Kween G – Sydney’s Hip Hop Queen



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Take a woman with strength and passion, add fearless ambition and dreams, mix with African pride and universal style and top off with a rhythmic hip hop flow and you get Kween G! She has held down the Australian hip hop community for over 15 years now with her consistent contributions to its music, art, fashion and community arms, lending her colourful spirit to its progression and continual growth into the Australian music industry’s mainstream.

This Ugandan born, Sydney raised Queen is no stranger to struggle and knows that to get what you want in this life you have to settle for nothing less than the best of yourself. As the only daughter in a family of three boys, Kween G grew up listening to the hip hop of her brothers’ ears, with a musical diet consisting of Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Nas and Rah Digga. Thus beginning her own foray into the frays of hip hop and the cultivation of one of the illest female emcees to come out of the Australian urban community. Creating the formidable female hip hop duo KillaKweens back in 2000 with fellow femcee Belizean Bombshell, the pair dominated our local hip hop scene with their powerful performances which soon landed them on the support tour circuit. Supporting heavy hitting artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Salt N Pepa, Public Enemy and Lucky Dube to name a few, the KillaKweens also went on to establish successful recording careers and released a series of EP’s and mixtapes that garnered them a strong and loyal follow ship.

Fast forwarding to latter times, Kween G has taken it back to the start of her career and is focused on more solo ventures in music, radio and community driven projects. Her work on National Broadcaster SBS radio’s Alchemy show proved hugely successful as she went on to garner a legion of loyal listeners on a weekly basis tuning in to hear her hip hop picks and new releases. With more than just emcee on her resume, Kween G has pursued the avenues of presenting and screen acting through NIDA ( National Institute of Dramatic Art ) and has gone on to win awards in the production arena for her Alchemy series “ Stolen Generation” special, in which she was awarded a Silver medal in the United Nations Category and two New York Festival Awards for Social Issues and Current Events. Kween G has also been awarded the Marrickville Council’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2010 for her continued efforts in community and youth events and regularly participates in workshops with a Non-Government Organisation “ Beyond Empathy” which uses the genres of mixed media and arts to build relationships between inter-generational disadvantaged young people across Australia. All this and a consistent presence on the hip hop stage. Her music presence is still active within the Australian hip hop scene and she remains relative to her fans and peers alike. Kween G is a powerful entity that refuses to be labelled or pigeon-holed into any typecast and uses her skill, knowledge and passion to enhance and uplift those around her. With a commitment and work ethic destined for greatness, we continue to watch with the greatest of blessings and respect the rising of a Hip Hop Kween!


Hi lady, such a pleasure to finally interview you – I have been a fan and supporter of yours since your early years with the Killaqueenz and throughout your solo efforts. How has life been treating you of late?

Yes Miss Hennessy I feel the same about you much respect my fellow sis, I’m happy to know that we are still here putting in work and doing our part for Hip Hop and the movement in general. Life has been treating me well, I really can’t complain every day is blessing to be able to share our gifts; we must be thankful and be happy.

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You have been rather quiet on the recording side of things lately focussing more on you community work and travelling around Australia meeting some truly amazing people along the way. Where are your current aspirations focussed right now, what community work are you involved in and when do we see you back on recording grind?

I’ve come to know that as part of my journey I must learn from and share with the original keepers of this place we all call home. I have been fortunate to make a connection with some young original, Indigenous women and elders from Wuramungu country also known as Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, it’s about 5 hours form Alice Springs. This is my 5th year to Tennant Creek. I spent 3 months there last year doing a project called Lady Beats which turned into a documentary that aired on NITV. I work alongside Barkly Regional Arts who have allowed me to work freely with no rules and regulations on what I produce with the ladies. Over the twelve-week training project the girls learnt how to write & record their music, created video clips and did a live performance, including a graduating piece at the Tennant Creek Desert Harmony Festival. I visited the girls again recently for two weeks and the word had gone around that I was coming and I somehow managed a group of 15 girls who recorded six new songs. I may be quiet on the surface but I’m making a lot of noise in the background. I really feel that I will always have my heart in the community but I also feel that this is my year to bring out some music that has been brewing up.

For those that don’t know you how would you best describe who Kween G is, where you are from, where you are going and what you stand for?

Kween G….. G is for Goddess Kween for Kibone named after my late Kuhu (Grandmother in the Bugisu dialect). I am born of the Bugisu tribe in eastern Uganda; my father carried myself and 3 of my brothers to Australia in the early 90s. I’m going back to Africa and I stand for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, Oneness and Truth. I want the people of the sun to know and understand their full potential as the first human beings to walk this sacred earth and to be awake so they can see there is much work to be done to uplift and unify ourselves.

Killaqueenz packed a mighty punch in the domestic Hip Hop arena, not only for being the powerful women you are but for tweaking Australian hip hop with your afro-centric influences. What does Hip Hop mean to you and how important is its progression in Australia’s music industry do you think?

 I miss rocking it as Killaqueenz; no doubt we are the perfect couple Desiree and I. This is why i won’t stop and i won’t quit, too much work has been put in! I have a line in a verse that I wrote that goes “Killaqueenz that’s the team living the dream, can’t believe they letting Africans up on the scene, not your stereo, typical, Aussie emcees”. Hip Hop for me is the outlet that I have been given to share my gift of emceeing, it’s how I chose to use it that will prove if I’m worthy of this thing we call the M.I.C. Unfortunately we live in a country that once housed “The white Australia policy” (which I believe it still does, but not in those words). One thing I do see that is very obvious is that a large portion of people who love black music in particular Hip Hop, the other thing I see is the miss use of the word Hip Hop by the mainstream, it’s become pop for all the wrong reasons. It makes me happy to see true heads who are keeping it real and I think we have to boycott all the people and songs that promote twerking, money bragging, black on black hate, female nastiness and the list goes on but I’m sure you get my drift. It’s really good to see some of our favourite underground Hip Hop artists and groups come to Australia and still get love.

As a South African/ Australian woman myself I always pull back to unique traits of my culture for that sense of style and belonging. You are a beautiful, strong and proud woman of colour who is never afraid to wear colour. Where do you draw your personal style from and what trait or characteristic do you most align yourself with given your African culture?

I don’t classify myself as a woman of colour, we are kissed by the sun and always remain the same in complexion we may come in different shades but we never change colour. I have spent the last two years waking up to the realisation that in order to be beautiful, strong and proud you must be able to look in the mirror and feel comfortable in the skin you’re in and the hair you grow. My personal style comes from the pride I take in African prints and patterns. I love promoting my ethnicity by wearing it, it’s my statement to show how creative and positive our culture is.

What are you feeling or working on musically right now Kween?

I’m in the midst of adding some finishing touches to what I look forward to being my album. It’s really taken me through a journey of all sorts of feelings, I actually fantasied of releasing a full length 2 years ago because i was so keen to keep the energy that Killaqueenz raised but the universe had other plans. I realised a few days ago that my journey over the last couple of years has given me a stories to tell; some are personal, educational, confronting and spiritual. I feel that I have matured so much and pleasing people is not what I’m here to do, I have always been big on sharing and experiencing together so there is something for everyone in my music.

What are your goals / ambitions for 2014 and beyond?

I would love to release my new material, shoot new videos, and perform more in Australia and abroad. I have been focused on promoting my music in Africa which has already proven to be a good move. One thing I truly believe is loyalty which I have for the hip hop industry here so let’s keep our fingers crossed that OUT OF EXILE is truly out in 2014!

When you are not recording or travelling what do you enjoy doing for downtime?

I’ll be honest I don’t really have much downtime so I’ve had to think of this answer the most from all the questions…. I love cooking but that’s not really down time is it? I find pleasure in watching educational documentaries and lectures about African and world history, the history they don’t teach us in school or library books. I have learnt the names of great scholars like Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan, Dr Mirimba Ani Yorungu, Dr Frances Cres Welsing, Neely Fuller Jnr, Dr Umar Johnson and the list goes on.

Something you can share with us that would surprise us about you and why?

If you haven’t already guessed by my posts on social media I’m a proud vegan/ uncertified nutritionist and lover of plant based living. The reason for my way of life is that I have come to realise I think, feel and look better without consuming the dead, I’m trying to look after other creatures.

Your greatest motivation in life and why?

I have always had this go getter mentality which I inherit from my father, growing up he was always doing things for the community while doing what he loved. So I guess being happy with myself and being thankful for what I have or don’t have, staying positive and accepting each challenge as it comes. I believe in doing what you love and putting in 100% positive energy in everything we say or do!

For more information on Kween G please visit:

All photo credits to Michelle Grace Hunder Photography :


Always Hip Hop,

Ms Hennessey

Natalie Stewart the Floacist talks Floetry, Renewal and the Measures of Success


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To write on an artist of this significance took a lot of soul searching for me. To even begin to put into words the magnitude of a conversation with a resounding singer/songwriter, poet, rapper and producer Natalie Stewart aka Floacist of neo-soul phenomenon Floetry, I am rendered speechless.

Floacist is poetry in motion. She is an eloquent, graceful and learned creature of the spoken word and breathes life into the simple art of conversation. A conversation that changed my perspective on the worlds between artistry and creator, and took on the levels of two inspired women of words. Natalie Stewart has never shied away from speaking the truth behind the breakup of Floetry back in 2006, the truth is she has never really spoken about it much to be honest, focussing more on how she was best left to channel her energies back to the core of what Floetry was initially built up on all those years ago, back in London in the late nineties when she first founded the group. She stripped back to the beginnings whist the he said, she said machines of the media ate into the various speculations surrounding the groups demise. At the end of the day the fork in the road presented itself much earlier than expected with Marsha Ambrosius’ solo singing career reaching greater heights in the US, the sacrificial lamb of Floetry ultimately came to pass, leaving Stewart questioning the very core of her existence as a spoken word artist.

I write this piece with the greatest respect to a group that became a huge page of the music diet that fed my soul as a DJ and journalist and above all else woman of the word for many years. This interview shines the light of the core of Floetry, the creation of a group so transcendent it gave the music world two amazing talents in Stewart and Ambrosius and sent the UK neo soul scene into overdrive with the success the group garnered on a global scale for the six years of their reign. It is also a story about acceptance, forgiveness of self and change. Change that inevitably comes with the changing of the guard when two become one, forgiveness of self that one’s goes through when questioning why and how did things change and acceptance, knowing that you have the power of one to be greater than your ever imagine and to realise that you have a legion of devoted fans waiting for your emergence back into a role that was yours from the start.

This is the journey of Natalie Stewart, aka Floacist, and how she has embraced solo artistry upon returning back to the UK to pick up her pieces and begin anew. Working with her then husband, Nolan Weekes, who co-produced on her debut solo album Floetic Soul, and produced the entire second album Floetry: The Re-Birth to working with producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis on her new album Rise of the Phoenix Mermaid , it is in the poignant single ‘Soul’ off the Re-Birth album that really speaks volumes. A powerful song that describes how Stewart took the breakup of her beloved Floetry, showing her strength of character and ultimately gaining insight into the inner workings of a woman who thought she’d lost it all only to find her true calling re-emerging. This is a conversation with a woman who knows and owns her truth, an artist who isn’t afraid to bear her soul and a person who accepts the battles of life through her power of her words. This is Natalie Stewart…. this is Floacist ….. this is her truth!

Thanks for talking to me Natalie – such a pleasure to have this time with you. How are you and had has life been treating you of late?

Thank you Maxine. I am very well thank you, so happy to talk to you today and thank you for reaching out to talk to me.

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I have been a fan of your music, message and sound for many years now, dating back to your beginnings with Floetry and now as a solo artist in your own right at Floacist – you have still managed to stay the same humble and grounded woman you have been from the start? Can you tell me what your journey has been like as an artist and a woman over the last 10 years?

Thank you for your words Maxine. I am so grateful to you reaching out and wanting to connect with me about my music. I like the fact that you have asked me this question from the viewpoint of as an artist and as a woman because I believe that everything you do as a creative being comes from a point of evolution so the journey for me started really early for me during my school years. I had always envisaged this manifestation of 2 vocal performances performing at the same time and coming together to form a union through music one day, so I guess Floetry was always going to be an entity one way or another. Looking back on my journey as an artist I have been through the so much growth and overstanding of the place I wanted to be and the place I have now arrived at. I had never wanted to be a solo artist and never sought that route out but my journey has brought me to that place and it is here as both artist and woman, I come into one and look to create something that speaks on both levels. It’s been an interesting journey so far I will admit (laughs).

Floetry did to Neo-Soul what Jay Z has done for Hip Hop – changed the game! Did you have any idea what destiny laid ahead when you first embarked on your musical journey and if there was one thing you could change what would it be and more importantly would you?

When I became a poet or recognized the poet growing inside of me at the age of nineteen that became a pivotal time for me. I was always exploring the arts and literal world, curious about poetry and music and how it fit into my world. I studied everything I could in the world of performance art. I studied poetry, English, I studies acting but the thing that has been most interesting for me through it all is never allowing the career to superseded the overall journey that is life and being humble enough to be able to deal with the ups and downs of what comes with this life. The beauty in being able to communicate with myself and monitor how well I am coping with the changes that come my way, especially when having to ultimately face the arrival at and acceptance of being a solo artist, which in the beginning was not where I pictured my destiny. I’ve just accepted and submitted to the reality of what it has become and I am wholly present in the now and looking forward to my future with no regrets.

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The music and sound you create Natalie speaks to so many people on so many different levels – for me I will listen to my Floetry albums when I am going through changes in my life or challenges and I need to reconnect back with my soul. What is the process like for a poet when creating words for the music they assign their feelings to?

I think it has so much to do with the construction of the being and I think you are so right when you say that music speaks to people on so many different levels because it does. As an artist you start to realise that what makes us the same is difference and difference is reality you know. I mean for me and my early life being in a military family I moved around a lot so my senses were always aware of my surroundings and the different cultures around me. You know I was born in Germany, I started my schooling in Hong Kong and I had Jamaican born parents both serving in the British Army, so for me culture and music was and always will be an integral part of my overbeing. I remembered listening to reggae music in the middle of Kowloon Bay (HK) and just knowing that was what life was all about – the adventure, the message through song and word and the blending of cultures and freedom of thought.

A lot of controversy surrounded the split of Floetry and left many of your fans sad, puzzled and a little confused at times. I have read many conflicting stories through various magazines about the reasons behind you and Marsha Ambrosius parting ways and although I was shocked myself at first, when I look back at what the foundations of what Floetry was built on I began to understand. Your recent track Soul explains a lot about what you were feeling about it all – not in a negative way but in a grown woman business kind of way. Can you share your thoughts on how the he said she said of the split made you feel and how you have dealt with it all to this point?

It was a very challenging time emotionally and mentally when Floetry split up you know, and it truly did shock me in a certain way to how it happened and also how the media took our split. Breakups are never easy and the same can be said for friendships, bands, and so on. As people we are a collective force finding our chosen ways through trial and error so when you find what you believe is your purpose in life and suddenly that stops, it shakes you! Interestingly enough it is a very simple explanation at the end of the day in that Marsha (Ambrosius) wanted to go solo, as she had every right to do and signed a record deal with Aftermath Records in 2006, with Floetry performing their last shows together in November of 2006. It is only right to say that thereon out we stopped communicating with each other at that point and over that period I took much needed time to rest and regroup, I wasn’t well and over stressed from what was happening to something I loved dearly and was suddenly out of my control and was coming to an end. Remember I didn’t have any desire to be a solo artist or anything like that so it was quite a challenge. I got to a point of absolute purging and finally submission where I had to ask myself through a series of intense questions like “do you think you’re not blessed now?”. I really had to face the fear of answering those questions to be able to ultimately arrive at the place where I felt that “ yes I am still blessed throughout it all”, and I was at that point able to move on from that time in my life. I have had to learn how to accept situations like these as a part of life and growth and to move on with a grateful and patient heart. I am true believer that the only way to work in chaos is to remain calm and I work very still and very quiet and just let everything negative run off of me.


Your solo projects have garnered you a new generation of neo-soul lovers as well as carried over your loyal Floecist Floetry fans as well. How is the transition from being in a group to a solo artist for you? How have you ensured that you stay true to your style and sound, especially with your newer fans?

With music being the soundtrack to our lives you know as an artist I believe you have this certain level of excellence to adhere and aspire to. There are some amazing beings whose footsteps you can choose to walk in and bow to a pillar you may create. I think far too often we are tempted to try and use the Arts as such but I don’t believe we can use the Arts. I just feel I have had the ability to navigate between two worlds with the super hype of celebrity to being able to be around my loved ones and live life as an everyday being. Those are the moments that I breath in.

Born and raised in London, you captured the hearts and ears of the American soul community on a grand scale. What do you think is the definable difference between the UK sound and that of America when it comes to music production? What do you believe was Floetry’s greatest asset was in capturing the music world’s attention and still yearning for its reunion?

Major difference between the UK and the US is numbers – the fact that they can have a sub culture that is underground and millions of people follow that is proof enough of those numbers, then of course you can happen upon success. It was same for us when record labels where talking album sales and possibly going mainstream and I’m sitting there like , what, this is mainstream ( laughs). We’ve sold a million albums and I’m a spoken word artist for London with 7 Grammy Awards – like what do you mean mainstream you know ( chuckles). We had already crossed over more than we cared to imagine. In the UK its always been the focus of the Arts you know and the authenticity of that spoken word realm that was focussed upon more in that in the US for Floetry. For Floetry at that time it was all about timing for us in capturing that global attention. Yes our music and artistry put a new spin on the Soul world but at the end of the day everything we had endured to get to that point was a lesson in universal alignment.

What are your greatest inspirations in life Natalie and what gives you that drive to succeed?

I am inspired so much by the people I am honoured to call my family, be it my mum, my dad, sister or grandmother. I am really inspired by the things that occur in everyday life and the beauty in things like the inner workings of successful marriages, the human spirit and just success in my spiritual journey.

What’s next for Floacist and will we ever see you in Australia for some shows?

I have to get to Australia for some shows, yes. I have a few darling family members that live in Australia that I need to visit. I really look forward to coming to that part of the world soon and get some things done. In terms of what’s next for Floecist, well I have my new album “Rise of the Phoenix Mermaid” that has just been released and I am in very much of observationist mode now to see how this vocal work is received by everyone. I also have series of literal works that I am looking to release that is series of poetry books I have written. I have a lot of things I am hoping to manifest over time so I am looking forward to what lays ahead.

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For more information on Natalie Stewart ‘Floacist’ visit :





Ms Hennessey


Eric Bellinger – The Rebirth of RnB



It’s a great time to be Eric Bellinger. Steady on the come up as one of America’s most exciting and talented R&B singer / songwriters in the industry to date, Bellinger is no stranger to the inner workings of the RnB / soul music sanctum.

Born and raised an LA native and as the grandson of Bobby Day, veteran hit songwriter of the Jackson 5 , Bellinger was clearly destined for a life lived through music, with his first foray into the music world being through writing and touring with RnB group AKNU ( A Kind Never Understood) . The group caught the eye of record executives Max Gousse and Tommy Motola and soon found themselves signed to Epic Records. It was during this time that young Bellinger found his passion for song writing and honed in on its craft, which soon led him to signing his own publishing deal with Sony ATV. A deal that led Bellinger to pen hits for the hottest artists in the game like, “Fine China” Chris Brown, “ Love More” Chris Brown ft. Nicky Minaj, “Lemme See” Usher ft. Rick Ross and “Right Here” Justin Bieber ft. Drake to name a few. An impressive selection of songs which went on to receive numerous Grammy Award nominations and wins and taking out ITunes ‘Song of the Year’ for “Lemme See”. Eric Bellinger is clearly the go-to-guy for hit making.

Through all of his success as an in-demand songwriter for the stars, Bellinger in an artist in his own right and one that has amassed a legion of fans for the music he creates. His debut mixtape Born II Sing launched a successful 3-part series of original works and garnered Bellinger an impressive following on YouTube, with his sexy and innovative music videos. He has written and lent his vocals to a host of some of the most amazing artists in the industry and is finally ready to step into the light of solo glory with the release of his brand new album “ The Rebirth” featuring the banging Kriss Kross sampled single “I Don’t Want Her” and take on the world with his upcoming promo tour, that will be bringing him to Australia for the first time. Doing a series of club appearances in Sydney and Melbourne from April 17 – 19, the whirlwind tour will give us just a taste of what this super talent has in store for our senses. Regardless of the timeframe he has during his Aussie visit; we look forward to receiving Eric Bellinger and await the rebirth of a new era of RnB! 


You are heading down to Australia for the first time in April for some live shows, bringing your definitive smooth sound to share with our audiences……how are you feeling about your impending trip and visiting Australia?

I’m really excited about it. I am aware they have some really beautiful women out there and I’m excited to see them all (laughs) 


You represent LA having been born and raised there….. can you share with us what your musical journey has been like to date and what the major influences have been in your life that have led you to music?


I started writing music 4 years ago. I always wanted to an artist; I was in 2 groups before I went solo and pursued music as a solo artist. I love Michael Jackson, Brandy, Usher. Of course these are the people that I studied growing up and who helped mold me into the artist I am today.


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You signed a publishing deal with Sony which has seen you contribute to amazing singles like Chris Brown’s ” Fine China”, “Love More” feat Nicki Minaj and “Right Here’ with Justin Bieber to name a few. What is the writing process like for you and how do you differentiate your writing for someone else as opposed to yourself?


I always figure out what the artist is going through in their lives. Once I know what’s going on in their lives, I can get more personal with the lyrics and what concepts to write about. Writing for myself is easy because I already know what I want to write about- I come up with concepts as I’m living life.



Your mix tape series Born II Sing has garnered you many fans globally and is in its third volume. It was originally released online and currently sits at #3 on ITunes. Congratulations on this success. How do you feel theinternet has helped artists achieve success today as opposed to the regular channels of A&R, record label and street press ideologies of the past?


The internet has given an artist such as myself a chance to let thepeople decide on whether or not my music is good or not as opposed to waiting on an A&R to discover me.



What is in your current playlist right now? Favourite artists/ music genres Eric Bellinger likes to listen to and why?

Eric Bellinger – The ReBirth of course (laughs), as well as Drake, Jay-z, Beyoncé. These are some of my favorite artists that have recently dropped albums.


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What would you say are your top motivators in your career thus far?


My family is my top motivator. I’m a very family orientated guy and I love my family, I’ll do anything for them.

In a sentence describe what the word Destiny means to you?

Destiny is what is meant for you! 


For more information on Eric Bellinger visit:



Ms Hennessey  


Catch Eric Bellinger appearing live in Sydney and Melbourne through Me Entertainment & Ciroc Boyz Australia. 


Melbourne – Thurs 17th April – SWAG at Baroq House  

Sydney – Sat 19th April – O2 Nightclub – Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

(Tickets at




Sydney MC Anecdote talks Hip Hop, Mixed Martial Arts and the Art of Patience


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An anecdote – “A short account of a particular incident or event, especially of an interesting or amusing nature.That’s the official dictionary terminology of what the term means”. The human terminology suggests an explanation much more descriptive. Explosive, talented, intelligent and tongue-in-cheek funny, Sydney hip-hop artist Anecdote is combustion of the lot!

Having burst onto the Australian Hip Hop scene well over a decade ago in 2003 , Anecdote brought an energy and rawness to the game that sparked great intrigue from local and international collaborators all wanting a piece of the Aussie spitter. Fresh off the win from Channel V’s Ozzy Friggin’ Hip Hop battle in 2005 and then winning the Australian heat of the World Rap Championships in 2007, Anecdote is no stranger to the hip hop battlefield. In fact his success on the hip hop battle emcee stage has given him the endurance and foundation for both vocal and physical sparring in the recent times. Whilst hip hop is still a contender for prime passion, so too is mastering the arts of mixed martial arts, In particular Brazilian Jiu Jits. Focusing his attention on getting the mind and body right in preparation for a vocal assault in the studio one hopes!

Whatever Anecdotes plans are for a return to centre stage as hip hop emcee is, one thing is certain. He is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and knows the art of rhyme like the back of his hand. He is a fighter with the heart of a lion who delivers a mighty punch to his hip hop opponents and has the confidence to back it up. Attributes that this interview brings to head and shines the light on an artist that has paid his dues in our community way back before even knew what lay ahead in the rap stakes. He’s battled, won, recorded, performed and made significant contributions to our urban community and can look back with pride on what was, live fully in the now and know that when he is ready to re-enter the game in the future, Anecdotes spot remains untouched.


Anecdote, it’s been a long time between conversations ;o) How are you my friend?

A: I’ve been really good. Just turned 30 so been quiet lately. Just working and training etc. How about you? This won’t be in the interview will it? Will it? You still living in Sydney? I hope this isn’t an interview question.

MH: hee hee, Im well thanks, doing what I do and yes I am still in Sydney thanks for asking lol…..

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You have been rather quiet of late and not really in the music scene as much …..But I always feel with you that you have something brewing? Am I correct and if so what can we expect from Anecdote musically?

I have been extremely quiet of late, correct. I did a few sporadic battles here and there, with the last one about a year ago against DNA who is one of the most viewed battlers on the planet if I recall correctly so I’m glad to have had that opportunity. I’ve been working on songs and writing when I get the time but I don’t want to put any time frames on a release. Music has always been a hobby for me so I just take my time with it and release stuff when I see fit, I’m in no rush. I think the next thing I release will probably be a little more thought out and hopefully mature. I can only tell so many dick jokes in a song.

For those that don’t know of your contribution and journey within our Australian community how would you best describe who Anecdote is, what your sound and style is? And how you came up with your moniker Anecdote?

Well, I started battling in 2003 which seems like such a long time ago! Won the Australia vs New Zealand battle in 2004, won the Channel V Ozzy Friggin’ Hip Hop battle in 2005 and then won the Australian heat of the World Rap Championships in 2007 with 360 which was a 2 on 2 battle. I released an EP in 2008 I believe and ever since then I guess you could say I’ve been extremely lazy. In terms of who I am, I’m just some guy, hopefully I can say something entertaining or thought provoking or something that makes you go “ha!” on a record. My style is characterised by very intricate rhyme patterns, which can work for and against me in a variety of circumstances. Anecdote is a horrible, horrible name and I have no idea how I came up with it. Probably thought it sounded cool when I was 18 and it stuck with me like a bad, lower back tattoo of an ex-lover’s name. No offense to anyone with a tramp stamp, they’re a group now.

You have been in the rap game for a number of years having worked with some of the hottest DJ’s and MC’s in the industry. Notably your performance on the UK’s MYSTRO’s album Diggi Downunder showcased your style and flow in great light ……what are your thoughts on our local hip hop community and how we may be viewed on from and international viewpoint?

Over the past two or three years things have just exploded! Guys like 360, Bliss N Eso, Illy, Spit Syndicate etc. have gone beyond where I ever thought hip hop in the country could. I think internationally the sound is garnering more and more respect and you’ll likely see more collaborations and even artists breaking into overseas markets. 360 recently did a tour of the states and supported Eminem in Australia. Incredible.

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Who would you say are your greatest inspirations that shape you musically and why?

There are way too many to name. I guess The Beatles, Eminem, Kool G Rap, Nas, Prince, Redman, Pharoah Monch, Kendrick Lamar, Joe Budden, Drake, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Common and many, many more. I love old rock music, folk music, old school and new school hip hop. It’s such a blend that I can’t really say where I get certain things from. I guess in terms of rhyming guys like Breeze Brewin’, Louis Logic, Kool G Rap and Copywrite.

Since you have taken some downtime of late from music, your other passion appears to be UFC level street fighting is that correct? Did you start this purely for fitness or on a competitive sport level? What do you enjoy about this sport and where do you see it taking you professionally?

That is quasi correct. I don’t train in Mixed Martial Arts but I do train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is just one aspect of Mixed Martial Arts. I think because I battle my opponents find out I train BJJ and they don’t really know a lot about it so they just say I “train UFC” and work that into their angles. I compete sometimes but it’s really just something I enjoy doing for fitness and to wind down. I think I might have ADHD so it’s good to get it out of my system. I just enjoy the technical aspects of the sport, I don’t see it taking me anywhere professionally unless there’s a fight over the photocopier at work and it’s a last man standing wins situation.

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What does Hip Hop mean to you and why?

That is a very difficult question to answer. I guess for me personally it’s something that has meant a lot to me for a long time, something I’ve used to express myself, a form of entertainment, therapy, something I’ve learned from and has helped me grow. It’s also something I can be highly critical of, especially as I get older. It’s a love/hate relationship but you take the good with the bad.

What would you most like to be remembered for one day in how you lived your life?

Hopefully someone who cared about other people and made other people’s lives more enjoyable. I also hope that my time on this earth left a positive balance…..That and being great in the sack.


Always Hip Hop,


Ms Hennessey

DJ Moto – The Hip Hop Allstar!


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He is one of Sydney’s most respected and revered hip hop DJ’s, having created some of the most iconic nightclub events and mix tapes this community has experienced. He is by all means an AllStar, rising up in the ranks of a novice DJ back in 1997 to taking the scene by storm and heralding in his famed Clubjoint Mixtape series in 1999, the rest as they say is history.  A history that has come with the veritable high and lows associated with going against the grain and creating a path less travelled by others, DJ Moto is the definition of a risk taker and dream maker.

With a unique and sought after DJ style of impressive quick mixing, sharp scratching and innovative track list creation, DJ Moto was never destined to be just another club DJ. He’s keen ability to move with the times always sees him one step ahead, ensuring his turntable skills and business acumen are unsurpassed, taking his brand to the next level. Securing sponsorships through companies such as Alize, Ones Clothing and Fadez Barbershop has created various segues and avenues for Moto to expand and remain in the position of a true pioneer within our Sydney DJ community.

He has travelled the world djing to thronging crowds from New Zealand to Sri Lanka and everything in between and has supported and toured alongside big names such as  Snoop, Akon, Rihanna, DMX, Diddy to name a few. The list goes on but through it all DJ Moto has kept his cool, not being swayed by the fame and celebratory that can come within these circles. He does what he does for the love of the game and purely for his love of djing. As the proprietor of some of the dopest DJ crews and collaborations our hip hop community has seen, from the notorious Australia’s Most Wanted campaign, Blacklabel Crew, 2000BlOCK and the infamous Allstars, DJ Moto has always done and continues to do what he initially set out to do some 18 years ago….. be like an all-star and change the game!

Hey Moto – How are you and how has life been treating you?

Yeah I’m good. Can’t really complain. Just the usual ups and downs life throws at u.

You have been a DJ for nearly 2 decades now, cementing yourself as a firm favourite in the urban music industry in Australia as a pioneer Rnb / Hip Hop DJ. How has the journey been for you and how has it changed over the years?

It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride, many ups, few downs… I met many good people along the way… Formed strong friendships. How I see it is this: – “Music takes me places”. And that’s the main highlight for me.

How has it changed? I guess just like the weather. Climate changes slowly just as the Scene changes slowly, I can’t really pin point how but I adjust as it goes.

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As a DJ myself I have always looked towards the original pioneers like you when it came to calling on inspiration for my own career ….. Who would you say has been your inspiration during your career and why?

For me, I’ve been inspired in steps. I remember DJ Klever C (SYD) being my number one inspiration to actually start djing. Along the way, heavy hitter DJ’s such as Shortee Blitz (UK) and Total Eclipse (US) added to my list of inspiration. As for my mix tapes… They came about because of DJ Rectangle (LA) & DJ Riz (NY).

You have seen the Australian urban music community shape and form from its early days, yourself being a pivotal role in that formation. What are your thoughts on our community and the role the DJ continues to play in its progression?

Hard question…..In comparison to the past, with all the new technological advances and Social networking, the current scene has become bigger with many more DJ’s, promoters and artists which ultimately makes it much more competitive in every aspect.

But the important role for me as a DJ is to keep spinning the music that’s got me to where I am as well as still continuing to push the latest goodies of my personal preferences.

Moto and Nas

What is it about the art of djing that has kept you in this game for as long as it has Moto? Has the art form changed due to technology such as Serato and USB ports etc. …..or has it enhanced the DJ’s capabilities even more?

What’s kept me in the game? I guess you could say a big part is the fact that the mixtapes I created many years ago are still being mentioned today & considered as classics. I also put in the hard yards to ensure that I don’t sound like a sh*t k*nt when I play live sets! There’s nothing better than spinning and cutting on a turntable to keep the original art form of djing alive. (Not to be cool, I find it more fun & challenging)

As for technology – technology is crazy – changes every day. Always outdoing the last, so you never know what is truly the best. djing now, is nothing like back then. I think that Survivors from “the crate digging days” back then, combined with the technology advances of today – definitely gives that extra spice to djing.

You have been an integral part of some of the most memorable nightclubs Sydney has produced from Chocolate City, Cave, etc ……. What do you think are the ingredients to creating and maintaining successful club nights?

I believe if you build your foundation right from the start, leaving little room from cracks and errors, it will work out.  Bob Marley once said that “Music will bring its own people” I also read somewhere once that “music is a universal language, the laughter of the soul, and it can bring people together like no other form of art” so I like to stick to “my selection” of music much as possible because “my selection” has brought and still brings the people to my mixes & my clubs.

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Something interesting or surprising you can share with us about DJ Moto?

Facts about Moto:

  • I played soccer for NSW School Boys
  • I represented Australia for indoor soccer.
  • I was the owner of Anthem Records – #1 Record store in Sydney in the 90s for RnB & Hip-hop
  • I am the official DJ for a political funk hip-hop band called “Whitehouse” since 2008
  • I am currently managing the 2010 X-Factor Winner, Altiyan Childs.
  • I do photography as my other career (Since 2011)

Check out my work:

Where can people catch you spinning, hear your mixes currently etc?

You can catch me spinning mixes Saturday nights from 7pm – midnight on KIIS 106.5.

**Live Sets

Bounce at One World Parramatta

Breeze in Central Coast

All the Allstar Events parties


Most of my mixes are on Soundcloud for free download:

What would you say is the greatest misconception people have about DJ’s?

We ain’t all rich!!! That’s the biggest misconception people have about DJ’s. They think EVERY big named DJ out there is loaded and living the high life. Negative!! Lol.

Another one – this one’s dedicated to the clubbing patrons: – just because we’re DJ’s don’t mean we know or have all the music in the world!!

What would you say to anyone wanting to become a DJ today – your pearls of wisdom?

You only live once. If it stirs your curiosity – try it – coz you gotta do what makes you happy!


Always Hip Hop,


Ms Hennessey

DJ MK-1 – A Journey Through Hip Hop


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He holds court as one of Sydney’s most authentic, hardworking, innovative and historic radio / club / tour DJ’s, with a grind that is almost impossible to keep up with. In between churning out ground-breaking mixtapes, to touring the country as support DJ for Melbourne hip hop act L-FRESH The Lion, to hosting his famed hip hop radio show ‘The Sounds of the Zulu Nation’ on Bondi Beach Radio , to spinning live just about everywhere real music is required to be played and heard…. DJ MK-1 doesn’t miss a beat!

More than just a DJ, MK-1 aka John Khilla, is revered for his in-depth music knowledge, passion and historic rhetoric on the art of Hip Hop and its culture. He wears his allegiance to the internationally renowned Zulu Nation hip hop movement (founded by legendary Afrika Bambatta) like a badge of honour and lives his life in accordance to its teachings and philosophies.  As a theologian scholar and school teacher, MK-1 thrives on learning and receiving, teaching and sharing and it is these very traits that has made him one of our Hip Hop community’s greatest resource and asset.

It is more than just claiming to be a DJ that motivates MK-1 to do what he does, with precision and determination, he is a consummate perfectionist that knows the end product is a reflection of his work ethic. The mixtapes he creates are internationally known, with radio stations as far as Paris, France praising his skill and music selection. Covering the genres of Hip Hop, Brazilian and Afro Beats and old school soul and funk, a DJ MK-1 mix is quintessential to one’s musical diet.  There is much to write about MK-1 and his different layers, but I will let his interview take you on the journey he has walked thus far. It is inspiring, enlightening and above all respectful of a humble DJ / scholar / writer and entrepreneur that has come so far and has remained true to himself and true to the game!

 Hey John – How are you and how has life been treating you?

Life has been treating me no different to anyone else’s, constantly evolving, challenging, fun, not so fun at times, it gives me time to grow and discover things about myself and my surroundings.

You have been a DJ for many years, cementing yourself as a firm favourite in the urban music industry in Australia as a pioneer Rnb / Hip Hop DJ. How has the journey been for you and how has it changed over the years?

My Journey has been very rewarding and taxing at the same time. When I was growing up there was no manual to being a successful DJ or was there ever a manual to the business side of the art. Everything was a live and learn experience for me. Throughout my Journey I have made wise decisions and not so wise decisions, met some very inspiring individuals, travelled the world. There came a point over the years where I stopped relying or competing with anyone, I was very confident in myself and my ability, I had been in the game long enough to see history repeat itself so now I am very prepared for anything that comes my way.

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 As a DJ myself I have always looked towards the original pioneers like you when it came to calling on inspiration for my own career ….. Who would you say has been your inspiration during your career and why?

On a Spiritual level I can’t go without saying God, or the Universe or whatever you wish to call the greater force. I say this because there is no way in the world you can achieve long term success without being one with the creator. I am very connected with my spirituality and there have been a few times I lost that connection and as a result my world came crashing down a few times. When I am one with the creator then the creator blesses me with the skill set to achieve what I desire.

On a Musical level

– Afrika Bambatta – Bambatta taught me the art of being a DJ period  and also how to be a Human Being.

– Teddy Riley – Teddy once let me venture inside the genius of his mind. I remember taking home with me many valuable lessons.

– John Morales – John & I have been good friends for a while now. He’s worked with countless artists from the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin to Jocelyn Brown. He is like a big brother to me when i need quick advice whether it be about music or relationships John has always been there for  me.

– DJ Steve Dee  – Steve being one of the most influential DJ in the history of Hip Hop showed me a lot of tough love as a Teen. Even though he had a lot the musical knowledge he would never give me the answer, always encouraged me to do the homework.

– Ernie Pinacolli – Ernie is one of the Elders in Hip Hop besides being the chief  photographer for Word Up Magazine. He is an ambassador of life. I’ve had the  honour of working with Ernie on a photo shoot and got to spend some time  with him. Having him in my life is like a constant reminder of what my  purpose is.

 On a Friendship level.

– Mirrah – Mirrah & I are bonded in many capacities, she is like my best friend. sister, mother, She’s the MC and I’m her DJ. We compliment and look after each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

– Steven ‘Tevo’ Guzman – Tevo is another person that is highly innovative and driven being one of his best friends in the industry is like having a training partner at the gym constantly motivating each other to keep to a certain pace.


You have seen the Australian urban music community for some time now but have always veered away from the norm with your music style and overall music philosophy being that you represent the Zulu Nation international hip hop community. Can you please explain to my readers what The    Zulu Nation is based on, your role in that community and how have you translated its teachings and music philosophy on your own radio show called Sounds of the Zulu Nation here in Sydney?

I don’t think i would call it my own musical style. My style is Hip -Hop in its original re-manifestation re contextualised to give both an old school and new school flavour. The Zulu Nation is a Global Hip Hop Movement headed by Afrika  Bambatta since 1973. The Zulu Nation are the creators of the culture known  as Hip Hop.


My role in the Zulu Nation was originally a Chapter Leader my role has since changed to the Australian Media Director. This involves overseeing any media related content involving the Zulu Nation  and its members locally and Internationally in Australia.

For those that are passionate about Hip Hop and wish to learn more about the culture. I have established in 2010 the Sounds of the Zulu Nation Radio Show as a ‘Lighthouse’ for those that wish to be guided by it.

MK-1 & Grandmaster Flash

DJ MK-1 and Grandmaster Flash

What is it about the art of djing that has kept you in this game for as long as it has John? Has the art form changed due to technology such as Serato and USB ports etc. …..or has it enhanced the DJ’s capabilities even  more?

I’ve been in this game now for 20 years. For most of that I have always
done what I wanted to do creatively. I am fortunate that there are enough people out there that appreciate me for doing just that. I haven’t had  an issue with technology and the options it gives for expression. Technology    has certainly enhanced the art or Deejaying at the same time is has made so called Deejaying very accessible to the masses which has heavily impacted the social, spiritual and economic value of the DJ.

You are known for your stellar mixtapes comprising of soul and hip hop to Brazilian and world music. You are also tour DJ for the impressive  L-FRESH the Lion and have toured with and played alongside some great names in the game – what is it about being a DJ and one in a community like Australia that keeps you on the grind as much as you are?

My blessings are intertwined with those who have the same passion and drive. I love being around anyone with a passion. I am often inspired by them. Knowing people like makes it easier for you to tap into you inherent genius only motivates you more to create.

MK-1 & Crew

MK-1 and (l-r) DJ Sarah Love, Malikah Mirrah and Ms Hennessey

Something interesting or surprising you can share with us about DJ MK-1?

– Certain Women have made me into the man I am today.

– Certain Women have been the arms and legs of my success.

– Certain Women have inspired many of my mix tapes.

– One particular Woman is the reason I named myself MK-1

– My Successes and failures is closely linked with the type of  relationship I have with certain women.

Where can people catch you spinning, hear your mixes currently etc?

Check our fan page ‘Sounds of the Zulu Nation’ on Facebook for updates. Soul of Sydney has been nice enough to host my mixes on their Sound Cloud Page.

What song would you say describes you and your role / mission in this industry or life and why?

I’ll give you two.



DJ Revolution ft. KRS-One-The DJ –


Mary J Blige, My Life…1994

My Journey Started in 1994. Song is about struggle and being one with God.

Always Hip Hop,


Ms Hennessey

DJ Crazy Caz – Block Rocking Beats From Michigan to Sydney!


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He is undeniably one of Sydney’s most underrated hip hop DJ’s with a music knowledge that spans decades and a flow and skill guaranteed to jumpstart any party. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan but calling Australia home, DJ Crazy Caz is fast becoming one of Sin City’s most respected and recognized for his DJ cool, rocking parties and gaining a legion of fans and patrons wherever he spins.

Having called Sydney home for close onto 8 years, it wasn’t meant to happen this way exactly as Caz recalls, having initially come out here to spin for a friend’s birthday party and support a new breaking promoter. Alas the venture proved to not be a success, which saw Caz out here in veritable limbo land for a while, until Sydney started to grow on him and upon returning back to the US, he couldn’t stop coming back . Fast forward eight years and he is packing out top nightspots like the IVY, Zanzibar and El Loco to name a few and happily christens Sydney’s rnb / hip hop lovers with flawless blends, beats and loops to keep the party going.

Detroit, Michigan for those that know,  is a straight up-no-chaser kind of city, known for its ability to weather the roughest of weather, economic and political hardships in America. It is also known for its honesty and giving you the raw and real whether you want it or not. DJ Crazy Caz is the perfect embodiment of authentic djing and fearlessness with his track listing ( mixing 80’s with new school, Too Short with Jay Z ) – you get the picture. He keeps you guessing and wanting more, never leaving an empty space on the dance floor. As a DJ myself, I am always learning and inspired by those that I am blessed to work alongside and Caz is no exception. Effortlessly cool, humble and hardworking, DJ Crazy Caz is well deserved of the shine he has been basking in of late and whilst some may only just be familiarizing themselves with him now, Caz is fast becoming a DJ legend in Sydney’s hip hop community!

What made you want to become a DJ and how did you get your first break?

“I guess at the age of 8 I knew I wanted to be a DJ. I had an Uncle who had decks and I saw him get down on them a few times and I knew I had to learn.  My mother tells me soon as I was walking, I would carry her albums under my arms as if I was off to a gig. My first gig was at my Junior High school….2 hours for $50 … I thought I was big time lol”

DJ Crazy Caz

Describe your first gig? When did you realise that this was something you wanted to pursue as a career?

“My first gig was at my Junior High School. I played for about 200 people and I can’t say I had the best time, but I knew it was not gonna be my last gig. The next few days after that made it so clear that  Djing was what I wanted to do.”

How do you stay consistent and a strong favourite by your fans in this industry?

“I can’t say I have the solid or perfect answer. I guess it’s just to say some what current with music. And maybe it’s my style of Djing. I really seem to pay attention to body language and facial expressions. It seems these days people like to do a combo of things in the venue…dance mainly but now….SING OUT LOUD is the new thing for sure  hahaha”

Who would you say your musical influences / inspirations are and why?

“My influences are old soul and funk performers. I say this due to how they had to deal with the business. Back then it was more of a struggle to be on top, so a lot more effort was not only put into the music…their live shows were the bomb as well. Being a Midwest boy I also had the privilege to see new forms and styles of music develop. So give me real singers and instrument players any day, I love that music that moves souls.”

DJ Caz and Jazzy Jeff

DJ Crazy Caz and Jazzy Jeff

What are the pros / cons to being a DJ, if any?

“Well the Pros of being a DJ are the way people look at you I guess. For me the look on ones face when I drop that hot or favourite track. That moment at the end of your set and half the venue comes up to you and says thank you for a great time and set. Or when the venues you work for show you they appreciate you for your work. The Cons….well that list is a very long and sometimes ugly one. But the few things I will list is LACK of pay….LACK of being payed ON TIME and some patrons in the club that disrespect the DJ and his or her gear. Oh and I do not like the groupie game as well, I makes good women act badly.”

The record that guarantee’s people on the dance floor and why?

“Hmm this is kind of a tough question to answer. Since I play many styles of music it is hard to name that ONE record that always works. I will say YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG WITH A CLASSIC but it just depends on how it’s played or delivered to the crowd.”

What are your thoughts on the technology that DJ’s face now with all the different mixers / Serato / USB options available?

“I love the fact that technology has made it easier for use to carry more music, but at the same time I DO NOT LIKE THE USE OF ONE DECK. I can understand being good with one side but still keep the basic look of the DJ. I only see this with URBAN DJ’s…House and Dance DJ’s and even the USB DJ’s(the real DJ’s that really use mp3 and not pre-recorded sets) use both decks. Sucks now when patrons notice this sad trend. I hope this changes and we go back to looking like DJ’s and not missing an arm.”

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DJ Crazy Caz – IVY Nightclub

You hail from the US ( what state are you from? ) but call Australia home ……what made you move to Sydney? Did you DJ back in the States and if so what would you say are differences / comparisons between Australia and the US when it comes to DJ’s and the clubs they spin at?

“Born in the South…Alabama but I am a MICHIGAN boy for sure. I guess my story to come here is a simple one. I had internet contact over here….just a friend whom I was sending mixed CDs to for a while. Well she decided to have a party and invite me to visit and DJ a set. After being here that first weekend I knew this place had a bit of magic and I wanted to see more. After meeting so many people that first weekend I wanted to show everyone I met that I was not too bad on the decks myself. Did a few sets for some wonderful people and at that point I knew I wanted to stay here. The reason I love this place is that they love classics here, most the venues in the states have forgotten the classics. Playing old school at some places over there is shamed….people will boo you and show you their anger in a heartbeat if they not hearing EVERY NEW SONG IN THE VENUE, and 9 times out or 10 they rolled to the club playing those same damn songs lol To me…DJ are the same all over, it depends on their years behind the decks. These days you can tell how long a DJ’s history is just by how they mix.”

What are you currently working on? Your future projects?

“Currently I’m just playing the back ground and watching the club scene change like it dies every season. I just want to continue to bring smiles to faces and make souls move. Maybe team up with a person to form a DJ team….and maybe start to teach people how to DJ…just the basics only tho haha.”

What does Hip Hop mean to you?

“Hip Hop to me….HEAVEN. I see that some of the art is loss but there are some fighting to keep it alive and I for one are will to do what ever it takes to help this Army of real hip hop heads. For now the music needs a little help …but I do believe it will live forever. MY NAME IS DJ CRAZY CAZ AND YES…I AM H I P H O P!!’

For more info on DJ Crazy Caz follow him on :

Always Hip Hop

Ms Hennessey

Charreah Jackson, Relationship Editor of America’s Essence Magazine speaks love, music and today’s career woman.


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Essence Magazine is to America’s women what Cleo is to Australia. Iconic, historic and necessary to the growth, progress and empowerment of today’s modern female. What gives Essence Magazine a more definitive edge is that is has been gone on to create avenues of exploration, empowerment and above all understanding of women of colour. Founded in 1968, Essence Magazine was launched as a magazine that spoke to, for and about African American woman, their beauty, their style and their lives in a voice that the major magazine publications seemed to bypass at the time.

This interview is very important to me as during my own journey as a woman of colour growing up in a country that didn’t have many media outlets catering to what I could identify with at the time as a female, Essence Magazine served as the oasis to my truth seeking desert. I vividly remember walking into Border’s Bookshop ( now defunct sadly ) and seeing its glossy cover gleaming at me from the stand, the faces of Aaliyah, Halle Berry or Angela Bassett looking down at me and me feeling like my questions would finally be answered. Daring to look at its exorbitant import price of $14.95 at the time, it was a small price to pay to feel like I belonged. Speed track a decade or so and I am still buying my copies, a little cheaper and quicker thanks to the likes of ITunes and and devices such as IPads and Kindles make delivery a breeze. 

Filling that much needed gap over the last three decades for women of colour in America has seen the popularity and demand for Essence Magazine grow on a global scale, heralding readership as far and wide as Britain, Europe and the Islands. Thanks to the World Wide Web, Essence Online is now readily available to anyone and everyone interested in the magazines mainstream appeal, celebrity endorsement and thought provoking research, articles and information that spans beyond the definition and boundaries of colour. Speaking to Charreah Jackson, Essence Magazine Relationship Editor and a woman who has inspired my own literal journey, she sheds light on today’s Essence Magazine and the women who read it, learn from it and continue to keep it at the forefront as America’s most respected and sought after publication, proving that Essence is still holding its ground as the informant of beauty and knowledge no matter what your creed or culture.

Charreah 1

Hey Charreah, thanks for taking the time to talk to Ms Hennessey Speaks Blog – how is life treating you?

Life is good! I am excited to kick off another year, though it seems 2013 flew right by me.

You are the relationships editor for one of my favourite women’s magazines in the US called Essence – a true pioneer in the magazine game for woman of colour! How long have you been with Essence and how did you start your editor’s journey with such a lucrative magazine?

Currently I am the Relationships Editor for ESSENCE where I manage our love and dating content for the printed magazine and also work with our digital team on connecting with our audience online. I’ve been in this position for two years and this actually my second time working here. I previously was a web editor for the brand. In between my positions at Essence I was a social media manager at a fashion and beauty PR firm where I managed social media accounts and strategy for our brands like Tresemme and Motions.

I got my start at Essence as an intern while I was in college. I built strong relationships with editors during that time and was hired as an editorial assistant. I started four days after I graduated from college.

Essence Magazine

Essence is not readily available in Australia unfortunately and can only be found at certain news outlets but with huge export charges to pay – we’re talking about $15AUD against the $4USD you would look to pay for the magazine. How do you find your international traffic grows with the online version of the book and of course e-subscriptions now – has that enabled Essence to reach other countries and demographics around the world better?

Technology has definitely allowed media brands to have a further reach. Our website is read all over the world and also allows us as editors to quickly connect with readers all over the globe. Our print magazine is also available in tablet editions so readers can easily download.

You are the Relationships Editor for the magazine – that sounds quite intense but also fun. What does your position entail and what are the range of stories you get to work on? 

It is a privilege to serve women of color in the one the most important areas of their lives: their relationships. We provide a full range of relationship resources for our readers including tips on sex, dating, marriage and breakups. One of my favorite projects I worked on was our Storybook Wedding contest where we flew six couples to Walt Disney World and helped the men surprise their ladies with a proposal. I also represent the brand on media outlets like CNN to discuss relationships and help plan discussions for our annual ESSENCE Festival, one of the country’s largest social gatherings.

Charreah 2

What would you say is a typical day in the life of you as an Essence Editor?

There is no typical day. We are usually working on three issues at a time so you are planning for content four months away while promoting the current issue. I am always reading and listening in search of story ideas. I work with our editors to discuss cover story ideas and the text that is on the cover. I also manage our internship program.

What do you think has been the ongoing reason behind Essence continued success, with each generation change and of course social media today – what makes Essence the go to magazine for woman of colour?

It really boils down to trust and relationship. Our reader feels connected to the brand and that also means she has no problem telling us what she doesn’t like.

What would say are the highs and lows of being an editor of a major national and at time internationally recognised magazine in America?

It is a privilege to be charged to empower some of the most amazing people on the planet. As a monthly magazine we have to think in advance, which doesn’t always allow for of-the-minute responses when breaking news happens. We have to be creative in covering things that have already taken place.

Essence Magazine 2

Women that have and continue to inspire you and why?

I have many mentors and women that inspire me. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim for our February issue and they are such an inspiration of a creative and hardworking couple. Of course I am still playing the new Beyoncé. I love that she is a woman who has not let her relationship status or family be what defines her. As a Black woman, it’s also great to see her embrace her God-given sexuality. As a writer, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler and so many other Black women have motivated me and taught me so much.

Are you an RnB / Soul or Hip Hop and what song best describes your spirit and why?

“Golden” by Jill Scott has been my theme song since it was released. I LOVE Jill and this song captures how I like to treat each day. I actually was at 106 & Park the day she released the video for the song and consider that fate.

Your future with Essence and will it ever expand on a global level, like to Australia, do you think?

I definitely want to see and serve more of the world as my career grows. I am developing new resources to serve today’s modern woman. Stay tuned!

For more information on Charreah Jackson and Essence Magazine visit: 


Ms Hennessey