Many years ago, when we still flew under the Yung Shottaz banner, we caught wind of a crew that was making serious noise on the Auckland dancehall scene. These guys were supposed to be the baddest selectas on the scene, riding with the toughest MC running the mic at the time. At first I didn’t think to check out any of their sessions, but as time passed their legend grew. I remember the first time we met a couple of selectas from this crew like it was yesterday. We had just finished a set opening for Deadly Hunta at Khuja Lounge, and a bloke randomly approached us to show love. If I’m not mistaken, his exact words were “That set was alright eh boys!”. At this point I’m thinking “Alright?! Just alright?! Who the heck are you anyway, and what gives you authority to judge our set?”. Lucky for me, I didn’t express these thoughts out loud as it turns out I was speaking to Ed G of the legendary Sandy Bay Social Club. At the end of the conversation he invited us to attend his 30th birthday party the following night and we dutifully agreed to attend. The following night we showed up to the party and proceeded to have a night I will never forget. It was the moment the SB.Shottaz collaboration got rolling, we just didn’t know if yet.
(listen to SB.Shottaz – Enter The Dub Den Volume 1 below)
Rakinos sessions – Solidifying the link
At Ed G’s 30th, we managed to get on the mic during Piet and Deli’s set. That session will forever be etched in my memory due to the vibes that were generated in less than an hour. Not only did these selectas have solid riddims for us to vibe with, we quickly built a rapport and it felt like we had rehearsed together by time we finished the set. The chemistry was beyond what we had built with several DJs along the years, and that’s saying something. After Ed’s party we linked up with the Sandy Bay crew at many a session, and we were booked to play together for a couple of gigs. During this period we built a level of chemistry during sessions that was unrivalled on the scene. We also built solid friendships with most of the crew, which was a good bonus. About a year into the Sandy Bay/Yung Shottaz link up, they invited us to MC for them at a session they were hosting at Rakinos. That energetic session was the first of many parties at Rakinos, hosted by Sandy Bay with the Yung Shottaz running the mics. I remember one session in particular when we rocked up with other MCs we were collaborating with at the time, and proceeded to destroy the mic all night long. I can safely say that I truly cut my teeth as an MC during these Rakinos sessions. And these sessions are where we took the connection with Sandy Bay Social Club to the next level.
Rolling On Dubs and Friday Night Take Out – Next level steez
Unfortunately for us, we linked up with the Sandy Bay crew at a time when they were nearing the end of their solid run. This was simply because most crew members were at that point in their lives where big decisions were being made. The crew got fractured when a few members of the crew moved away from New Zealand. Other members were starting their families so it was more of a mission to run sessions like they used to. This situation was unfortunate for us because not only were we growing as performers, our profile was also getting stronger due to the sheer numbers the Sandy Bay crew would attract to their parties. This though wouldn’t be the end of our link. At the time, Sandy Bay selectas had several shows on Base FM which included Ed G’s Rolling On Dubs show and Piet & Deli’s Friday Night Take Out. Following the closure of Rakinos, and the subsequent slow down in Sandy Bay parties, we would frequent the two shows highlighted above. We would go over to Base FM just to hang out with the boys, and we’d always end up on the mics bussing freestyles. We recorded our first radio stings for the boys, and we also recorded a few dubplates and exclusives for them. The radio days were awesome, and we got to learn a lot about the scene just being around the Sandy Bay crew during their shows. The saying goes “All good things must come to an end”, and that was certainly the case for Rolling on Dubs when Ed G decided to make a move Melbourne. Whilst it sucked saying goodbye to the bro, it was good to see that he was taking the leap to progress his career in Film & Television so it was hard to get mad at the dude. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in the most amazing recording session alongside Ed G and the brother Hlats.
The Dub Den – Where dreams become reality
The minute I connected with Ed G after moving to Melbourne, I could tell that something special was brewing. I linked up with him at his apartment in Fitzroy, and we had a few beers reminiscing on the good old days. After a while we started discussing the music, our plans as the Shottaz, what he was up to in Melbourne etc, and it quickly became apparent that we were vibing on the same level. A few weeks after the initial catch up, Ed linked me up to see if we’d be interested in doing a joint mixtape. I was excited at the prospect of doing another Sandy Bay/Shottaz collaboration, and when I pitched Hlats he was all for it. We spent a couple of months planning the project, outlining logistics etc. We had a few strategy meetings at Section 8 (our favourite bar in Melbourne), a brainstorming session during one of the I love Dancehall parties, and eventually we started work on the project. Ed G did the initial mix and sent it over, we spent about a month absorbing the mix before we got together with Ed to start recording our vocals. After one session recording in Ed’s cosy home studio, aptly name “The Dub Den”, we had completed about 75% of the project. The major highlight for me though, was the pure energy in The Dub Den throughout the process of creating mixtape. Sometimes I wish I could just share this energy with everyone so they can feel what it was like. Unfortunately, that’s not possible but we can certainly share the fruits of those sessions. Enjoy volume one of the SB.Shottaz mixtape series below: