NUFFJAH continues to take the Aussie hip-hop scene by storm with his dark, all-consuming sound.
NUFFJAH, the moniker of Melbourne-based artist Ben Arthur, dropped his debut album Gin Habits back in June last year, illustrating his abilities in rapping, songwriting and knowing how to tap into a mix of sounds to set him apart from the rest.
Knowing he could do better, the Darwin born artist dedicated his time in Victoria’s lockdown to his next effort (while simultaneously producing his previous album) and churned out his emotionally charged sophomore album in August this year.
Titled Yeah Mate, this album is a strong representation of Arthur as an artist, allowing fans to truly know his inner workings.
Spanning nine unique tracks, Arthur dances back and forth over the line of rap and R&B, mixing unique vocal stylings to deliver a deep yet exciting blend of soulful songs and bouncing melodies that feel simultaneously energetic and melancholic. With a unique bouncy trap style and gruff vocal delivery, the album crucially showcases Arthur’s rhyme skills, his sharp wit and his ability to slip between the deep, the personal, the hilarious, the domestic and political within the space of lines and bars.
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The album is crafted with careful carelessness, encapsulating that dark experimental and immersive side of hip hop that Arthur’s become synonymous with as explores his journey as an artist and his relationship with The Mic.
“It’s been a homage to the journey of becoming an artist and finding my voice, and a walkthrough for other people aspiring to be an artist and what it’s like. I hope that people listen to the album and it makes it a little easier for their own personal journey and to feel that they aren’t alone.
With nods to the likes of MF DOOM, Kendrick Lamar and Hilltop Hoods, an eclectic mix of hip hop influences surge and flourish through the album. With conceptual influences more in the vein of Muse and even Bob Dylan, the result is a chameleonic piece of work with the compelling sonic presence of a fever dream, marrying old-school rap aesthetics to a cinematic style of songwriting.
“I’ve had similar influences as the previous album, however, I’ve drawn a lot from Bob Dylan, in the way he takes his unique voice and sounds and constructs stories in his songs,” Arthur explains.
“I’ve taken a lot from Muse as well, with their overall concept album design and the theatre in their music.”
Alongside the album, Arthur has also unveiled his newest music video for ‘The Mic (Be With Me)’, one of the singles from his sophomore effort. Providing a visual representation of his intoxicating flow and biting lyricism, ‘The Mic’ is a dedication to several obstacles and destructive beliefs that all musicians need to overcome at one time or another in their musical journey, captured by Miranda Films during Melbourne’s short reprieve from lockdown.
“This song was a love story I wrote about the relationship a beginner artist has with the microphone,” he explains.
“Always chasing after her no matter how out of reach she may be, how many other people going further with her than you are and how difficult she can make.”
Boasting grimy, grainy, deliciously deranged beats and sharp yet ruggedly unmannered rhymes throughout, Yeah Mate is an oddly compelling slice of lo-fi hip-hop, driven by Arthur’s desire to create mountains of diverse material that can capture the imagination of a broad hip-hop audience despite being completely uninterested in commercial success.
“I want people to look at me and my music and see a genuine person, not someone in a costume pretending to be something that fits into a market,” Arthur explains.
Addictively menacing from the first drop, it may take a couple of spins for you to get involved, but once you’ve passed that initial adaptation, it stays with you.
Check it out below and keep up to date with the latest via his website.