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Interviews

Radio 13's Sam Smith talks to Auckland Hip Hop Artist Diggy Dupé

New Single, CT&T, out now.

Sam Smith

Auckland rapper Diggy Dupé demonstrates why he’s a rising star of the local scene with ‘CT&T’ the second track from his forthcoming album That’s Me, That’s Team, due for release on 28 August.

Short for Cuppa Tea & Toast, ‘CT&T’ talks frankly about the struggles of low incomes and gambling addiction in his family and community. The track talks about the two sides of the gambling industry - one side getting richer, and the other getting poorer, existing on tea and toast through the cold of winter. The heartfelt lyrics overlay a nostalgic Island-influenced beat by genius producer Christoph El’ Truento, continuing the tradition of Diggy Dupé speaking out about the issues faced by the central Auckland Pacific community he’s part of.

To me, it’s a set up. To others it’s a bit of fun. But there’s no denying the harm it causes,” Diggy says. “Sad cause I know there’s people out there who think it’s a quick fix to solve all their problems like “if only I hit the jackpot I can pay for this and that” and all will be right in the world. It ain’t that simple though.

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Here is my catch up with Diggy Dupé from a few days ago:

You have got a new single out called “CT&T” could you tell us a bit about this?

Yeah, it was produced by Christoph el’ truento, the artwork was done by Tim Dee. And it is just one of those songs that is a banger, but then, on the other hand, there is also a bit of a message behind it. It hit that little sweet spot between being radio-friendly and also very self-aware of the situation that people are in right now.

Because it looks at the impact of gambling in communities. Where did this inspiration come from?

From my household. It wasn’t that bad but it was there. My Mum, I think she had a pokie problem, she would always be on the pokies a lot which was funny to me because she was a dealer at Sky City, her main job all my life. So it was kind of a weird little contrast, like how ironic is that, my Mum is helping people gamble and then in return she is doing it herself. Also, coming from that kind of background where it has been normalised in our community, whenever Islanders have to fundraise and stuff the first thing we do is do a raffle or bingo night. I just find it really crazy how it has become ingrained into our lives at an early age. I didn’t even really notice that until I stepped back and listened to the song.

Had you been wanting to write a song like this for a while?

Yeah, I think so because it has always been in the back of my mind and it was just something I had to say. There have been times when I knew when my Mum didn’t have much money. Like, she would always make food for us, that is the best thing about her, no matter what, we would always have food on the table, it is just some nights it wouldn’t be as great as the other nights.

Do you think it is important for musicians to speak up about these sorts of societal issues in their music?

Each to their own. Everyone has got a lane, a direction they want to go in, I just feel like for me I had to because it was sitting there. For me, it is an outlet and I had to do it for myself first and foremost. I can’t speak on any other artists but for me, I had to and I am glad I did.

What was it like working with Christoph el’ truento on this track?

He sent me a beat pack, so I had some goodies and I got to pick and choose, that was that. But the fact that he actually sent me stuff is crazy because that guy is such a crazy producer, the fact that he reached out was like a blessing.

So this track is part of a new album is that right?

Yes. So there are two sides to the album. It was supposed to be a double EP but I decided to go for a full album instead. And you can see the contrast to the two sides in the two singles Keke Boy and CT&T you know the energy, the whole approach. There is going to be a bit of everything in there for everyone.

They were quite different stylistically the two tracks

Very different. There is a lot more range in this album. I feel like I have assembled the best people I know and they have bought out the best parts of me. So I am not just doing banger after banger or conscious track after conscious track because if you are too conscious it’s like you are simply preaching. I am not on a high horse because I have problems myself, I can’t throw stones in a glasshouse. So I got a range of producers and then that way there are so many different types of emotions and feelings and subject matter. I can’t wait for people to hear this album because if you ask someone what their favourite song is I bet you would get twenty different answers and that is the best thing about it.

What I love about your music is you are well known for repping your hood so hard, Grey Lynn and Arch Hill. Is this important to you to do that?

It just flows naturally, I can’t not because it is where I am from. Growing up it is all you know. But also, way back when we were starting off, we had to because no one really cared. We were the minority, ten years ago South Auckland was dominating, that was their wave, everyone was fixated on gangster rap. It is the same situation with Rizván, he reps so hard for the North Shore when no one else did because he felt like he had to because he was the only one doing it. I am not saying I am the only one, but me and Eno x Dirty, we all came up around the same time and we all feel the same way, we are so patriotic about central stuff.

So obviously you have got the new album coming up. When is that out?

End of August.

Have you got any shows lined up?

Not until the album drops. I am focussing on that because it has been almost two years since Island Time and I have been doing heaps of shows in between. The music comes first for me no matter what because without it I can’t gig. There is no point me performing the same songs that are like three years old, it is always the case where I have got to go back and work because that is the bread and butter. Without any new songs there wouldn’t be any new shows or tours. So that is my main focus right now.

 

Written By: Sam Smith When he is not writing for Radio 13 Sam works in media and journalism at 95bFM radio and the University of Auckland. He also has is own personal music blog Nowhere Bros.