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DJ Flagrant - Brazen Beats

Author: Fat Tony
Monday, 19 May 2008
3D’s Fat Tony dispenses with subtlety and gives the third degree to DJ Flagrant, the hip hop DJ who rather originally bred his skills in the heart of country and western territory.

DJ Flagrant is a Victorian hip hop institution. He was born in Melbourne, but got into hip hop while he was living in Nashville, Tennessee of all places in the late 90s. After being inspired to become a battle DJ over there and buying his first set of decks, he moved back to Melbourne where he launched his professional DJ career.

“I was living in Nashville, the country and western capital of the world and I get into hip hop,” he chuckles. “I think I started in 95 or 96, hip hop was always the thing. I saw this battle DJ over there called Alejan, and I thought man this dude's crazy! I had no idea what he was doing, but I just knew that's what I wanted to do.”

He's enjoyed various residencies at clubs all over Melbourne for over six years now after he cut his teeth in the DMC competition in 2001. “I was like, you know what, I'm going to try and make the biggest impression I can and make sure when I leave people remember my name. Sure enough, the next weekend it was my picture in The Age and not the winner.” Now Flagrant runs a hip hop throw down called Late Night Hype with his manager.

Flagrant (or Nate Flack to his mum) was also responsible for bringing the ITF battle out to Australia in 2003. He lost a “fair bit” of money on the venture, but looks back on it fondly and describes the whole thing as learning experience. The format of the ITF comp is something the DJ is attracted to, he enjoys the way a battle DJs skill-set is broken down into sections. “I like it because it's separated into categories, you have the scratching category, a beat juggling category, and then you have what's called advancement which is like combination of the two. You also get to see the DJs go head-to-head. I like seeing disses in battles, and I like seeing DJs really stepping up to each other, it's much more entertaining. It's good, if the DJs apply the pressure you get to see someone really sweat.”

Just out is his first official mixtape, Homegrown, on local label Grindin'. He's done stacks of unofficial tapes before, including a tape with Phrase, of which the pair moved about 15 000 copies. “It's like a greatest hits of Aussie hip hop. I think it's going to be a really good compilation for people that are maybe just getting into Aussie hip hop and want to learn a bit more about it. I think it will expand their horizons of what's out there as for as hip hop is concerned.”

“I was going for the tracks that people are going to identify with quickly. Even if I did a mixtape full of b-sides, the rarer stuff, the hardcore fans are already going to have it, and they're not going to buy the mixtape. I've made this tape with new listeners and new supporters of Aussie hip hop in mind.”

“Stylewise there's loads of different stuff on there. Autism is ridiculously hardcore, you've got Jase's track with Pegz and Muph, that's a really unique sound in the mixtape. Then you've got NFA's which is really UK influenced. There's plenty of variety on there.”

WHO: DJ Flagrant
WHAT: Homegrown out now through Grindin’