‘PGT/GRR‘ (‘Progressive Gangsta Thug/Gentleman Romance Rap’) is a heavy album. Not heavy in the sense that it makes you want to go for a joyride in an Escalade, rather in that it forces you to really think about some things you probably don’t normally spend too much of your time thinking about. Self-released, the album features an array of producers including Jay Knight, Max Throw, Nick McLaren, Quexxxt, Kamandi, Tony Douglas and BK Beats, as well as a bonus track produced by Knuxx himself.
Despite so many different producers working on the tracks, the album has a consistent sound, ethereal and gloomy, a sound that compliments Knuxx’s airy vocal delivery. The album also boasts a number of contributions by other rappers and vocalists, notably Tom Scott, Lui Tuiasau, Diaz Grimm, PNC and Jane Deezy. Content-wise, lyrics teeming with subjects obviously important to Knuxx are thrust into the spotlight including jail life, drug use and suicide. Jailed at 17 years old, it’s jarringly obvious to the listener these are topics Knuxx has first hand experience with. It can at times make the album difficult to listen to, I found myself craving some kind of release, but retrospectively it adds to the weight of the album, undoubtedly helping to make it an important release in modern NZ hip hop. Subjects like these aren’t often dealt with or acknowledged. He isn’t afraid of broaching topics often ignored by NZ hip hop, but he does so in a stylish and highly artistic manner.