Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Hip-hop veteran PNC still hungry to be the best

PNC is the elder statesman of local hip-hop, but he says he's only just hitting his best form now. He talks to Chris Schulz.
Palmerston North rapper PNC says he's found his best form on his latest release, The Luke Vailima EP.
Palmerston North rapper PNC says he's found his best form on his latest release, The Luke Vailima EP.

He's only just put the finishing touches on his first new release in two years.

But local rapper PNC, real name Sam Hansen, is already working on the follow-up to The Luke Vailima EP, his latest work that's released today.

"I've just started work on volume two," admits Hansen. "I think I've definitely hit a new level with confidence as a writer. That's at an all-time high."

The follow-up to 2014's full-length album The Codes, today's seven-track EP is the first in what PNC says is a trilogy planned for release over the next year.

He's turned to EPs to fulfill more concise concepts, he says, and to satisfy shorter audience attention spans.

"Very early on in the piece, I had five songs done that I was happy with, and I thought they told a solid story by themselves," he says.

"I felt adding 10 more songs was unnecessary, and it meant I could fast-track the process to release them. I also feel how people listen to music has changed, and attention spans are shortened overall."

Lyrically and thematically, the 32-year-old says the EP is a reflection of "the best parts of my career".

"Mostly it's seven songs that I'm really proud of, and I think it tells an honest story of my life, more so than any project I've released in the past.

"A lot of it is paying homage to everything I feel made me who I am today."

There is plenty of self-reflection, from the introspection of Hova Song and Camouflage, to harder-hitting opener Sonny Bill 04, which tracks his rise from Palmerston North schoolboy to his status as a local hip-hop veteran.

Not that Hansen sees it that way, describing himself on that song as "the lost boss of the game".

"I still feel hungry, like I'm constantly trying to claim a spot and carve a niche," he says.

"I've never hit the level of success that I expect of myself, so as long as I still have this desire to be the best rapper I can be, I'll be doing it."

Who: Local rapper PNC
What: New EP, The Luke Vailima EP, released today

- NZ Herald

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