Briggs – The Blacklist (Interview)

Since exploding onto the national scene a little over a year ago, the incomparable force that is Briggs immediately established himself as a formidable new presence in the local Hip Hop scene. From the moment Briggs dropped his self-released debut EP, the brilliant and groundbreaking Homemade Bombs (2009), it was obvious to everyone that this marked the arrival on the scene, of an emcee with a melodic rapid-fire approach, and a powerful and unique voice.

aahh: You talk about your hometown of Shepparton in a few of your tracks. What was the hip hop life like back in Shepp in the earlier days?
Briggs: I still live in Shepp. Shepp life, shouts to the swiggaz wit attitude. I did a few years stint in melb, but I moved back to Bedrock a year or so ago now. I wrote the album here pretty much. But to answer the question of hip hop in shepparton, it was pretty much non-existent. Everyone played in punk/metal bands, all my mates, and my uncles played guitar too so I picked that up for a couple of years when I was a kid. I was always into hiphop though, i just never knew how to make it. I would rap but that’s as far as it would go, then when I got a computer and shepparton stepped out of the dark ages and we all got electricity and the internet from then on, the research was on!

aahh: Do you feel your indigenous roots have influenced your chosen art form of rhyme and in a sense story telling?
Briggs: I guess it influences everything I do because it’s who I am, its me and I wear it proudly (on my forearms). I think I have a different perspective from a few others because I’ve seen and dealt with things that they will never have to, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

aahh: It’s been a massive last year and a half for yourself. Firstly lets talk about your self released debut EP Homemade Bombs. We hear a lot of emcees talking about how much knowledge they gained from their first drop, do you feel the same?
Briggs: I learned a great deal, I dealt with everything for that release, I was the marketing-managing-artist-autobot-all-round-good-guy. I made all the calls, put them in all the stores. At shows I had troops selling them for me, but in the beginning i did all the work. I mean it was natural for me to hustle my product, because in reality, if I didn’t I couldn’t eat at the next show. And I believed what I had was a dope release. But I think I learned a lot more with The Blacklist though, just being on that next level. And I’m sure I’ll learn even more off the next release, basically if you’re not learning your either not paying attention or you’re an idiot.

aahh: You had an amazing chance to tour with the Hilltop Hoods in Europe, what was that like?
Briggs: That was probably the best thing I’ve done, ever. Going over seas with your mates and being given an opportunity not everyone will have, playing sellout international shows, is probably the highlight of my career so far. I had never been over seas before and pretty much hadn’t left Victoria, so it was a big jump in the deep end.

aahh: A few weeks ago you dropped your first LP on GE Records, The Blacklist. How did the build up compare to your EP?
Briggs: Well it was just larger scale, everything was amped up 1000%. I didn’t have to stress about getting it in street press or ringing editors/writers to review it. The big difference was just the convenience in how things work now, GE have all the connects and things are ready to roll, interviews, reviews and so on.

aahh: The Blacklist staunched in at #14 on the ARIA charts and has had people raving, did you expect such a massive response?
Briggs: I didn’t expect that at all. And for 4 days it sat at number #3 on the iTunes hiphop charts, which I didn’t expect either, Ice Cube knocked me off. It was a great feeling, because all in all, I made the record I wanted to make. There’s nothing on there that isn’t me. I chose the beats I wrote the rhymes I put it together. Of course with the extensive help of my GE fam, but that goes without saying. But at the end of the day its my name and my idea, so it was dope that people were feeling it.

aahh: On an album full of highlights do you have any personal favorites from The Blacklist?
Briggs: It’s hard to choose because I haven’t got to kick them all live yet but lately ‘The Checklist’ and ‘Gargantuan’ have been getting a work out. ‘Game On’ is up there and I like my collabs with Trials and the Hoods too.

aahh: The Blacklist was the final name of the album,  did you have any others in mind?
Briggs: I had ‘The Gospel According to Briggs’ on my EP, that’s just because I needed to put something there for people to look out for. It never really had another name, or working title, it was just in a folder called ‘NEW RECORD’ then I changed that folders name and the rest is history.
It sounded cool… And I often found myself banned from certain places. There’s not a whole lot of depth to the name.

aahh: The lead track from the album ‘The Wrong Brother’ is an absolute banger, accompanied by a brilliant film clip. Are there any plans for another clip for a track off the album?
Briggs: I certainly hope so. Trials and I have a great idea for ‘So Dangerous’. But nothing is confirmed so far.

aahh: Soon Australia will see Ice Cube tour and you’ve been named as the support, are you looking forward to this?
Briggs: Ice Cube has been my favourite rapper since I was a kid, so im definitely excited for the opportunity to gain some more fans and share the same bill with a legend of that calibre.

aahh: Aside from hip hop, we hear you’re a bit of a Lakers fan?
Briggs: Love the Lakers. Phil and Kobe are taking us to the 3 peat. Fuck Miami and fuck Boston. Also a massive Bombers fan, the messiah Hird has returned to windy hill, his hair is still golden and we’ll reign down sulfur on the infidels, so fuck the pies and fuck Carlton.

aahh: Final thoughts and comments, album launch?
Briggs: Thank you to everyone who picked up the record and if you haven’t picked it up, go have a listen. I’ll be out and about with Jaytee and Eloquor on the Ice Cube tour and ill be around again with Drapht in December.

The Wrong Brother Single – Out Now grab it here.
Briggs debut album The Blacklist – Out Now grab it here.

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