JCK – Hip Hop’s Dark Side
New Zealand Hip-Hop artist JCK is all about creativity and originality. Gothic inspired imagery, catchy well crafted songs and captivating music videos set JCK apart from the legions of look alike, sound alike Hip-Hop artists currently flooding the market.
His first single ‘Tipee Tipee Taa Taa‘ features a creepily cut and pasted midget albino vampire clown and a character in a light blue Gary Oldman Dracula style suit. Not to mention scantily clad dancers and a rapping Gorilla. The single went live on Friday the 13th of February with the follow up single ‘Next To You‘ going live on Friday the 13th of March. This eerily coincides with the 13th year of JCK being in action. The latest music video also stars the JCK mascot an animated “Jib Jab” type character Jumpygeusse the vampire and again strippers. Lots of strippers. Accused by one critic of pedalling soft porn and Satanism JCK’s newest offering is in the style of EDM/Rave Rap and a departure from the Trap style of the first single ‘Tipee Tipee Taa Taa’.
JCK is a multi instrumentalist as well as a rapper and singer. He produces his own music and even films, directs and edits his own music videos.
“I use lots of vampiric imagery in my music videos and art work. The Vampire is trapped between worlds. He walks in the world of the living and the world of the dead. But he doesn’t belong to either. I feel like that with the worlds of music. I walk between Hip-Hop culture, Rock culture and Pop culture but I don’t really quite fit in any of them.”
JCK has a unique approach to rap and his strong New Zealand accent gives his music and sound a whole new dimension. Similar to what you would find in the evolution of U.K grime music. If you were going to compare his sound he would be somewhere between Eminem, Everlast, Die Antwoord and Dizzee Rascal. His songs range from synth heavy and danceable club bangers to organic sounding rap ballads that are stripped back to drums acoustic guitar and harmonica.
JCK formed in music school in 2002 as JCK and the dirty ho bags. Back then It was James Castady-Kristament as MC and 3 female back up singer and dancers. They played a live performance on Maori TV and James won scholastic awards for Songwriting and Production that year. In 2004 they caught the attention of respected Indie label Pagan/Antenna records and scored a record deal.
Soon after, they were successful in receiving funding from New Zealand On Air and recorded their debut single ‘Freak in the Club‘ with an accompanying music video, a Hip-Hop single that took the nation by storm and played on all of New Zealand’s music television shows for a good part of a year.
The self-funded music video and single ‘Spirit X‘ was the second single off of the album making it to NZ television music station Juice TV and receiving over 10,000 downloads on USA website www.garageband.com. Their song ‘Hollow Soul‘ off of the same album also charted at number 5 on the U.K’s KIAC Independent Music Charts Big 100,000 in the Dance category and attracted tens of thousands of listeners. They also had 2 singles make it to the Kiwi Hit Disk from the album. Their single ‘Truly Mine’ and the ever popular ‘Freak In The Club’
In April 2011 JCK’s music video for his single ‘Cars And Money’ was play listed on C4’s Homegrown and received thousands of YouTube views. That year he also teamed up with The Robba to collaborate on a song called ‘Swearwords’ which attracted over 80,000 YouTube views. JCK and The Robba released a single in 2007 called Like A Virus with a home made music video. The video got play listed on Alt TV and JCK and The Robba toured New Zealand on the Odd Get Even tour.
In 2012 JCK released the full length album titled ‘The Bees‘ which got him noticed by Urban/pop label Empire Records. Also that same year JCK was privileged to be involved with being the rapping voice for Benvolio in the musical movie remake of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo & Juliet A Love Song. In 2013 JCK released The Vampire Trilogy of singles and music videos through Empire Records. JCK’s single Stroke The Cat was play listed on C4 and his single Straitjacket received thousands of YouTube views.
JCK is also a regular on the Auckland battle rap scene and often judges battles for the ‘1 Outs Street Battle‘ events and is an occasional battle participant. The battle rap influence can definitely be heard in the single ‘Tipee Tipee Taa Taa’ with JCK making quips about New Zealand stars ‘Lorde’, ‘David Dallas’, ‘Anna Mac’ and Hip-Hop record label ‘Dawn Raid’.
This is not your typical Hip-Hop, JCK occupies his own unique creative space.
“Most Hip-Hop artists seem to want to take you on the same journey with their music. That’s usually a trip through the hood they grew up in. It’s like the hoods getting over crowded with rapper tour guides. I might take you to the hood for a quick look around, but only on route to somewhere a little more interesting”
So If you’re tired of the same box ticking industry Hip-Hop clones that seem to be endlessly paraded through the media, JCK offers an alternative. JCK’s third full length album titled Land Of The Wrong White Crowd is available now.