Australian hip hop tends to take no prisoners. It’s pretty raw and gritty a lot of the time, as is the case with Cheap Sober, who has recently released his second album, ‘Gone Unnoticed’. But the NSW emcee isn’t necessarily about keeping the status quo.
“I wanted to add something original to the scene,” describes the lad from Illawarra. “I wanted to bring my own sound to what I was doing to be honest.”
First getting involved with music as a youngster by listening to the golden era of hip hop — artists he names are Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang Clan — Cheap Sober describes the inspiration he received and why as a result, he wanted to pursue music more seriously.
“There was this youth centre near where I lived and they had all sorts of different types of musical equipment, and they encouraged the kids to learn how to use it. I was pretty curious and recorded something when I was about 16 years old, and I really quite enjoyed it. From there, I bought some gear for myself and decided to take things a little more seriously.”
With his apprenticeship completed, Cheap Sober is now promoting the release of ‘Gone Unnoticed’.
“It did take quite a while to get through it,” he explains. “There were a few things that came up in my life that sort of held me back from doing music for a while too. So I'd say it took me from around 2010 to 2012 to produce and complete the album.”
That said, an album that evolves over a period like that, is bound to have depth and diversity.
“For sure,” agrees Cheap. “I think there is balance on the album. It took me probably twice as long to finish as I thought it might. I also ended up doing about twice as many tracks in the studio versus what actually ended up on the LP. I had to pick and choose the ones I liked most to really get the result I wanted.”
All in all, Sober considers making music something of an emotional outlet.
“If I want to get something off my mind or have something to do or have something to say, music is where I'm at. It has helped me deal with anger and frustration, get things out of my mind, and it has also made me feel better about myself. To see and hear people listening to your music saying that they're feeling it and all that — or even that it helped them through something — that's really positive.”
The production of ‘Gone Unnoticed’ was taken care of by a number of his compatriots, both locals and from overseas. Likewise, the sound is diverse and unique.
“I've got this group of contacts that I've picked up from all over the place and I've kind of leaned on that for the album. To be honest, I wasn't too fussed where the producers were from or what they'd done before — as long as they brought the fire for this release!”
Yet not to be outdone, Sober is also back in the studio working on another EP, just to tempt the appetite of his fans.
“I just want to keep the buzz happening,” he says. “After that, I will have a break for six months and then start thinking about the next album. It's probably not something I'm taking as seriously as the album, so it was a little more fun to do, but I am still serious about it and looking forward to that release as well.”
Finally on the tour, he is ready to promote the album and suggests that it's going to be a much more lively than it was in the past.
“Tracks like ‘Puzzles’ are going to be a bit deeper, and there are some others I've re-done a bit too. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's responses to that. I've also got a great set of support acts that are coming to help out so it's going to be a high-energy show for sure.”
‘Gone Unnoticed’ Is Out Now. Stay Tuned For Details Of Cheap Sober’s Brisbane Show. Facebook.Com/Cheapsober