Oddballz is hip hop of the ‘next’ variety. A melting pot of boundary pushing concept and sound mixed with the unique chemistry between emcees Cyphanetik, Ethical and producer Exile. The group - as the name may suggest – are not your average hip hop crew. While they draw influences from hardcore hip hop, the trio work to assert integrity in their music and temper this with focus on what the fans want to hear. So instead of following the tried and tested, the group has used it’s diversity and originality to pave a new way for hip hop in New Zealand. This quality is recognised by true hip hop enthusiasts and has ensured a solid foundation and fan base without prior music videos or commercial radio play.
Coming from strong hip hop foundations, the trio have gained major respect through their contributions to the hip hop scene. Cyphanetik is both 2004 NZ MC Battle for Supremacy Champion and three time representative for NZ in the Trans-Tasman Battle for Supremacy. This last representation gained him second place on Australian soil – a hard won honour. Ethical - also known as Eth 1 – is consecutive winner of New Plymouth MC Battles.
Cyphanetik and Ethical hooked up whilst recording for the BreakinWreckwordz self-titled LP. Based in New Plymouth and part of now defunct hip hop group Dirtbag District, Ethical moved up to Auckland to pursue a solo path in his rap career with BWW. Around this time Exile (who had been making beats for five years by this stage) moved up to Auckland from Wellington. They met through mutual friends at the beginning of 2004 and Oddballz was complete.
The trio work hard on expression in their music and use their unique sound to exploit the previously unspoken. “We let the music talk, rather than the image” says Ethical, “I want to be heard with something new that people can feel, and which speaks clearly of me. But I want to stay humble too.”
Despite this modest attitude, on stage Oddballz are pure fire and their live performances are perhaps their best known trait. Energetic clarity makes for large crowd appeal – a fact event organisers and clubs have been quick to recognise and take advantage of, having played support for acts such as Busta Rhymes.
Oddballz are working on an album for release in 2006 but if you keep your ear to street you’ll be hearing more from these guys before then.
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