Changing Landscapes with Hip Hop Collective 206Collab
Having just dropped a 2nd full-length album, Sydney collective 206Collab are hip hop eccentrics consisting of rappers Flip+Skip and Eno, DJ/rap wunderkind JPlatnum, and soulstress Tiffa. Together they are are shifting into a new level of game and creating a lane of their own.
We talk to Flip+Skip of Sydney hip hop stalwarts 206collab about their sophomore album ‘Watch Kulagina,’ what it’s like working as a collective and how they are inspired by The Funkoars.
You just released a 2nd full-length album. What did you do differently from the first one?
Like many first albums, ‘What You Waited Years’ For traversed a number of different subjects and styles. We were adamant that the next release hang off one coherent and expressive theme. Recognizing music has this magical power to guide minds to deep thought and bodies to the dancefloor, we soon came across the fitting Nina Kulagina — a Russian spy from the Cold War era with psychokinetic powers. Our second album Watch Kulagina was born!
We liked that the Kulagina theme allowed us to move beyond the convention of rapping about how good at rap we are, and instead elicit how we already mastered rap, and moved on to manipulating minds to pervert the course of history. The tongue in cheek nature was very 206, and the creative potential was boundless.
We also chose to collaborate with fewer producers this release, selecting those with the sonic chops to devise the Kulagina sound — Sydney heavyweight Nebs (Kerser, That’s Them), hatonrack label mate Jacob Giles (1NF0), newcomer Kean, and of course our very own JPlatnum.
As a collaboration, how do you work with each other’s creativeness?
We began collaborating through mutual respect for each other’s talents; JPlatnum, as well as being my partner in label hatonrack, is most musical, endowing the majority of production and scratches on this release, not to mention joining permanent mic duties with an ability that is astounding on his first appearance.
Eno has always had this larger than life personality ever since we met as teenage skaters, and his energetic style helped cultivate the exceptional stage presence and ludicrous antics that 206collab is famed for.
Tiffa brings a soulful dimension that perfectly complements our twisted humour (both on the record and IRL). She’s a talented singer-songwriter, and her presence offers much needed balance amid verses steeped with perverse braggadocio.
As a career creative, I’m responsible for the band’s image, forging track and album concepts, and promoting the band with a slew of music videos and social media stunts drawn in the same Kulagina theme.
And of course a core quality of the "collaboration" is to work with artists we like, like Sydney crew LookUp on our posse track Proper, and freestyle king Nick Knowledge on an inspired remix of our 2006 JJJ radio single, Deadly Concoction.
What other projects are you working on?
I'm working on a project with my other band, Fallstars. Consisting of singer-songwriter Stu Groen, drummer Tash Adams from She Rex, and myself, Island In the Sky is a short film which plays out as a musical. Not only does the film format allow for storytelling over a number of tracks, but the album becomes the soundtrack to the motion picture, which is unique as a point of marketability.
And who knows, we may soon start a third 206 album!
Do you think artists' should be investing themselves more?
The landscape has changed since we released What You Waited Years For many moons ago. The Australian Hip Hop genre has really come into its own despite diminishing opportunities for live shows and radio and press exposure. Now, It's all about online presence and that requires persistence, technical know-how and a creative vision.
There are so many talented artists in this world that go unheard because they haven't invested in the education or work it takes to get heard. We saw the shift, got with the change, developed a vision in Kulagina, and relentlessly executed our lyrics, production, brand and marketing against it, because a compelling sound and persona is key (not to mention Russian spies are relevant to contemporary politics — gotta leverage those search algorithms!)
What Aussie hip hop artists are you feeling at the moment?
We've long been inspired by The Funkoars, partly because we see ourselves in their closeness as friends and the endless escapades that go along with it, but mostly because they are incredibly talented rappers who make incredibly listenable music.
We're also impressed with the next wave of Australian rap, and Chillinit get props for his very obvious lyrical ability and compelling persona to back it.
What stimulates your soul?
For 206collab, our creativity has always been a direct expression of our souls, and Watch Kulagina is a testament to our commitment to being different and doing it the way we feel it should be done. Through countless hours in the studio, stage shows across the east coast, and shenanigans we can't even mention, it's been a tiring but very stimulating journey. We're so happy to release it to the world with a wealth of support from press, radio, and most importantly our fans!
For more information on the band follow them on Facebook.