I head along to Auckland’s MAINZ campus to meet with Trent Anderson, aka RakaTrent, with lyrics from his song Get It repeating in my mind: ‘We trying to make our music from scratch, and boy we’re doing it.’
As we sit and discuss his music and forthcoming releases, it becomes apparent the intent within that lyric still resonates strongly with this 19 year-old Avondale MC. The step from high school to Unitec coincided with a progression from his early days freestyling to a more written and continuous narrative. A strong self-reflective (and at times – in classic hip hop tradition – posturing) flow is a constant thread on his debut ‘Cloud Life’, which was released in May this year.
“All I rap about bro, is what I do, what I want, what I see, what I’ve done.”
Within the 10 tracks we get to cruise along with RakaTrent and his homies as they embark on their day to day grind.
Currently studying music production fulltime at MAINZ – and only five months after that first release – RakaTrent is preparing for a new EP, titled ‘Loyalty’ produced by UK beat-maker Pressure Beats. Due for release towards the end of the year, the first leak, Work, shows a progression not just musically, but in the team around him.
“We’ve started a crew, Young Royals, which… is a crew of MCs and producers.”
Included within the team are local producer and long time collaborator InaBeats, as well as other connections both in the UK and through NZ. It’s hard not to be aware that we are chatting in the midst of a music school, and it is his study, which RakaTrent credits in helping the development of his musical skill base.
“The technical side I’ve learnt this year is huge, eh. I’ve learnt so much when it comes to recording, mixing… cos I [mix and master] my own work.”
A clearly evident work ethic is further confirmed when RakaTrent mentions he has another EP almost ready to go immediately following the release of ‘Loyalty’.
Asked about how they’ll co-exist with being released so quickly together, he insists it’s all about timing.
“You’ll be able to hear the different stories… and what I’m going through… between the two EPs, they’re different.”
An email sent after our korero elucidates some thoughts about his music and motivations – and pretty much sums up our meeting. His music has the hallmarks of classic hip hop bravado, but it’s larger than that. It is evident very early on, that he is committed to music, and also to looking at life and his work, through a positive lens. It leaves the impression that we will definitely be hearing plenty more from this MC.