with Krosswerdz?

Yeah, so there’s many different aspects to what I do with what I’m involved with. So there’s Izzy n The Profit, which is our music that we mostly push, and then I’ve got my solo stuff and then I’ve got a couple of other projects with a couple of other dudes. I’ve got one that’s still a bit hush, but it’s called, well, actually the two of us together are called 1788. That’s with a dude called 21 Monks.

So it’s all going to be about the invasion?

Yeah, which was awesome really because for me, like I said, only finding out that I was Aboriginal when I was 14, I mean I’m in my late 20s now, but I’m still learning more and more about my culture and about my family and about our heritage and our history and that. But I did research for some of this stuff and, yeah, it was killer, it was really good.

And 21 Monks is Aboriginal as well, right?

Yeah that’s right. And he’s part of the Krosswerdz fam as well. So doing that stuff was really good and in the aspect of research I really found out a lot of things that I didn’t know.

What books did you read or what media did you look at?

There’s a few different things I got put onto from a few different people. Off the top of my head right now, I don’t know the titles. But a few different things, some good material that’s for sure.

That sounds like a great project I think it will stir up a lot of interest, especially with the name 1788.

Yeah, definitely. But it’s one of those ones as well. Because I freestyle a lot, I write quite quick, but with this stuff we’re being purposeful and strategic, you know, so for me it’s been a little bit of a…

It doesn’t come so easily?

It’s not that it doesn’t come so easily, but it’s more about being patient and not rushing it and not just, you know, not going with the first thing that comes out, you know. But it’s good, it’s good doing that as well, yeah.

So what’s going to come out first?

Izzy n The Profit will definitely come out first.

Do you want to talk us through each track on there?

Erm, there’s like 17 or 18 tracks [laughs].

OK, how about some of the highlights?

Well, firstly we’ve got this other project that may come out before it, possibly. With Krosswerdz we’ve been doing these ’threebies’ - it’s like a three-track release. So our one is three tracks with three American artists - each track with a different dude. So one of those is with Sevin, which - the video, we’re waiting to throw up soon.

How did you hook up with these American guys?

Sevin came out just this year, but he came out the year before as well. When he came out last year my mate brought him out, Genesis, another rapper from out west. He brought him out and I went to one of the gigs on the Friday night because Sevin is a Christian dude who does Gospel type music but he’s got, like 25, 26 albums plus mixtapes, so the dude’s got some old stuff and it’s real street too. I love it, personally. The dude’s an ex-Blood, a reformed gangster, and he’s now a Christian dude. Anyway, he came out here and I went to the Friday night gig and met him there and we just got talking, hit it off, and I said, ’Oh, tomorrow we’re doing Rock The Block’ which was last year part of - well, we’re right at Platform Festival right now - but at last year’s Platform Festival we did Rock The Block in Redfern. So I said, ‘We’re doing that tomorrow, so what do you reckon, do you want to jump up and spit a verse or whatever?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ So I was, like, ‘Sweet.’ He jumped up on stage, did two verses or whatever on a track off Profit’s album called ’Keep Living’. Then later on I got a call from Genesis and he goes, ’Oh Sevin wants to speak to you.’ And I was joking around and said, ’Oh, yeah? Maybe I don’t wanna speak to him.’ [laughs] Just playing. And he goes, ’I wanna do a track off my album, I wanna do a remix to it and get you and Profit on it.’ And I was honoured because, you know, these days, that’s another hard thing in hip hop - a lot of dudes have too much pride to ask someone else, whether their status is lower, higher, it doesn’t matter, a lot of people have too much pride to ask someone else to get on a track. It’s almost like, ’You must be the lower dude because you’re asking someone.’ So for me, I was honoured. It felt good to be asked by, not just an emcee but one of my favourite emcees who’s just a dope lyricist and a dude who’s international, from the States. He did a track not long ago that had everyone from the West Coast scene in it, like from - not everyone rapped on it but everyone was in the video - from Ice Cube to Ice-T to Snoop. Snoop rhymed on the track as well and Sevin was on the chorus - it was a massive track. So he’s known throughout the joint. So yeah, it was cool. And yeah, the track turned out dope. The video looks pretty cool man, I’m happy with it.

Can you tell us about the two other American guys?

The third one is yet to be confirmed. We’re still going to do a track with that dude, his name’s Urban D, we’re still going to do a track with him but we don’t know if we’re going to be able to do it in time because he’s running a big hip hop festival right now in Tampa Bay, Florida, called Flavor Fest. One of our Krosswerdz emcees, Oakbridge, performed there last night or the night before. He’s over in the States right now. So we don’t know if that one’s going to happen, maybe we’ll do another one, I don’t know. The other one’s with this guy who’s connected with Sevin, but I met him first on Facebook. We got talking and decided to do a track. His name’s Gifted The Flamethrower. Anyway, so that’s the threebie, so that might be out before Pulling Strings. But yeah, Izzy N The Profit’s Pulling Strings is… ASAP [laughs].

As soon as you get it mixed?

Yeah, it’s getting mixed and mastered. Got a few other things to wait on. A couple of highlights on there - probably. Some of the tracks that are obviously highlights are tracks that have been around for a while too, this album’s been in the making for a while. ‘Rattle Ya Cage’ has been out for ages, that’s one of the main tracks off it, you know, we’ve had a good response to that. We’ve got one with these guys from Brisbane called Broadkast. It’s just about loving hip hop and the culture and that, but it’s got a nice flow, it’s pretty catchy.

What’s that called?

I’ve had a mind blank. I can’t remember [laughs]. That’s bad isn’t it?

How about some other highlights?

‘On Point’, we’ve got Oakbridge on that track. We’ve got another track, we’ll see how it goes, it should be pretty cool, it’s called ‘You’d Sound Better’ and it’s with Brethren - Mistery and Wizdm. All our beats on the album are done by Wizdm. But the track is basically, the chorus is me and Profit putting on voices, saying, ’You’d sound better if you added some dubstep bass, you’d sound better if you added more effects, you’d sound better if you something something.’ And then we go, ’You’d sound better if you shut ya face.’ Basically it’s about always having people come up and tell us what we should do. ’You should do this’ or ’you should do that’ and we’re, like, ’No, we do what we do, we are who we are.’

So you haven’t jumped on the dubstep / grime bandwagon?

No. Ah, you know, I’ve liked stuff here and there, but, no, I’m not a bandwagon-jumper, that’s for sure, I just do me. But if I like a track and it’s dope I just jump on it. That’s it. It doesn’t take much to impress me with beats, though. Profit’s really picky. Me, I’ll rhyme on a metronome [laughs].

That’s a good way to be.

Yeah, but it’s good having that balance with him, he’s more picky, so it kind of works out.

How did you meet Profit, because he’s from Gosford right?

That’s right. Kind of a little bit randomly. It’s funny because a lot of the networks I’ve made as well have been through Krosswerdz and have come about through Mistery. He’s the one who founded Krosswerdz pretty much, six years ago. Anyway, so Krosswerdz is now in every state, pretty much, and even international. This year is our second Christian hip hop conference. Last year was the first one called Uprock, this year’s Uprock is the second one, so we’ve got international artists coming. So that’s another thing. But basically, a mate of ours, John - known as Teale from the Funky Nomads - he was doing a gig up in Pulse, this little dingy nightclub there, dodgy place. Anyway, he was doing a gig there and another mate of ours, Dom, who does Musicians Making A Difference up on the coast, he had met Profit. Anyway he introduced Profit to John and they got to know each other a little bit, so they’d only met not long, and then John was doing this gig at Pulse. He hit up Oakbridge and myself and I was doing a lot of performances with Oakbridge and that’s why my stage presence has gotten pretty good these days, because of hyping for that guy. He’s a good performer, his stage presence is good. So me and him went up and we did a set and this dude John had got Profit to come do a set, too. Anyway, we just got talking, because s few weeks before that, Profit had just added me on MySpace, back when MySpace was the thing. Yeah, he just added me and I didn’t think nothing of it, then we met and I was like, ‘Oh you’re that dude that added me on MySpace.’ And he was, like, ‘Yep.’ So we got talking and he was doing a solo album, which is already out now, called Self-Regicide. I was working on my solo album - still am. But I said, ‘We should do a track on each other’s albums, you know.’ It started with that, so we started writing a track and the first track we did was ‘What We Love’. Koori Radio played that a lot, too, which was off Profit’s album. That was going to be for our album initially. Then we said, ‘Let’s do an eight-track EP together.’ Because everyone was, like, ‘Oh, you two sound really good together, you complement each other.’ That eight-track EP turned into doing an album. Doing an album tuned into becoming a crew and, yeah, the rest is history, so it’s been good. I’ve worked with many different dudes over time and, you know, for whatever reason, things hadn’t worked out in the long run. But with Profit it’s been - I hate to 'sound gay', but it’s been magical [laughs].

A bromance?

A bromance! Exactly. It’s gone really well. So we get on really well, we’re tight like that and our voices seem to go well together.

Is he still out in Gosford?

He’s still in Gosford and he’s just had a baby.

So what do you do, just flip files to each other?

No, I used to go up to Gosford every week. We had, like, Mondays would be recording day and then it got changed to Thursday, so we’d be recording once a week and we’d get quite a bit done in one whole day. But since he’s had the baby, which is still fresh - only one month or something, Silus - I’m sort of just giving him his space. Being a new dad, letting him do his thing. And like I said I’ve got plenty of projects to roll on out with anyway. We’re still doing stuff, still writing and doing tracks, but I haven’t been going up there as much.

[Legendary US hip hop pioneer] KRS-One came down to Krosswerdz didn’t he, the other month?

Yeah, he came down to Street Uni. We performed there as well when he was there. Yeah, meeting that dude was definitely a highlight. His shows went off, they were awesome, but, you know, when you meet dudes with international status sometimes you wish you never met them.

Yeah, that’s what they say, never meet your heroes.

Ah, it sucks sometimes man, because then you never listen to their music again if they’re a real douche, you know. I’ve had dudes that I’ve met here, I won’t mention names, but dudes that I thought were dope, man, they were killer, and their set that night was awesome, but then just afterwards, real, you know, like superstars, like, who are you mate? Why are you carrying on like that for? So that puts me off. But KRS-One, he was a champ, yeah. He’s like, you know, that dude’s an icon in hip hop and the dude was down to earth, just a mad guy, yeah. And he hit up Mistery to be on a track. So that there is, yeah, that’s something. But yeah, a good dude.

I guess you have to have a pretty big ego to get out there and get up on stage but… well, it takes all sorts, it’s all variety.

Variety! [laughs] It does, yeah. But character’s a big thing, character’s a massive thing.

But it takes all sorts.

It does, I agree.

Shall we wrap it up there? Is there anything else you wanted to add?

Yeah, last thing. One of the other projects is a project with B-Don. Beat On from western Sydney as well. He’s a killer emcee and producer, he was on the track ‘New Day’, which was the video that just went up, so yeah, that’ll be another project in the works as well.

You’ve got a lot of projects on the go.

Always, man.