'Kaupapa Driven' partners in rhyme release pre-lockdown EP

By Bronson Perich

Ngāpuhi Emcees Envioso and Phulaphekt released their EP 'Kaupapa Driven 2' just before the lockdown began. As life returns to some semblance of normality, they shared their thoughts on the music industry, starting with NZ Music Month.

“(It's) simply an opportunity to showcase our talents, share some singles, albums and kaupapa of the times,” Phulaphekt says.

“It’s a time to celebrate New Zealand Music and also an opportunity for New Zealand music to be heard,” Envioso says.

“Especially Māori,” Phulaphekt adds.

Phulaphekt went to a tangi recently on Manurewa Marae, standing to give a waiata tautoko in full face mask and gloves, was for him, ‘a clash of two worlds’. 

They say while COVID has yet to affect their careers, it has made it harder to create new music.

“Not only do you miss your mates, but you want to make music with them as well. So the only thing I could do was either practice on an instrument, or sharpen up on creating a song or writing the lyrics,” Envioso says.

Phulaphekt cited Ruia Aperehama as one of his influences. One of his favourite moments in the industry was opening up for Ranea and Ruia at Koroneihana in 2004.

“Ush! Old Māori Bob Marley!” Envioso exclaims.

“When I saw them doing Bob Marley, in te reo and polishing it off with ‘Mr Daddy Long-Legs! Crawling up to the ceiling!’” Phulaphekt explains.

Envioso named Delvanius Prime as his inspiration. He was the producer behind the Patea Māori Club single, ‘Poi E’.

“He incorporated that funky groovy beat to Māori music. Which is, kinda [sic] in a different way what we’re doing. We’re trying to incorporate te reo with Hip Hop.”

Future plans include more production work for Envioso and another record for Phulaphekt.

"Going for 'boom bap' hip hop lyricism on one and going for the tikanga Māori on the other," Phulaphekt says.

Named 'Dragontwin', the two-volume will cover topics such as mental illness, calling on Scribe to return, and a mihi to his parents. This, Phulaphekt says will be his magnum opus, before he hangs up his mic.

"If he (Scribe) doesn't come back, pay me! Pay me! I'll take you all to the promised land!" Phulaphekt finishes.

Envioso says that along with supporting his partner in rhyme, he'll be looking to produce with other artists.