7 Questions with El' Jistos
Surprisingly, this 20 year old from the Blue Mountains has been active in local Hip Hop for the last 6 years. Originally spitting with A Blank Canvas Crew, he has supported all the big name local acts including- Thundamentals, Dialectrix, Spit Syndicate, Rapaport, Urthboy, Hermitude and more. His first solo mixtape “Full Tilt Boogie” can be downloaded for free from here. And his first studio release is scheduled for spring this year.
There must be something in the air in the Blue Mountains because so much talent has come out of there. At what age did you start writing raps and performing?
“I began classical piano training at age 6, and have loved performing since my first taste, soon after. I began writing poems at an early age, for my dream girlfriends but wrote my first rap (in a hip hop format) at age 14 or 15 in 2009. I was hooked. I think a lot of talent has come out of the mountains because the air is buzzing with creativity, free thinkers linger on every corner, and people are tight knit."
At just 20 years old you have already supported some of the biggest local artists, I think a lot of emcees just starting out would love to know- how did you make that happen?
“A Blank Canvas was prolific, we were at every house party, every weekend rapping all night, causing a stir and making people happy, our crew was known in the street. We always played high energy gigs, and we had a huge network of people who supported us to do what we loved."
We met at the last Two Toes show and you were the biggest fan. How does it feel to be opening for one of your favourite groups?
“I first met Joe New in Katoomba, I was about 16, I was eager to get into this gig happening at the local spot, unbeknownst to who he was at the time I asked him if he could front as my legal gaurdian so I could get in. He said no, but I snuck in anyway. I’m pretty sure Spit Syndicate supported Gully Platoon that night, and it was amazing. I’m the biggest fan boy at every hip hop gig, but Two Toes is one of my favourites and I am so nervous."
What is your earliest memory of listening to Hip Hop?
"My school friend Ciaran Walker introduced me to hip hop in year Two or Three, the first hip hop album I ever owned was The Black Eyed Pea’s ‘Elephunk’."
What two albums are you listening to right now?
Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe
Gang Starr - Moment Of Truth
What does Hip Hop culture mean to you?
"Hip Hop culture to me means freedom, freedom of expression, it connects with my inner smart ass and rebel. Its beautiful, believing in something despite what anyone else thinks. I love the elements. Additionally it’s a minority, and I’ve always had this inner fire, always standing up for the underdogs. Hip Hop culture may have grown a lot here in Australia, but at the end of the day, we’re all still underdogs."
Who are your top 5 Hip Hop artists?
"I don’t play favourites sorry.
I can’t and I won’t choose 5.
I can get started on a list for you. I love Rakim, Biggie, Guru, Chali 2na and J5, Nas, Wu Tang and Method Man, Pharaohe Monch, Lauren Hill, De La Soul, Outkast, Scrubious Pip, KRS-One, Sons Phonetic… and a lot of Australian acts…... Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Jay-Z…. ….Anything and Everything coming out of Mello Music Group, 7even Thirty, Oddisee, L’Orange is a great producer….. DJ Shadow, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dialated Peoples, The Roots, Blackalicious."
You can catch El' Jistos performing on the spaceport 2our at a gearins HOtel in katoomba on saturday 9th january.
Links El' Jistos Recommends Spotify Playlist Bandcamp El' Jistos Facebook Catalyst Punk website Spaceport 2 website Facebook event