Featuring Poetik, MC Arme, SMV, King Kapisi, Mareko & Kas Tha Feelstyle
Yes, this is an article about a hip-hop song. But let’s talk about something else.
The 1991 World Cup Manu Samoa squad were more than just a rugby team. They were a movement. And no-one knows more about movements, than Tha Movement (David Saotupe) himself. “I have so many memories of the team. Lolani Koko fending off the Welsh to score the try in the corner, Brian Lima hitting the opposition and forcing them to knock the ball on, Matthew Vaea charging down the kick and Mike Umaga scoring the try”.
With vivid recollections like that it’s easy to see why, after 27 years, that iconic team are now a symbol for Samoans that signifies what can be achieved, no matter who you are or where you come from.
So why are we talking about the ‘91 Manu? Easy.
They were the inspiration for Tha Movements latest track, ‘Masta’. A song born in a car park late on a balmy Brisbane night, while he and master music producer, Anonymouz (Matthew Faiumu Salapu), chowed down on Hungry Jacks and listened to some of the beats the producer was working on. However, this beat in particular was one that Anonymouz was initially reluctant to hand over. “I’d actually been sketching this beat out for a different project, Tha Move was really digging it, so I relented, giving it to him to see what he could do with it. After we recorded his one take verse in his kitchen on my next trip over, we knew from that energy he set off that something magic was happening”.
From that point on the two friends were both singing off the same song sheet and Tha Movement was moved, compelled, by the music. “The beat itself was very tough and staunch and it gave me this idea that I wanted to create an anthem for our people. So I really wanted to gather the dopest Samoan rappers for this one song”.
Enter Samoan hip-hop royalty. King Kapisi, Kas Tha Feelstyle, Mareko & Tha Movements Machete District brothers, SMV and Poetik all picked up the mic to bring the boom to this banger.
All they needed was the hook. “I called my uso MC Arme and said, ‘can you do a ragga hook, but add fa’asamoa in it?’. When he got in the studio, that hook was pure fire. Anonymouz and I were like, ‘Masta, that’s the title’. We were originally going to run with ‘Manu 91’. The rest was history”.
For Anonymouz this song is the embodiment of Hip-Hop and storytelling. “This song is all about pride in being Samoan and expressing that pride of culture and confidence through one's own skill set. I think it’s important for us to tell these stories in this way so that our younger generation can enjoy this wonderful universal gift of Hip-Hop that’s expressed all over the world, but doing it through a Pacific lens closer to home that they can identify with”.
‘Masta’ is the second single from Tha Movements latest EP, ‘The Undisciplined Son’. A series of songs that tell his own tales. “It’s about my story of being sent to Samoa for being a Juvenile in my early years in NZ. My parents sent me to Samoa to look after my grandparents, to learn about culture, respect, family and to experience what they had gone through before migrating to New Zealand. So this project sums up a moment in my life and it’s dear to me”.
This is Samoan people telling Samoan stories. Masta is more than just music. It’s an "anthem for our people".
The Undisciplined Son is available on itunes and spotify.