Rookie Card - the symbol of [someone] entering the league, and if they turn out to be a legend itís by far the most valuable." Ė PNC
Modern Hip-Hop is lost. The art form has become somewhat of a caricature of its former self. The innovative and rebellious nature of its golden era has been replaced by sub-standard replication and an overall mundane attitude. So often the most inspiring the culture has to offer is overshadowed by the most embarrassing. As time and time again artists stumble over themselves to duplicate an inferior status quo, it has become clear Rap music needs reminding of what made it so captivating and entertaining in the first place.
Leading the pack in the chase for a renaissance, Sam Hansen aka PNC is poised to etch his mark on popular music. At 22 years young, his music is a reflection of growing up in New Zealand. Half Samoan half European, Sam was raised a single child in a solo parent household. His mother, a strong political activist, instilled in him left wing ideals and a fighting attitude at a young age.
He spent his formative years in the Manawatu districts of Palmerston North and Feilding. Not your typical Aotearoa hip-hop hotspots, Sam gained his appreciation for urban music at a young age. "My walkman was my number one companion. I used to listen to Boyz II Men over and over. I'd learn their individual parts then replay the song four times and pretend I was a different one of them each time. I could never sing though".
Michael Jackson, TLC, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony & Snoop Doggy Dogg were among his pre-teen favourites. During adolescence he became engrossed in the music of such artists as Jay-Z, Tupac, Nas, Notorious BIG, Outkast and Eminem. The soundscape of these legends directly relates to PNC's own style. "Iíve always liked artists that can affect your mood in different ways. They can make you happy, sad, amped, chilled, but the whole time it has that soul and attitude. Thatís what I try to put in my music."
Samís own career began solely from a love for the music. "I'd been into hip-hop forever, but as I got older I was more interested in actually creating it myself. It wasnít because people around me were doing it; I just loved how these guys put words together. When I was 16 I distinctly remember hearing Jay-Z's "Dynasty Intro" and it convinced me to rap." Charged off that, he began writing 16 bar verses over famous instrumentals, rapping on a local university radio show with a friend. A few years later he gained the confidence to make some homemade demos and send them out and about. "I'd put songs up on the internet and posted some demos, I wasnít too sure if I had actual talent at rapping, I just knew thatís itís what I wanted to do."
In 2004, he chose to follow his dream by moving to Auckland, and began working with the underground staple Breakin Wreckwordz. The alliances gave him his first taste of the scene with constant gigging and an avenue to record and release his music. His solo track 'Day In The Life' from the Breakin' Wreckwordz debut compilation, spent three weeks at #1 on the bFM charts. Around that time he grew a rapport with a newly signed Dirty Records artist named Con-Psy. This meeting of minds coincided with the release of P-Money's sophomore LP 'Magic City'. Sam collaborated with P-Money & Con Psy on the raucous 'Get Back', and P invited him to record vocals for two other stand-out tracks, '321 (Remix)' and the chart-topping 'Stop The Music', for which he performed the chorus. This led to numerous video clips, television appearances and tours, to which Sam credits his major learning curve. "When I did the clips and tours with Money, it was a quick and large step up. I was performing to packed clubs and theatres alongside the likes of Scribe & Pete, so it gave me a chance early on to see how things worked at the very top". His numerous appearances gained fast-paced notoriety and had industry heavyweights like DJ Sir-Vere labelling him "the next big thing".
In mid 2005 he signed a contract with Dirty Records to record his debut album.
"I used to collect basketball cards when I was young. The most sought after card was someoneís rookie card. Itís the symbol of them entering the league, and if they turn out to be a legend itís by far the most valuable."
PNC's debut LP 'Rookie Card' is set to breathe fresh air into the tiring lungs that is rap. His uncannily fluid-flow combined with earnest lyricism are draped over a vibrant tapestry of instrumentals provided by todayís most respected producers. At times, simultaneously playful and poignant, his 14 track opus is a honest reflection of life as an 80's baby in New Zealand, and was directed by the acute and accomplished ear of super-producer P-Money. "I wanted to make an album that was a throwback to the early-to-mid 90's, thatís my favourite period of music full stop. I also wanted it to be a representation of not only my life, but for people with a similar background and upbringing as me." Songs like the Fire & Ice laced 'Memory Lane', 'Only Child Style' and 'What I Do' serve as lyrical anecdotes of the life of a 22 year olds journey growing up in modern New Zealand. The up-tempo 80's soul styling of 'Just Roll' and 'Saturday Getaway' (featuring Awanui of Nesian Mystik) are reminiscent of groups like Naughty By Nature, with their anthemic, feel good vibe. PNC struts his MC swagger on bangers like 'The King' and P-Money's underground hit 'Bomb!' while 41 (from the critically acclaimed group Frontline) provides a booming bass line and sinister synths for the standout bravado track 'Who Better Than This'. Che Fu and new-comer Perceive lend a hand on 'Stress Relief' where Sam illustrates his need and process to escape reality, and Scribe boldly asserts himself over the blaring horns of 'Dead Pioneers' where the two MC's discuss the perils of money-making in the music industry.
All in all, 'Rookie Card' serves an uplifting statement, catering to any fan of good music.
'Rookie Card' will be released through Dirty Records / Warner Music on September 25th.
Sam Hansen (vocals, MC)
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New album for PNC
Posted: Sun May 3, 2009 4:57 pm
PNC returns on June 2nd 2009 with 'Bazooka Kid', the follow up to his 2007 NZ Music Award Winning debut, 'Rookie Card'.
'Bazooka Kid' contains all new material from PNC plus the hit singles 'Moonlight', 'Find Me' ft Chong Nee, 'Take Me Home' ft Mz J (which was a Real Groove Top 10 song pick of 2008 ), and the lead track 'Tonight' to be released on May 4th, guaranteed (with its eye-catching video) to get people talking!
Production on 'Bazooka Kid' is shared by Forty One, Beat Kamp, P-Money, Fire Ice and JSquared.
'Bazooka Kid' will be available on June 2nd through Rhythmethod and DRM, online via itunes, Amplifier, Digirama, Vodafone and Telecom.
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