July 10, 2008

Hip-Hop Artist the Real Deal

By TUTAKI, Denise

MUCH of hip-hop has become lost. What was an innovative art form has been replaced by substandard imitation, but Auckland hip-hop artist Sam Hansen, aka PNC, aims to change that.

PNC heads to the Brook Ale House on Saturday as part of Dirty Records' 2 Rappers and a DJ tour featuring P-Money and David Dallas.

Of Samoan and European heritage, PNC was raised in a solo- parent household in Manawatu by a mum who instilled him with a fighting attitude and a set of left- wing ideals. She also gave him an introduction to music in the form of 1960s and '70s soul and rock.

"I've been into music since I remember, I always loved it, but it was in the '80s that I turned to hip hop and Mum played a huge role in that she was my support system. There must be a lot of kids that tell their parents they want to be a rapper, and the parents would have something to say about that. I didn't see anything that interested me university-wise, and if I didn't have my mum's support with hip- hop, I wouldn't have gone for it like I did. I'm glad I chose this path," says PNC.

He started listening to Bobby Brown, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Boyz II Men in his pre-teen years before immersing himself in the music of Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls and Tupac.

"It appealed to me -- the sound just connected -- but it was also hip-hop's ability to tell a story about life and go into it in depth, as well as trying to say something about the world and social situations."

He began writing 16-bar verses over famous instrumentals and made up some homemade demos to send out before moving to Auckland to follow his dream.

He began working with the underground Breakin Wreckwordz, and after a collaboration with Dirty Records artist Con-Psy and P-Money on Get Back, he was invited by P-Money to record vocals for 321 (Remix) and Stop the Music -- a major learning curve for the young rapper.

With DJ Sir Vere calling him the next big thing in hip-hop, PNC signed to Dirty Records in 2005 and recorded debut Rookie Card that was designed to breathe fresh air into the tiring hip-hop industry.

"To a certain degree, like with all kinds of music, and with hip- hop, it starts off pure as pure can be, but when the money comes along it transforms into a business, and not an art form. I want to give back to the art form, and I don't think it's about making a name for yourself. There are quite a few artists in New Zealand that buy into it for the fame, because there is no money, and that means no passion for the music. That's how I was feeling when I made the album."

He doesn't regret the move to Auckland, which has allowed him to tap into the talents of top hip-hop artists and labels and advance his career to another level.

"To be around them on a daily basis has been beneficial, otherwise I'd still be doing this at home. But Palmerston North is where it all started, and I got into this by listening to classic albums and recording at home on a computer. You could do that anywhere, whether you are in Invercargill or Whangarei. If you have a love for hip-hop and pursue it, and work at it, then you can make it happen."

(c) 2008 Daily News; New Plymouth, New Zealand. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.