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Interview with XCeeD

02 Jun 2015 // An interview by jck2

Today on ‘The Rap It Up’ blog I interview Rahul Mukund one of New Zealand’s most notorious battle MC’s. Rahul aka XCeeD is a kind of "super villain", if you will, of the 1 outs battle league. Famous for crossing lines no sane man would dare to cross and most notorious for stepping on the Samoan flag in a battle with a big Samoan battle M.C named Krude.

XCeeD who has been involved in physical altercations with offended opponents before has been in the spotlight again for touching on an extremely sensitive subject of the unfortunate death of a fellow rappers twin babies. The ability to offend hardened battle rappers is a feat in its self but this particular “personal” at The '1 Outs' 'Face The Hate Two' event hit such a raw nerve with the crowd of fans, that he was attacked shortly afterwards by enraged punters.

XCeeD is from Auckland's suburb of Mount Roskill and is of Indian descent. He is one of the more active MC’s in New Zealand and the gutsy but slightly built rapper is known for putting himself in the most precarious and dangerous situations for his art with battle lyrics packed to the brim with acidic wit and cutting personals. 

I wanted to find out more about XCeeD, his side of the story and find out what else he’s got in store for New Zealand Hip-Hop. 

Tell us about the music you're working on?

What's up? The music I am working on is mainly all singles. I have an array of records for all kinds of people from the mainstream to the underground and right in the middle where people from all parts can actually have some relation.  Ideally each record that I have made so far has been more for the mainstream audience. Albeit I would never lose touch with the underground roots and hence why my latest single Follow You depicts a far more sombre and restrained beat where I could just let go. The idea for that song was a relationship that ended sourly. I wanted to take the perspective of an ex boyfriend who turned into a stalker and could not let go of his ex girlfriend. In contrary I have songs which are about relationships such as Poison Arrow and further unreleased material (which may not see the light of day) where I felt I had to write about anyone out there who felt they were in a bad relationship. I used my own personal experiences and stretched ideas in contrast to make the listener feel like he/she was in the passenger seat listening to a real life experience where they also could relate. 

Do you produce your own beats or do you use any particular beat maker?

When you ask me If I produce beats? Yes I produce beats, I take what I have hummed or recorded on my phone and play this entirely back to my amazing set of engineers who bring everything to life. So technically yes I am producing but I am not behind the boards as such. I prefer to use classic instruments and avoid sampling as much as I can. I call myself organic.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of and why?

There are a few songs I am proud of. I think my main single which I am promoting right now Poison Arrow would be one. It mixes truth and also fantasy in a way I felt I executed perfectly. There are songs that no one has heard yet that I feel would top that. The reason being, its all life experience. I feel relationships with any human is something anyone can relate to and how you feel in that particular time frame. Each song for me is like a book, once read its either recommended or not. And with Poison Arrow I felt I could pen my feelings through anyone's relationship and people could relate to it. All relationships sell. Its something most common to all. The other song which has not been released titled Weight Of the World was another song which I felt I could relate to myself after writing to it and Magical Reality. I just wrote about the frustration of procrastination, the idea of feeling like you are somebody but yet you are nobody. being a tear drop in an ocean of Hip-Hop. 

Ideally each song I write I want to inspire people who feel there is no escape from this concrete reality society sets us. Relationships, heartbreak, lies, deceit, anger, seeing whack as fuck rappers on TV hearing them on radio and you know yourself you are better. Resonating with them. The boiling fucking pain you feel when you know each record you make needs to break. 

How does XCeeD as a recording artist differ from your battle rap persona?

HAHAHAHA great question. 

I feel that my motivation right now is in music. I took a break from battling as the scene in NZ is pretty pathetic but hey look everyone has an opinion and no one needs to agree with me on it. There is a huge, huge difference which I also battle with while making records and battling as such. When I used to battle (also coming from my recent battle) I couldn't give a fuck who I offend and its a battle. Names are used, personals are used. Win or lose its something that I will always take. But the thing is I never lose as there is always a lesson learned in everything. My objective in battle rap is obviously like any other battle emcee- to destroy your opponent and say the worst thing possible and its not just shock value for me. What I feel like saying I shall and will say and stand by my words in that ring. But battles only appeal to a certain target market compared to say song writing and making music. I think the transition of doing both is like an author writing Horrorcore books and kids novels. You are comparing an apple to an orange. Music pays, (but nowadays battles pay too) When I make records, I aim for the main audience who don't watch battles and fuck with music. Who want to just escape reality for that split second or minute and feel that someone out there is making music which resonates with them. Not everyone can relate to battle rap. But Battle rap is such that its a quick means of getting exposure if you are dope. When I step into the ring I want to pack my multis punches 2-4-6 bar set up as much as I can. When I Song write I want to make it as easy for the listener depending on who I am targeting. A underground ‘head’ doesn't wanna fuck with a song about a relationship and wants to hear 'bars' where I want to pack it up per beat. Then I have songs where I want to reach out to an audience adding bridges and hooks to raise the roof and be completely different to any emcee that makes music in this country. 

Hope that answers your question.

What sets XCeeD apart from other New Zealand battle rappers?

I have no feelings and I don't give a fuck. I would say much more but I would rather refrain. But people are doing their thing. Love me or hate me. Say what you want about me. But my numbers will never lie. And for the delusional minds that say 'battle rap is not about views' then please stick your head up your ass and don't bother getting on social media sites promoting your battle. Being the 2nd most viewed battle rapper in the country apart from others says a lot. I respect a lot of the new emcees. The people who I have lost to as well. It’s a real learning curve. There are some real hot emcees out there who drop some absolute gems which I feel don't carry weight (which I wish they did) But somehow I push through. Battles now are like an entertainment channel. People want to see who and what you are. Its almost a character you take home or become a house hold name. The amount of times I have been overwhelmed by people asking me for photos and things is a fantastic feeling which not many can experience. I think being the most hated has its benefits. I think NZ is very primitive in their battle leagues and I don't see myself succumbing to that level ever again. Its a sad thing. But I think my view counts should last me for a while and I only wish for the best, to be the best and my persona is like no other. I definitely think I got my popularity from NZ battles in the first place. I feel like Onyx from Pokemon.

Were you expecting the reaction you got from the “dead babies” line?

Funny you ask me that. I feel that line would sink in perfectly with my round 2 but expected that rough reaction. The sad part is, It was such a huge reaction it fully threw me off  for my following lines. I feel I smoked round 1 and had MSHN easy as hell in round 1 (due to his stumbling and lack of punches) But karma came to get me in that Round 2. That bar was so heavy that people were like "WHAT THE FUCK DID HE JUST SAY???" and that just threw me off so so heavily. I saw faggots like Rizz Kidd trying to edge me on. That threw me off completely and I lost all train of thought and he just WENT INNNN. Which I don't blame him. He saw it as an entire ROUND 2 of a choke and said ‘”fuck this is mine" which is human nature and I would do the Same. So no matter what I would say from that point I think I copped the automatic L. But this is what I mean. USA doesn't ask Iraq what weapons to deploy in a War. Of course in my right mind I would never say anything off the battle scene. I am cool with Mike. But I don't think after this he would be and I couldn't care less. The idea was to shock and make sense as it was a round 2 line. But if someone said  something along the lines of 'XCeeD this or XCeeD that" the crowd would inflate with cheers and If i did the same thing it turns into 'fuck this and fuck him' so I feel NZ is quite bias and if people disagree I couldn't care less. I have put in work and done my deeds.  Long story short I expected that reaction but not the fucking rubbish that ensued after.

What are your future plans for battle rap?

I think you will just have to wait and see. I will not say anything. Music wise? Keep going till something happens.

What's your favourite and least favourite thing about Hip-Hop culture?

Favourite thing about Hip-Hop? … It's rap I love rap like anything. Its an escape from reality and keeps me sane on those insane days and without it, I would be playing cricket for some Indian cricket club or being an economist for some shit house firm.

Least favourite thing?

DND and Dontel. (2 pathetic Emcees of this country HAHA) Garbage music. 

Check Out XCeeD's infamous battle with Krude:

Check Out behind the scenes footage of the single and video Poison Arrow by XCeeD

Follow XCeeD on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/xceedchoked

 Follow XCeeD on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/xceedchoked


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