Bias B - Justifiable Bias
Monday, 28 April 2008
3D’s Cyclone talks to Bias B about his music, the impact of fatherhood and harvesting Beemixes.
Before Phrase put the national spotlight on Melbourne, Bias B was representing his hometown. The MC has achieved remarkable consistency in his career, while steadily evolving from a battler into a recording artist.
In 2007 Bias issued his third album, Been There Done That, via Obese, the Melbourne hip hop indie label, which, against the odds, transformed Hilltop Hoods into rock stars.
Within months of Been There, Bias presented a remix set, Bias B Beemixes.
Astonishingly, for one so industrious, he's experienced profound personal upheaval in the same timeframe, albeit positive upheaval. Bias stopped chasing girls, became engaged, and is now a dad, his son 11 months.
The MCs profile is surprisingly high. “I only toured a little bit - it's hard to be away from home these days,” he says. Bias dropped his debut LP, Beezwax, in the late '90s. He upped the ante with 2003's often comic In Bed With Bias. Bias touted Been There as his most personal and, it follows, mature effort.
The MC is unsure when he'll yield another album, but he's begun writing. “I've moved house, so I have to get a train to work now [at Obese HQ]. I was living in Prahran for a while so I just walked to work. But now, when I get the train, I have some time to myself to write stuff.”
“I haven't actually recorded anything but, just the journey on the train, I have that time to start working on things and to try to work towards another album.
It's been hard when I get home. I play for an hour with [the baby] and then I'm probably asleep by 9pm! That’s when he's off screaming...”
Bias is unclear, too, on what direction his new material is taking. "I don't really know. I'll just see what happens. I've matured now. Every album I'm a different person. "I started off with all graff, and then it was all about the chicks and having a good time... There's just maturity over each album. The next one I'm gonna have to mention being a dad and just that things are a bit different now.”
"I always say each album is more personal than the last one, so it's just gonna be more personal. [But] I don't really know until it comes together.”
Even in February of last year, Bias indicated that he wasn't planning to start rapping about nappy-changing. He's sussing out how to incorporate fatherhood without being corny. “I'll write a few things and see what sounds the most suitable that other people could get into,” he says. “The thing I was writing [about] recently was how I'm spending all my time at work and I pretty much see [my son] for 45 minutes to an hour a day - and that's it. It's like the Catch-22 – you spend all your time at work to make money to raise a kid, but you're at work so you're never there to see him get raised.” Bias can always look to Eminem for inspiration – Slim Shady has roped in his daughter for album cameos.
In the meantime, Bias continues to plug Bias B Beemixes, a cool alternative to a 'best of'. “When In Bed With Bias came out, I was gonna do a couple of 12s off that. I sent a few people tracks – so I sent all the a cappellas to a bunch of different people and said ‘Do some remixes.' They slowly came back here and there. [But] one thing led to another – I think I went overseas – and it just never happened.”
“I had about six or seven remixes sitting around I'd never done anything with. There was mainly the Ladies Man one, which is one of my favourites, and I wanted to release it on something. I decided just to do a few more tracks, and get a few more [remixes] there, and bring [out] an album of remixes. I don't like doing stuff that just sits there and doesn't get heard, it seems like a waste of time, so I wanted to get it out there!"
Bias is far from contemplating retirement, like Obese's Pegz, who in future will concentrate on the business side. As it happens, Bias, too, works for the label full-time. Having once served in Obese's retail store, he's today sales manager.
Bias admits that, excepting Obese's roster, he listens to little hip hop. At home his fiancée plays Enya and Katie Noonan, "nice, soothing type of vocal music," for their bub. Besides, he's unimpressed by mainstream US rap. “It's all just bling and club. Everyone's going for the cash - just 'get out of the ghetto' type of music.”
Bias is more upbeat about Australia's scene, its artists progressing beyond “bogan-sounding rap”. His sole wish is for more national radio stations to expose Oz hip hop – or for those currently broadcasting to expand their playlists.
Bias is anticipating his return to the road for Obese's national Block Party tour. What is he looking forward to most- “Most- Getting some sleep and not hearing a baby cry when I wake up!” he laughs. “I can actually go and have a drink, ‘cause I don't go out anymore – I probably go out about once a month, if that.”
Bias B, no bling, no club.
WHO: Bias B
WHAT: Bias Beemixes through Obese
WHEN: Out now