“That kind of goes back to my brother,” says Amaeze down the phone line. Together, he, along with aforementioned brother Ikenna and friend Partyateleven, make up Canberra-based rap collective Weirdo Gvng. Amaeze is telling me about how it all started.
“He started rapping and I was hearing it, critiquing it and stuff like that, and it kinda started to get good. So I was just like ok, I’m the older brother, I’m not gonna just let him do something and me not be good at it.”
“We were writing a lot, but we weren’t really putting together anything constant,” chimes in Ikenna. “And then basically we had a friend with a recording setup and he let us record there. We ended up running into Partyateleven at a party and it turned out he sang and danced and we said ‘Yo, you should come through the studio at some point and do a song.’ So we teed that up, we went to the studio and basically did a song right there.”
“We went in, recorded it, then released it that night cos we were happy with what we’d done.”
That sense of spontaneity has become one of Weirdo Gvng’s calling cards. Live, the intensity and complexity of their lyricism is matched by their dizzying energy, and Australia’s hip-hop community is taking notice.
“We got a pretty good response off that,” says Amaeze. “We got asked to do a show, not a full set, just a couple of songs for Genesis Owusu. We kind of opened for him with one song and closed with another. From there, people kind of asked us, ‘Do you guys want to do a set here? Do you guys want to do a set there?’ So we wrote more songs, we put in work and now we’re getting to the point that we’re actually being recognised as a legitimate group.”
Weirdo Gvng understand how much potential they have, and it’s refreshing given how much uncertainty artists face on the day-to-day. It sits perfectly with their authenticity as artists and as people, something that comes to the fore in their mission statement and latest single, ‘New Mona Lisa’, the track they made with 16-year-old producer IMOL.
“That’s a funny one,” says Amaeze. “We were kind of all together, we had a whole lot of beats sent to us. We were all in Ikenna’s room playing the beats and came back to that one after playing through all of them. I mean the writing process for that song took literally 40 minutes max.”
“Not even that,” says Ikenna.
“Ikenna was feeling it, Partyateleven was feeling it, I was feeling it. We all had our own little piece and idea for what we wanted to do, and we all had the same idea of what the song was about. We were sitting in the same room silently writing, not even whole verses just pieces here and there. It was kind of like a jigsaw puzzle man.”
It’s clear that Ikenna, Amaeze and Partyateleven share a lot of the same inspiration as lyricists and as performers, and that comradery, bordering on competition, shines through in everything that Weirdo Gvng do. I comment as much and both brothers jump in to respond at the same time.
“Alright who’s going?” says Amaeze.
“Nah man, you shoot you shoot.”
Catch Weirdo Gvng at Treehouse on April 20 for Vybz Entertainment’s Vybz Fridays.
Have you been able to catch Weirdo Gvng live yet?