Track By Track: WA hip hop royalty Downsyde take us through their new album, ClassicILL
The boys are back in town in a big way.
After almost a decade since their fourth studio album, WA hip hop kings Downsyde have recently dropped LP #5 - ClassicILL, a monster comeback release that is another example of why they're one of the most respected Aussie hip hop groups in the game. Blending elements of disco, funk, hip hop, boom bap and more, with MCs Optamus, Dazastah and Shabaz getting it done over 16 huge tracks, with some special guests along the way (including the late, great MC Hunter on track 10, Life Is Music).
We're pretty honoured to share the below track by track for the album, offering a little snapshot behind the scenes for some of WA's finest.
My man Chris Foster and I worked on this classical themed banger with really stripped back drums and scratches. Wait for the DROP!
Only Got Now
Produced by Dazastah with his trademark stomping drums, also features Porsah Laine who absolutely smashes the chorus and bridges. The theme of the song is about "living for the moment" as if it was the last party you will ever have on the eve of Armageddon.
Back In The Game
Produced by Optamus, with live horns, flutes and keys and Sam Nafie on the hook. This is definitely a fun throwback track with a nod to that classic 90s big drums/big horn sound. The lyrics are "Beastie Boy-esque" back and fourth rhyme schemes which was really fun to record.
I Gotta Song
Produced by Opt and Chris Foster this track has a really interesting drum pattern and tension building to the choruses. Sam Nafie also features on this one. The lyrics were basiclly a competition to see who could reference as many songs in one verse as possible. Not sure who won though ha ha.
Produced by Jsquared feat. Moondog on the hook. I watched a video of Jsquared playing the piano melody on Instagram and hit him up about working on a tune. This fun disco tune was what came out of that collab, we loved the finished result.
The Hunger Inside
Produced by Optamus and Chris Foster. This is a classic Downsyde banger with Optamus and Dazastah trading off with verses. The Hunger Inside refers to our burning desire to keep doing what we love all these years later.
Fire It Up
Produced By Optamus and horns by Premiss this is a classic bouncey Downsyde jam. Self explanatory really, Fire It Up!!
Produced By Optamus and Chris Foster this is probably the darkest street banger on the record. With Rob Shaker on the cut, with KRS One lines. It's that gritty New York feel which we love.
Life Is Music
This is an epic 10-minute possee cut which switches and changes to each vocalist. Featuring an all star cast of SBX MC's with Drapht on the chorus and the late Hunter making his final appearance. It also includes Bitter Belief, Layla, Mortar, Matty B, Downsyde, Mr Grevis and Emjay.
Produced by Optamus and Chris Foster. This is a tongue in cheek song about dreaming big, with a playful orchestral arrangement and a huge sing-along chorus. Really fun to do live.
This features Paulie P and is an anthem dedicated to blue collar workers. Big drums, big keys and features DJ Armee on the cut.
I'm Very Glad
Is a trapped-out synthy Dazastah beat, coining the term "I'm Very Glad" passed down from his Grandfather.
Playing WIth Fire
Produced By Dazastah and featuring The Merindas on the hook this is a song about "your crazy ex'' where everyone else knows they are bad news except you.
Also features The Merindas and is probably one of the only other darker style songs on the album.
With a dirty synth and stripped-back drums this is the goodbye outro as you fall asleep listening to the album on your headphones. Got an instrumental section for crew to spit raps to as well.
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