Hip Hop, Roots
True School, Golden Era Hip Hop artists that rhyme over soulful beats. Mau Power sounds like artists that pay homage to the deep history of Hip Hop culture with strong lyrical concepts that deal with social, political, family, community and global issues.
Nas, Common, Torres Strait Island Hip Hop, Mos Def, Bob Marley, Phil Collins, Bob Dillan, Biggie, Warumpi Band, Tupac, Archie Roach, Coloured Stone, Christine Anu, Gregory Isaacs and so many more!
Mau Power is a lyrical storyteller from Thursday Island in the Torres Straits. He is the first rapper to tour from this part of Australia & for many years he has been guided by two cultures, Indigenous culture and Hip Hop culture. “The only way for me to tell the story of how these cultures entwine and connect is for me to tell my own story.” The result is Mau Power’s new album, The Show Will Go On.
The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands that lie in the beautiful turquois waterway’s separating The Cape York Peninsula (The Northern tip of Australia) and New Guinea. Thursday Island is around 4.5 square kilometers of tropical terrain, still governed by Indigenous knowledge; it is a place where song and dance has played an integral role in the survival of cultural traditions.
Rewind 20 years to a place called Homeboy’s Court. A basketball court edged by Pandanus & Mango trees, where the plant life has been cleared and the hard clay ground evened. Underneath the plywood backboards and makeshift basketball rings are flattened cardboard boxes. The songs of De La Soul and Public Enemy are pumping and the local boys are practicing their breakdance moves.
“Hip Hop arrived on the islands in a number of ways, someone got hold of the movies Wild Style and Breakdance and everyone wanted to be turbo. I was only about 7 but our community is so small that we did everything together. Everything the older guys did, we wanted to do the same thing and it was a fun atmosphere, riding with the big brothers.”
“I didn’t know the name for it, all I knew was that there was this new style of music, dance, of culture and it was not judgmental. I saw it gave you the freedom to do whatever and that I could be a part of it.”
“Music is Island culture and Island culture is music. We document our teachings through song and dance. Music governs our storytelling; our survival. Hip Hop too comes from the storytelling tradition but in a new forum. I saw it as a culture of hope, hope for people who didn’t have any opportunities and at 14 I decided that I wanted to be a rapper.”
Mau Power recorded his first song in Brisbane when he was 17 and attending the University of Southern Queensland.
Shortly after this time he was incarcerated and while in prison, the song was leaked through out the Islands.“When I was locked up I came to a cross road. I used that time to plan my next move so when I was released everything was lined up. I began focusing on the business of music, the industry as well as the recording. I took what I learnt from my studies in mechanical engineering and applied it to sound engineering.” As result of these plans and some positive action, Mau Power is now the owner of his own music company, a strong community leader & works with youth throughout the Straits and Australia.
The Show Will Go On is an autobiographical album taking us on a journey through the pinnacles of Mau Power’s life.
“I wanted to take it back to a time when an album was a complete story. Each song is like a chapter; we start with an intro into Island life, to our culture. Then we move into conscious songs about freeing your mind, about speaking your mind. There are tracks with a party vibe, so we have everyone feeling good. And there are songs about the art of story telling and the responsibilities that come with it.”
“No matter how much knowledge that you have, you reach a point when you have to go back to the knowledge custodians. In order for them to go on with their journey they must pass the knowledge on.” It is now Mau’s time to stand up and share his knowledge and experience.
It is the art of story telling that embodies the connection of two cultures that makes Mau Power a truly unique Australian artist with universal appeal.