I recently attended a Matua Talanoa session as a part of my local council's efforts to address the enormous representation of Pacific Islander youth represented in Victoria's Juvenile detention centres. ABC reported that Pacific Islander youth make up a total of 14 percent of youths who are sentenced and spend time in a Juvenile detention centre. This is a huge number.
During our parent discussions, we found that one reason for this discord causing issues in homes is intergenerational conflict and lack of communication. With one area being the dreams and aspirations of our youth not being heard by parents because of their own hopes and dreams for their children. Today we are talking to a young man who chose a path that is not what a typical Pacific Islander would choose and how his family have overcome an intergenerational gap to find their middle ground. Here are 5 questions with Nomad.
1. Pacific Islanders, particularly Samoans, push their children to become doctors and lawyers, what made you want to become a rap artist and how did your parents react?
Music has played a major role in my life, particularly Hip-Hop and RnB. My mum used to sing Lauryn Hill all the time and my Dad exposed me to Kanye West and Jay-Z at a very young age. I knew I could write songs, but it wasn't until my last year in High School that I decided to take rapping seriously. I think naturally my parents were sceptical at first, but after I showed them my first full song I feel they've been very supportive of my dream.
2. The Pacific Islands are known for their spirituality, with this knowledge, how did you feel producing songs featuring explicit lyrics?
Well, it's a choice I had to make very early on, but my Grandma actually made it much easier. I knew going into the Fixtape that the subject matter wasn't going to be sunshine and rainbows. I emphasise on certain words in order to express the full emotion I feel at that point. If I drop an F Bomb you'll hear the anger I'm feeling. That's what I want you to feel. That's how I convey my message. My Grandma (very strong in her faith) actually heard my song 'Listen' and told my mum she loved it, that she understood there was swearing but there was a reason for it.
3. Hero for hire, particularly the lyrics toward the end of the song indicate that some friends were not there to support you when you began, what made you get up and continue to work on your dreams?
That's a funny song really. Hero For Hire is based on the Marvel superhero Luke Cage and the similarities I feel I share with him. When I say "Would you consider me a hero?" the repetition implies my conflict. How could I consider myself a hero when no one else does? This pathway is a constant battle both mentally and physically, the thing about Luke Cage though is despite all the adversity he's been through he still comes out on top. You gotta have thick skin to play in a game like this, even when your best friends turn into enemies.
4. What was your inspiration behind your song Listen?
I wrote Listen after a girl in St Albans was gang-raped by a group of grown men. It's pure anger. I was on Facebook reading comments blaming the girl, shaming the victim, I couldn't believe the ignorance of some of these people. It just hit home that people would say the same thing about my sisters had it been them. I just felt I had a responsibility to speak as a man and address the real issue. Don't blame the victim.
5. If you could work with any artist in the world, past or present, who would it be and why?
I'd work with J. Cole, no doubt. I've been listening to his music since the start of my adolescence and I just feel he's been a huge help in my transition into adulthood. I'd love to pick his brain philosophically and musically, see what we could come up with together.