From West Australia to Wash Us In Blood: The rise of Finatik N Zac (FnZ)
Behind some of the past decade’s biggest hip-hop records are a pair of Perth-based producers finding international fame.
For a duo with a discography like FnZ, the Perth-raised pairing are hardly a household name back at home.
As we’ve talked about a couple of times over the years, the past decade has been transformative for hip-hop. It’s now the most popular genre in the world, taking the reigns off rock a few years back, and with wave after wave of newcomers arriving from every corner of the globe, it seems the momentum isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Across this time, Perth-raised, internationally-based production duo FnZ - i.e. Michael "Finatik" Mulé and Isaac "Zac" Deboni - have found themselves at the core of some of the genre’s most crucial and celebrated moments, and despite being a go-to producer for literally the world’s largest rappers, there aren’t too many people out there who know their name.
Over the last ten years, FnZ have build a discography that’s amongst hip-hop’s most long-winding and versatile. Despite being just six months into a release-quiet year, the duo found themselves on Kanye’s returning Wash Us In Blood just last week, while tracks from IDK and Denzel Curry have littered the rest of the year. In the years prior, they were a central figure of Jesus Is King’s high-points; the production core of Denzel Curry’s groundbreaking ZUU record; collaborating with FKA Twigs and Frank Ocean through A$AP Rocky’s Testing and the list goes on: Wiz Khalifa, Jaden Smith, G-Eazy, Machine Gun Kelly and so on tapping into the duo’s production prowess.
However, some would tell you it’s been a long time coming. At the turn of the last decade - way back in 2009 - FnZ were already beginning to make moves. As a teenager, Finatik was already dripping in accolades, beginning to carve a career in DJing after entering his first DJ battle at 14. He went on to come second place at an Australian DMC Final before turning 18, then followed Zac’s suit in production, who had been toying around with production software throughout high school. “We started making beats on FL and Reason, we were the only people in school making beats, and I never really stopped after that, told Zac to Complex in 2019.
Soon after, Finatik and Zac found themselves in the depths of international hip-hop, swerving around the geographical boundaries that often have Australian producers grinding for years before they head internationally. In fact, bar some production teaching by Dazastah (from WA legendary hip-hop group Downsyde) and some scratching on a Drapht record, almost all of FnZ’s discography are for international acts; a nod to their global outreach, and a grind that has taken them beyond some of Australia’s most celebrated producers.
It wasn’t too long before FnZ found themselves in the US. They moved to Miami in 2011, an in-the-moment relocation that came after signing a publishing deal under the wing of producer Jim Jonsin (Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Usher), who came across the duo after their manager at the time sent him a file full of beats and demos. Then, came sessions for A$AP Rocky’s earliest work and Wiz Khalifa, with the duo producing three tracks from the latter’s Blacc Hollywood album.
Skip forward five years, and FnZ are one of the most in-demand producers in the hip-hop market, thousands and thousands of kilometres away from their home. They aided Denzel Curry in finding his moment, producing almost all of his debut Imperial record - and launching a friendship and collaborative partnership that’d see the duo produce much of his work since - and have since floated between international heavyweights and up-and-comers alike, while returning to Australia to work with Vancouver Sleep Clinic on his Therapy Phase record in 2018.
They’re also now in with the G.O.O.D. Music off-shoot - in addition to producing Kanye’s recent single and Jesus Is King selects, they also worked on his insane Nebuchadnezzar opera - and the doors in FnZ’s lives are seemingly opening faster than they can move, with no doubt plenty more to come in the future.
Not bad for a little ol’ pair of producers from Perth, hey?
Take a dive into their most recent production work - Kanye’s new single - below.