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by Sam Smith

Poetik: Keeping It Level

by Sam Smith

Poetik: Keeping It Level

Ventry Parker, aka Poetik, respects the rap game, and if anything, it is this respect which he attempts to outline in his latest single Bosslane, a track he describes as being about levels. Sam Smith caught up with him for NZM about this entry track to his June 25-released album. Made with the support of NZ On Air Music

“There are levels of respect, there are levels of hustle, there are levels of work, and a lot of people who don’t know the game, or the rules to the game, fail to see that.

“For example, when you start in music, and you don’t know anything or anybody, you have to start independently. You are going to learn the hard way, as I did. You are going to learn a lot of lessons like I did, and through that, you see where the levels are.

“You can respect both the underground MC who stays grassroots, and mainstream artists who spend $250,000 a year on their career. There are levels that you have got to understand, appreciate, and respect. It is about acknowledgement.”

A track from his forthcoming NZ On Air Project-funded album neatly titled ‘Poetik Justice’, Bosslane started life as a DJ Spell beat, which Parker found in a beat pack.

“It stood out to me, I just loved the flow of it, and I felt like it was a perfect beat to go in on.”

With the bulk of the song taking him only minutes to write, he then requested a feature from Flowz (Fiso Siloata) of NZ hip hop legends Footsouljahs. Flowz released his own sophomore album, ‘King Of Wellington’, last August.

“This was a more natural track to write. Others, I had to take more time to write and to really think about it. I put a bit more thought into the bars, and of course, I have Flowz in there, and his cadence is perfect. His verse is my favourite part of the song.”

Samoan-born Parker’s music is anchored in the classic G-funk and (US) West Coast hip hop of the 1990s. Bosslane is no different in this regard, and he explains this style can be put down to his upbringing in the islands and his family’s American roots.

“I grew up in the islands, but at the same time, we are very Californian-ised. Being part American I was always aiming towards America, even though I didn’t go and live my whole life there. But my older siblings are there, my cousins, so we are always getting refreshed with hip hop and the art of freestyling, and it is always G-funk, West Coast rap, because everyone who is Polynesian is on the west coast! It was always there, you step outside of your house, and you hear a rap song from the ’90s – even today it is 2Pac!”

With its production by DJ Spell and gangsta rap stylised vocals, Bosslane is both 2021-fresh and a classic ’90s rap. Parker says the album is intentionally more varied than people might expect.

“There is some gospel sounding songs, there is a love song on there with a heavy RnB influence, there is a Jodeci-feel on one song… I guess I am known for being a gangster MC, that West Coast gangster rap, and we have a couple of those songs because I wanted a couple of street songs, but I don’t want to be known as that because I am so much more. Sometimes I feel like I am rapping about stuff we did 10 years ago, but I really want to show a different light of who I am as an artist and as a human being.”