A South Auckland hip-hop group has won its way on to the soundtrack for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new Hollywood blockbuster Hobbs & Shaw.
Kiwi-Sāmoan hip-hop duo Tha Movement & Anonymouz have managed to get their song MASTA featured on the Fast & Furious spin-off movie soundtrack, after the film’s studio discovered it online.
The track features in a sequence in the film that is set in Samoa – fitting given the stellar line-up of additional New Zealand-Pacific artists that also appear on the track – and Johnson’s heritage.
“This song is all about pride in being Sāmoan and expressing that pride of culture and confidence through one’s own skill set,” explained Anonymouz (Faiumu Matthew Salapu).
“I think it’s important for us to tell these stories in this way so that our younger generation can enjoy this wonderful universal gift of hip-hop that’s expressed all over the world, but doing it through a Pacific lens closer to home that they can identify with.”
MASTA was originally released on Tha Movement’s 2017 EP The Undisciplined Son, after Anonymouz came up with the beat in his South Auckland home studio and further developed it on a flight over to Brisbane.
Playing the instrumental to Tha Movement in a carpark over a late night drive-through meal, the beat was handed over and the track concept born, before a one-take verse was recorded in Tha Movement’s kitchen on another trip months later.
The pair then assembled Samoan hip-hop royalty from around the country to contribute to the track.
Otara-based Machete District collective SMV and Poetik provided vocals, as did King Kapisi, Kas Tha Feelstyle, and Mareko, with MC Arme laying down a ragga hook to give the track a distinctly Samoan sound.
The collective approach to MASTA was inspired by Manu Samoa’s 1991 Rugby World Cup squad, who Tha Movement (David Saotupe) says symbolise what can be achieved, no matter who you are or where you come from.
“The beat itself was very tough and staunch and it gave me this idea that I wanted to create an anthem for our people,” he said. “So I really wanted to gather the dopest Sāmoan rappers for this one song.”
The Undisciplined Son EP was recorded sporadically over a two-year period in South Auckland, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
The six-track release details Tha Movement’s conflicting journey between his proud Samoan heritage upbringing and the harsh realities of South Auckland gang life.
“It’s about my story of being sent to Samoa for being a juvenile in my early years in NZ,” he said.
“My parents sent me to Sāmoa to look after my grandparents, to learn about culture, respect, family and to experience what they had gone through before migrating to New Zealand. So this project sums up a moment in my life and it’s dear to me.”
Hobbs & Shaw releases in NZ cinemas on Thursday, August 1.