A Conversation With ABRZY

September 10, 2020

’80 Different Ways’ is the newest project from Wellington rapper ABRZY (Ay. Breezy). ABRZY is a young Muslim artist, originally born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Over the last few years, he has been working hard on new music, releasing a slew of singles and music videos.

We caught up with him to discuss how the album came together, his influences and cultural roots.

Check out the interview below.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from? 

Yeah for sure, I am a young hip hop artist residing in Wellington, New Zealand originally born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I moved to NZ when I was 5, however, all my family except my mum, dad and brother live back in Bangladesh so I go back every 2-3 years to see them. When I touch road I mainly reside in a place called Khilgaon.

How did you first get into rapping and making music?

I got into rap music when one of my trips back to Bangladesh. I copped this pirated albums of Eminem’s Encore and 50 Cent’s massacre. They were so lit, I instantly fell in love with the genre and I wanted to do it myself. When I was younger, I used to freestyle a lot. Like every day after school, just to myself over instrumentals of popular songs on Youtube. I guess I used to do it a lot for other people too like my friends or at parties etc. From there on, I guess I wanted to keep a permanent record of my raps so decided to start recording. 

What inspired you to make your project, ‘80 Different Ways’ 

I went back to Bangladesh for various reasons 3 times in the last 12 months. Everything I experienced there was the catalyst for this project. 

My EPK describes the project as: Casting an honest eye on Bangladesh, ABRZY’s debut album is an expression of his Bengali identity, travels back to his hometown, Dhaka, as well as the collective experiences of his family still living there. The lyrics speak the harsh & unheard realities of life in the third world. You’ll hear fierce raps over-energetic production, with Bengali featured in most tracks, adding contrast & character. 80 Different Ways tells a grim tale of Bangladesh while offering a unique perspective, that’s both entertaining and inspiring.

What was the writing and recording process like for the project?

I honestly was scouring the internet for south-east Asian producers that made bangers but had an ethnic twist to them. I found this homie in Mumbai who is mad dope. He produced over half the album and yeah. Once I had the beats in place, I knew I just wanted to rap hard over them. Like minimal melodies, no songs about girls. Just raw, gritty bars. I started working on it earlier this year, but lockdown allowed me to lock in and write, rap, record and mix for it to be ready for the world. 

Tell us about your decision to incorporate your cultural roots in both the songwriting and the production of the project?

I just wanted to create something original to me. But also kids that look like me on the other side of the world and could relate to and dig. Like if you are from this part of the world or you have skin that looks like me, I think you will truly understand this project and appreciate the bars just that little bit more. I wanted to do this because Southeast Asian artist are the least represented in mainstream hip-hop. So it would be dope to try to kick down this door. Even if I don’t manage it and leave it slightly ajar, maybe I could inspire the next generation or the next young gunner to get through.

Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

I’d be here all day if I listed everyone haha. But definitely Wayne 06-012, Drake, 50 Cent, Game, Tory Lanez, Meek Mill, Ross, Eminem Yeezy., Biggie. 

Are there any local NZ artists that you would be interested in working with? 

My brother Slep. Check him on Spotify, he is so dope man that is my brother and of course, the OG David Dallas would be a huge blessing.

Do you feel like being based in Wellington has influenced your music or the way you make music? 

Hundred percent. Even though this project is about Bangladesh and everything I’ve seen. At the end of the day, I am still a Wellington boy and I rep the Welly Deep hard. I am very much influenced by everything I see hear as well. lThe last song I released in 2019 has bars that include leshgo and vortexes because that is a direct reflection of what I see and hear in Wellington and my life. So yeah I’m very much influenced by the Deep.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Wellington artists with similar aspirations that are just getting started?  

100%. Be consistent and just keep going no matter what. Don’t get too caught up in an L or similarly a W. Just make sure you are dropping new music every single month and you’ll be growing. Set some money aside for marketing too, like IG and FB ads, they go a long way but can be complex so take the time to research and save your money from any job you have for them. They are an investment that will cost heavy now but reward you later.

How do you hope to be remembered as an artist in the NZ hip hop landscape?

Someone who was 100% authentic, true to themselves and did his best to represent himself and his people and be a voice for minorities. 

Check out 80 Different Ways below.

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