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Young 6ix is Built Different

The West-Sydney rapper speaks on growing up tough in Mt Druitt, what he's been working on, and how he's branching into territory beyond drill.

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One of my most memorable Aussie verse-ending bars of 2020 was definitely “Told bro chill, now he’s doing up ankle”, Courtesy of Young 6ix (with a kind feature from Skenzo) on their track ‘Double O Member’, the song served as an initial introduction to the Sydney Artist at the tail end of 2020. Now one year and 4 releases removed from his grand entrance, we were able to sit down and speak on growing up tough in Mt Druitt, what he’s been working on, and how he’s branching into territory beyond drill.

Young 6ix How are you bro? What’s been happening.
Good Good man, Not much.

I feel like a good place to start is how did you find music as an outlet? How did it begin for you?
How did I find it? It started from just rapping with the boys and stuff and then later started taking it seriously.

What do you think was the point where you’re like, “I’m trying to do this properly.”
It was around the time I got out of jail and then dropped ‘Double O Member’. That was pretty fresh after I came out.

So while you were in jail was that something you were thinking about a lot, like “When I get out, I’m going to go for this for real.”
Yeah. When I got out, I was like, ”I’m going to drop.” And then I did it. Actually either the day before or on the day it dropped, I got arrested again. But (that time) I was lucky and I knew then, that I’d have to leave that life behind and take this seriously.

Yeah, and so ‘Double O Member’ was the song that you dropped.  Seeing that it was your first song that came out, the reception seemed quite strong early. How was seeing that happen, especially living being on a different path just prior to that? What it a shock at all?
Yeah, it was shocking. I didn’t think it was going to go that far, but it did and obviously I’m glad.

For that song specifically; did you have a beat for it, or how did you write it if you were inside?
To me, it wasn’t anything at the start because it was just in jail rapping ‘Double O Member’ and they’re like, “Fuck. That’s cold, that’s cold. You should do this when you’re out. You should do that when you’re out.” And then I got out and jumped into it, it changed a lot for me.

I think that speaking about a certain lifestyle in music and trying to turn it towards a positive outlet is something that’s a lot more common in our current music landscape than before. While you were inside, was this something you were planning for a while? And did getting into trouble dent your future at all?
I’m not going to say it impacted my future, because it made it better. But if I would’ve kept going, it would’ve impacted me in the wrong way. So yeah. I’m glad things changed for me and that I changed.

You mentioned earlier that you first started freestyling with your friends and that was your gateway to music, can you describe what some of those scenes looked like?
Well it was a lot of car freestyles, cell freestyles, trap house freestyles.

I’ve heard you say before as well, that you’ve taken more influence from Chicago/American drill than you did from the UK drill. Tell me a little bit about how you first found US Drill?
That came from my older brothers and stuff, because that’s what they were listening to it while I was young and growing up. Yeah, so I grew up on US drill more than UK drill.

How did having older brothers put you onto music influence how you approach music now do you think?
Probably better, because now I have a bit of UK drill from me and my friends and US drill from my older brothers, so I’m combining the both.

When you’re making music, is it ever a thought that crosses your mind, “My brothers are going to fucking with this” or not really?
Yeah, I think they know when it’s going to be a hit. They’re making their own music now too. It’s going to be hot.

Over the last two years, seeing how Onefour have put Australian drill on a larger stage and knowing that they are from the same suburb as you. What was that like?
Yeah. It was hectic for them and the area. I’m happy for them. Yeah Everybody was on it, and knowing that they’re from Mount Druitt opened a lot of doors. 

Was there ever a shift in energy?
Nah, Mount Druitt’s always been Mount Druitt. I don’t reckon no music’s going to change Mount Druitt, but yeah. They kicked it off for sure. A lot of people were claiming Mount Druitt afterwards knowing damn well they were not from there. but that was like it. 

Again Australia has obviously seen its influx of drill music over the last few years. How do you think your music personally differs to a lot of what’s happening right now?
It’s different because it’s not the same. It’s jumpable. You can get up and dance. Talking about our lives and this, that. But yeah it’s just the beginning and i have many more different genres to come. Everything from dancehall to afrobeat and swing, melodic drill as well. I’m trying to get it all.

Word man, I think a massive change I’ve noticed personally is how over the last few years a lot of Australian producers are really at the forefront of shaping the sound. Is there anyone who you go to often to produce a lot of your music?
Ooh, I get producers like Pax, Kid Wave, Team Mob. Yeah.

As far as when you’re recording, what do a lot of those scenes look like? Do you like to be alone or in larger spaces with people?
I reckon it depends on what I’m recording. Sometimes I like to be by myself, but yeah. Sometimes with the boys and their energy, feeding off each other. Usually, I’ll write at home, it’s the best time to write.

When do you think was the transition where you went from freestyling with the guys to, “I’m going to go home and polish/record these”?
Probably all after ‘Double O Member’, because I knew then that it was up to me and my team. So they’re depending on me and I’m depending on them. Probably then.

Then right after you dropped Double O Member, you did your first show at Butter. Right? what was playing live for the first time like?
Yeah. It was hectic. It was one of my first shows, so I had to bring everyone on stage with me.

With no one being able to play for the better part of two years. How are you looking forward to refining your physical presence at shows and what’s that going to look like?
It’s going to look way better. It’s going to be me and the team. Yeah. It’ll look a lot smoother.

What do you think you learned from performing for the first time?
Maybe don’t bring so many people on stage. The newer stuff that we’re doing is more Melodic and I’ll probably do that solo; or with the other person I’m on the track with.

How have you found navigating stepping into the spotlight so far? and When do you think was the first point where you’re like, “Oh, shit. People know me for music.”
When people started asking for pictures. The first one was in Melbourne. I went to a club and this guy one level above was upstairs yelling out to me, “YOUNG 6IX! DOUBLE O!”. That’s when I knew that it was probably everywhere.

I think for most people, their stamp of success is to buy Mum a crib. So, do you think that’s probably your number one priority at some stage?
Yeah. Probably move her out the hood, yeah, buy her a crib.

What do you think has been the biggest moment for you as an artist?
Probably playing live. and doing The North Face campaign. I think that was in Australia and New Zealand. Billboards and shit. That was hectic, because my mum was curious as to how I got out there and to be honest, I didn’t know what to say.

Oh really? So she didn’t know you were putting out music?
At the start, she didn’t quite know, but my sister found out and her and my brothers found out. Now they all know. I took it a bit easier at first. I didn’t tell no one, but then when songs started dropping, they were going to know.

These last few years have been pretty tough on everyone. What do you think is the biggest thing you’ve learned or the biggest thing you’re taking away?
I’m not even sure. Probably just work, work, work. Build yourself up while you are isolated and create a plan. 

Where do you think you want to be a few years from now and what does that look like?
Ooh. Houses. My mum’s rent paid for, family’s rent paid for, team rent paid for. Yeah. Stuff like that.

How has growing up and working on music, worked together to make you who you are?
It’s really not until recently I’d say, because growing up and working on music really go together back in the days because I was going to jail a lot. But yeah, once I started focusing, all I can say is music saved me, I guess.

I think the current crop of Australian talent feels like the 2nd or 3rd generation of modern rap music here and we’ve seen some incredible pioneers in the likes of Manu Crooks. Were you very tapped into what he’s been doing over the last few years?
Yeah. I know Manu,  I saw them before I was dropping music and he’s shown a lot of love as I’ve been coming up. Him, B Wise and all of them really. It’s hectic knowing that they show love, knowing what they came from and what they’re onto now.

As far as music goes, what’s coming up for you, what can we expect in the near future?
I’ve got a dancehall song that I’m going to do, I got melodic song that’s going to be lit. A lot of stuff, just more drops, more work and more shows.

This feature was done in partnership with G-Shock Australia and shot at Culture Machine Studios SydneyFollow Young 6ix here for more.

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