INTERVIEW: RUMAZ | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image by Benjamin Michael Smith

There’s perhaps nothing more exciting as a music fan than a hook up between two (or more) of your favourite artists (McCartney, Ye, Rhiannon anyone?). Though there’s clearly risks involved, the opportunities for exponential results when strong, independent artists come together is a mouth-watering prospect. 

Having both built a reputation for strong, individual outputs within the North East hip-hop community, the combination of Newcastle’s Max Gavins and Sunderland’s 90BRO (collectively known as RuMaz) may be as interesting as it gets. Both exceptionally talented in their own rights, their first combined single, 2018’s IANAN (Free Man), was an early indication of the sonic possibilities they could achieve when they put their beats, wit and lyrics together.    

It may have been a while coming (we’ll get to that) but the wait has been worth it; debut album Songs In The Key Of Hype is an edgy, heavy combination of grime cyphers, modern trap and dub reggae basslines that mix to create an old school block party record. 

As it turns out, this was a collaboration that well surpassed their individual artistries. “This has been a long, long time coming,” confirms Gavins when we catch up, “it may even be nearly 18 months since the album was complete but because we’re such fans of each other and each other’s work, and because we are so proud of the album, there was no way that we were going to release this in the middle of a lockdown when it couldn’t be heard live.” 

we had an idea for an album of bangers and hype and wanted to create something that held together as a party hype collection

I’d agree,” confirms 90BRO, “we had an idea for an album of bangers and hype and wanted to create something that held together as a party hype collection. This wasn’t coming out when people weren’t able to get hype.”

Recorded in as much of a live style as possible (“we also wanted to back each other, and then hype each other, so it has a real live sound” confirms Gavins), Songs In The Key Of Hype is as much a hype album as it is perhaps a symbol of Northernness and an expression of the local scene. “I think we, and this album, are unapologetically Northern,” clarifies 90BRO, “we’re as proud of being Northern as we are about this album, and we wanted our energy and dialects to be a part of who we are. We’re proud of who we are, of the scene and where we come from.”

Checking across a variety of sounds and styles, Songs In The Key Of Hype may well be an early contender for North East album, let alone hip-hop album, of the year; both artists seemingly fully committed to the sound, feel, energy and narratives of the end product. “The hype is real and the rumours are true,” 90 confirms as a send off, “we’d like to thank everyone from the North East scene who helped in some ways with the final album. This is our best work, there’s more coming, and when you work with Max, and his beats set the standard, you’d better be spitting something good. And we do. And we’ll continue to.” 

Hype by name, hype by nature.  

RuMaz release Songs In The Key Of Hype on 10th June.


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout