Originally hailing from Ghana but now based out of Canberra after emigrating at six years of age rapper/producer Citizen Kay certainly has a compelling life story to tell within his music. With his latest record, Belly Of The Beast, telling his story and ensuring he had a depth to his lyricism was the primary focus.
“With my last album I focused on the production and sonics but sacrificed the depth of my lyrics in doing so,” explained Kay, “therefore for this album I wanted to keep that musicality but also wanted to have layers to my lyrics so that people could enjoy them on the surface level but if they wanted to dive deeper they would be able to do that.”
Citizen Kay told City Hub that his decision to take this approach was inspired by the rapid rise of rap superstar Kendrick Lamar.
“Kendrick is the perfect example of the music I’ve always wanted to make but never knew how it should have sounded. He has really set that bar which has made every rapper in the world think oh crap we’ve got to step up our game.”
Some people may find it strange that a rapper has such a modern hip-hop influence but as Kay explained to us his love for the hip-hop genre took some time to develop.
“I was actually under the impression that I hated hip-hop for a long time because I’m originally a guitarist who played in a rock and funk band.” said Kay.
Two key figures though changed his thinking rather quickly. “My older cousin Miracle got signed to Sony as a rapper and around that same time I discovered Kanye West.” Now in retrospect Kay also says he realises that two of his favourite bands, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Rage Against The Machine, were heavily rap/hip-hop influences.
Since realising he had this deep seeded love for hip-hop Kay dove head first into the Canberra rap/hip-hop scene.
“I was always under the impression that I would have to leave Canberra to experience a rap scene but what we have here has kept me around because it’s actually amazing.”
Not only has Kay embedded himself within the scene as a performer but he is also attempting to give back to other emerging Canberran artists by setting up his own recording studio.
“Over the course of the last six years I’ve realised that to get top quality studio recordings costs a lot of money and I think that’s one of the things that deters a lot of people when they start out. So being a massive advocate for the talent we have here in Canberra if I can offer that to people here at an affordable price why wouldn’t I do that?”
Oct 6. Lansdowne Hotel, Cnr City & Broadway Road, Broadway. $17.85+b.f. Tickets & Info: www..oztix.com.au