This is exciting. Gareth Shute has won the New Zealand Book Award for Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture for his book “Hip hop in Aotearoa.” Having battled through a few misconceptions, like hip hop fans are illiterate and therefore the book would never sell, Gareth managed to produce an impressive volume of an important part of New Zealand’s music history.

But what’s this got to do with me?

Well, a couple of years ago when Gareth was writing it, he contacted me after seeing my track-by-track analysis of MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave’s “What can we say?” album. This album does play an important part in the history of Aotearoa hip hop, but sadly is hard to come by in record shops these days, so Gareth wondered if he could borrow my copy. I was happy to oblige and am pleased that I could play a smart part in such an excellent book.

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