REAL DEAL SKENG hail from the depths of the 77, representing the grimey alleyways of Cranbourne in South-East Melbourne. A melting pot of African and Pacific Islander boys, RDS is led by a hell-raising trio; YDK Tha Faceless, 77 Dippa and 2Trappy.
Last month the trio dropped their latest single ‘FTO’, on YouTube. The song opens in a blaze of dirt bikes, before 2Trappy quips, “Run from cops, I don’t run from ops. Who the fuck thinks they won’t get got?”
YDK rocks a Hawthorn football club jersey beneath a Northface puffer, “I told trappy go wap that target, leading this rap thing and we just started.”
Backed by dozens of masked hoodlums, YDK struts into the commission housing estate in Prahran for a photoshoot. He speaks in a calm and collected tone, “It’s Real Deal Skeng and we’re from the C-Block.” If drill music is grounded in street authenticity, while standing over you, these guys are stamping the certification.
“We’ve been rapping for a few years, we’ve been rapping for a minute. We just had to get our shit together so we can start dropping music now. As a message.” When asked who the message was for? “The opps. They know who they are. It’s not for everyone. If you know, you know.”
Real Deal Skeng collages a 2D fighter game aesthetic with actual firearms. Real guns. The result—their music video ‘Demon’ was stripped by YouTube in December last year for “containing illicit firearms with minors.”
Draped in a Canada Goose showerman jacket, while whipping around in a convertible Mercedes, YDK waves a silver 9mm.
“We don’t want people knowing our identity,” says YDK, behind a Louis Vuitton face mask. “No ones dripping like us. We don’t just cap in our rap. We actually do the shit we speak about. So it is what it is.”
When asked why they felt the need to show real firearms. YDK says, “We want people to know we’re really about it. We put gats in our videos because we expect to get done with that shit. We get done for this shit anyway.”
For restless youths, funnelled through systemic cracks, with no hope in sight – crime becomes real life escapism.
“How can you prove that to people who are reading? You have to be on the streets to see the proof. The streets know what’s up. We don’t care about getting big. We don’t give a fuck. We want to make noise. We’re really with this shit. Everyone thinks they can just jump on this shit because it’s a phase. We’re letting them know it’s real. That’s our spin. It’s not a hype.”
On ‘Demon’, the chorus swings with a wavey auto-tuned melody (“Blood stains, I don’t know right, I’m a thief in the night, she says I’m a demon”) juxtaposed by the harsh reality of their gang-riddled lyrics (“gang stay active, they know we back it, move in silence, while they stay chatting”).
2Trappy bridges up to the camera before it flashes. “Our first songs were a message to the streets. This is about money now. We’re trying to get paid. We’re trying to survive on these streets.”
In the music video for ‘Game Over’, an arcade video game rendition of Cranbourne park has a police car chase Real Deal Skeng. The 2D cartoon morphs into actual footage of Public Order Response police officers pulling up to their music video shoot.
77Dippa spits, “And why the police want to know my name? Fuck them! They can never know my name. Not even mums can see my face.”
He is standing on the lawn of a police station.
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