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Draino - Get the Picture-

Author: Katie Elles
Wednesday, 19 March 2003
Australian hip hop is fast becoming an internationally renowned genre and Melbourne's own Draino, aka Minista Info is undoubtedly making a name for himself in the scene.

As a member of local hip hop group the Puah Hedz, Draino's repertoire consists of three albums with Osinaka, DJ FX, and brother Muphin, including 'Who I Am' 'Despite the Odds' and 'Just Another Person.'

Late 2002 saw the release of Draino's first solo album. 'Get the Picture-,' a "concept driven," 13 track collection. When asked to describe his distinctive style of hip-hop, Draino says,

" It's just me being me. Lots of MC's have an alter ego, they're different in person but I speak about situations that happened in my life so, people should be able to relate."

'Get the Picture-' is not a release purely for entertainment. The underlying motivation is to inspire its listeners by covering 'true to life' themes. Take the album's second track 'Out of Place,' featuring one of the 2002 Nescafe Big Break winners A-Love. Draino says it describes his own experience with other artists who are doing hip-hop "just to be cool."

The fourth track 'Left Behind' carries a similar 'real life' theme, which really hits home for brothers Draino and Muphin.

"When our grandma died and left my grandpa behind it was my brother's idea to each write a verse about what you do when you're best friend of 50 years is gone."

You won't hear a single gangsta rap uttered on the whole album. Draino continues the Puah Hedz reputation for writing timeless, meaningful lyrics. For listeners who like substance, you can't go past the inspiring track nine, 'Future Investments.'

"This one's about the sacrifices you make to get you ahead in life. It's already inspired people to get off their arses."

Although better known for his Mc'ing, Draino would like to "…get more into the production side of things," and produces five tracks on the album. The rest are from various artists he knows including Suffa, Aux One, FG and Okinasa.

Puah Hedz co-member and Draino's brother Muphin appears only once on the album and that's to offer his lyrics on 'Left Behind.' When asked what it's like working with his brother in the group Draino says,

"He's my brother and we've had quarrels over last few years. You can't tell on stage though."

Unlike many other artists, Draino performs all his shows sober. He says he gets "a natural high" just from being on stage. I must say, he really is a unique individual.

When asked to comment on the international market for Australian hip-hop, Draino says few groups have a commercialised career abroad. He confesses that many Aussies still aren't used to the local flavour. Although, he does add that a variety of Australian hip hop styles can still be heard overseas, despite the lack of a mass market.

"It's all about marketing. If you keep pushing, then people will get familiar with it.

So where can we see Draino next in action- He'll be performing together with brother Muphin at the highly anticipated Rodney P and Skitz show in Melbourne on March 28th at the Price of Whales. You can also catch some of Australia's finest live hip hop talent at the gig featuring: Hilltop Hoods, Koolism, Muphin, Lyrical Commission, Mnemonic Ascent and Hunter. The live show is being recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 1xtra, the UK's all black music station.

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