When Kiwi hip-hop outfit @Peace released 10 songs on Valentine's Day, all about breaking up, they expected loyal followers to buy the odd copy online. What they didn't expect was that Girl Songs would shoot straight to the top of the New Zealand album charts and that within weeks, because of popular demand, they'd be releasing a physical collector's edition.
"We put a lot of time into it, but you start to second-guess yourself when it's all done - like, 'Oh, I should've made this louder or taken this out," says lyricist/vocalist Lui Tuiasau. "But you just have to let it go and be confident in what you've been working on."
Tuiasau fronts @Peace, one of the many projects that operate under the Young, Gifted and Broke umbrella, alongside Tom Scott from Home Brew. Thedynamic duo are a leading force in New Zealand's hip-hop scene and part of the secret to their success lies in making hip-hop appeal to the masses, weaving together stories and bringing in jazz and soul influences, as they've done on Girl Songs.
"As far as being a hip-hop album, it's quite mature, for lack of a better word. It's not just beats and rhymes. We wanted the music to speak as much as the words. Sometimes a melody and harmony can portray an emotion in a way that words can't do,"says Tuiasau.
If that means @Peace is lumped in the "light hip-hop" basket, that's fine by Tuiasau.
"If this is crossover, easy digestible s*** that introduces people to hip-hop or gives someone the opportunity to get into this style of music so that they can take their own journey, then I'm happy with that.
"There is so much beauty in hip-hop. I've never read a book in my life, music has played a huge part in my general knowledge of the world, and there's so much to gain from it. Hopefully this is just the start."
Girl Songs by @Peace is out now.