This Rapper is Bringing 'Dirty Luxury' to Australia [Exclusive]
In Australia’s rather insulated hip-hop scene, where diversity in music is not entirely welcome, Jayson Becconsall—or Philbu$trr, as he’s known in the industry—is a rare bird. Like a California Condor, or an ibis. He’s a contrarian, is what we’re saying—and a not not sexy one either. “It’s almost like there is this social stigma attached to being an Australian hip-hop artist that sounds or looks different,” he told us. “If you don’t rap about what they rap about, you’re not in the ‘boys club.’” Well fortunately for Becconsall (and for us), he makes abundantly catchy music.
It was around seven-to-eight years ago when Becconsall first started his career in hip-hop, as one half of Filthy Creatures, a “hip-hop crew,” as he describes it, that he started with his friend Hunter Page. Eventually he went solo and has been on the come-up ever since, unwavering in his commitment to upholding hip-hop’s American roots—even if he’s one of its only champions within a 3,000-mile radius.
Unlike the majority of Australian rappers, Becconsall has his sights set not just high, but far too. Which isn’t to say he’s not proud of his roots; on the contrary, he’s an effusively proud Maori (that means he’s indigenous to New Zealand), and until he has the means to move to Los Angeles, he plans to stay put and do his part to broaden the scope and reach of Australia’s hip-hop scene—to rewrite its rules, essentially—one track at a time.
His music is American at its core—“the culture was born there and that should be respected,” he told us—but executed by a British and Australian team. And “28/16,” the music video for which we’re premiering exclusively on Milk, is “a trap banger…kind of like my version of ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ by Biggie,” Becconsall told us. “I just made it for people to dance to.” And dance we certainly will; I’m no music writer, but to me this sounds a lot like a marriage of a Kendrick Lamar-flavored inflection and a Riff-Raff-tinged rhythm. But that’s just me.
Below, peep the majestic video, directed by none other than Byron Spencer, and see for yourself. Then read on to find out how exactly Becconsall differs from other Australian musicians, and how he plans to change that.
You’ve called your music “American influenced.” Can you expand on that a bit?
The trap/hip-hop scene in Australia is polluted with a whole lot of the same sounding artists that all rap about the same themes and generally lack a bit of substance. Every rapper I admire and look up to is American based. So I emulate American artists over Australian.
Who would you die to collaborate with?
[That’d] have to be Diplo or Anderson .Paak. Diplo [takes] artists to the next level and [creates] their sound. Whereas Anderson is just a straight-up genius—[I’d] love to see how he works.
What’s the hip-hop scene like in Australia? Do you think it’s missing anything?
[It] lacks creativity and diversity. Everyone kind of looks the same and acts the same.
What can you always turn to for a jolt of inspiration?
I constantly find inspiration through other peoples’ experiences and lives. Sometimes if I find myself lost about what to write I’ll pretend I’m someone else with a different perspective on things. The [people] I hold close inspire me every day to be the best person I can be.
How do you think hip-hop has changed over the last couple years?
[It’s] made some big turns and changes in the past couple years. Since its birth in the ‘80s, it’s completely [changed]. The new effects and advances in technology means it’s a whole different sound now. Whereas back in the day it was pretty much all about flow, now a lot of rappers/singers focus more on their melodies. People say that there aren’t values in hip-hop anymore but I disagree. I think values have just changed, so the music changes with it.
So you mentioned you also work at a vintage store. Which one is it? And does style play a big part in your music?
I help my friends out with a store called Storeroom Vintage. Amazing threads all hand-picked in L.A., brought back to Australia! I’m super into vintage; every piece has a story.
I think your own personal flavor or style bleeds into your art whether you want it to or not. I like the idea of grunge and I like high fashion too. I feel like my music is that—really dirty luxury. Like a trashed room at the Hilton. [Laughs]
Anyone’s style you’re currently really into?
Young Thug’s. I think it’s really cool that he takes risks with what he wears; it [shows] confidence. I like that there are role models within the hip-hop community that think it’s alright to be a bit different. Also Rihanna and Pharrell kill it.
Can you tell me a bit about “28/16” and its music video that we’re premiering?
[It’s] a trap banger about hustling. The idea of the video was to just look like a trip. All aesthetic, no storyline. Just something entertaining that you don’t have to think about. I really like color; I just wanted it to be wild.
My good friends Byron Spencer and Mark Vassalo helped me on this project. Byron’s film work is amazing and he’s working on a bunch of really cool music stuff. Mark is an influential stylist from Australia and helped me with the look for the video. It’s important as an artist to work with other artists of different mediums. Music and clothing go so well together; I feel like each represents important parts of our culture. Without those two, I’d be lost.
And lastly, how would you sum up your sound?
My sound is changing as I’m learning more about singing and trying to not be [only] a rapper, but an artist. I describe my sound currently as champagne trap. Heaps of high- and low-end with cutting mid-range vocals. Hip-hop is changing and we’re all trying to change with it.
Video Director: Byron Spencer
DOP: Ken Butti
Editor: Byron Spencer
Dancers: Matthew Gode
Creative Director: Byron Spencer
Producer: Korky Buchek
Stylist: Mark Vassallo
All photos taken exclusively for Milk by Byron Spener.
Stay tuned to Milk for more rappers on the rise.