Catch Raiza Biza at our VICELAND 1st birthday party in Auckland on December 1. Go here to rsvp and win tickets.
Raiza Biza would like you to know that he’s not a conscious rapper.
“I may make ‘conscious’ music,” he says, “but I'm also ignorant. I'm also this, I'm also that. At the end of the day, I just write about things that make me feel something.”
One of those things is addiction. It’s the topic of ‘SOS’, a recent song of his that lays bare the parallels he sees between substance abuse and internet obsession. Whether your vice is smoking weed or drinking or social media, Biza says there comes a certain point where you give too much of yourself over to it.
“That person who's sitting inside their room and spending all their time on the internet and not getting out of the house, they're almost just as bad as the person that wakes up in the morning and reaches in that fridge, has a drink, and then stays in the room and doesn't see the world,” he says.
It’s one of the strongest songs he’s ever crafted. So strong, in fact, that his mum called him after hearing it to say that she was a little concerned about the nature of some of the lyrics. “She was like, ‘hey, do you want to move back home for a little bit? You know you can talk to me about anything, right?’”
Biza is not returning to the Hamilton home he grew up in but he's still based in the town where he has spent the last few years not-so-quietly making a name for himself in the local hip-hop scene. Lately he’s set his sights on seeing just how much further his music can really take him. This year alone he’s performed in China and throughout New Zealand, and just last month he arrived back from a three-week tour around Europe.
“I think in New Zealand, half of the thing people have to get over is thinking that they don't deserve it, or they're not good enough for it,” he says. “I can't help anyone that feels that way because you have to feel like you deserve it and you really want it because you're going to hit obstacles if you don't have that self-belief. You're just going to give up. I've seen it happen too many times with some of the dopest artists that I've met.”
It was also in Europe where he filmed the visuals for a song that dropped earlier this year called ‘Full-Time’. “I was supposed to do a video but it didn't feel right doing the video from New Zealand. It felt like I needed to be telling the story from elsewhere,” he says. In the end, the clip came together in the streets of Amsterdam and Paris. It was shot by Connor Pritchard, another young Kiwi doing big things, who is also behind music videos from Abdul Kay, BAYNK, The Black Seeds and diehard Onehunga locals SWIDT.
“I had kind of kept quiet since I dropped Day & Night [in 2016], but we were doing all this shit in the background,” says Biza. “We were doing this work in China and working on this Europe tour and people are like Ray, where's your music at? I'm like, I'm working really hard, you have no idea. It’s kind of an ode to that. It was also a competitive thing. Hip-hop is kind of a competitive genre, so it was me saying ‘I’m here. You may not see it all the time but we're working hard. We're doing things.’”
Right now, one of those things is a new EP. Once that’s out of the way, his goal is to spend four months of the year touring and the rest making music.
“[The European tour] made me realise that my music is bigger than me. I'm just a conduit almost. I'm just out here living my own life, but my music is living its own life. It made me pull my ego back a bit and be like, there's a bigger picture. That was probably the biggest thing I took from it. I have to be in the studio whether or not I particularly feel like it. It's not a case of mood anymore, or fun anymore. This is what I've been building towards.”
Remember, Raiza Biza is playing our VICELAND 1st birthday party in Auckland on December 1. Go here to rsvp and win tickets. And you can watch VICELAND any time on SKY Channel 13.
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