Best known for his blunt takes on power and race relations in modern-day Australia, 22-year-old Perth rapper Ziggy Ramo is a force to be reckoned with. On his latest release, he takes a different approach to inequality while still preserving his energetic rapping and no-bullshit persona. In 'YKWD' (You Know We’re Done) he lays down a thumping beat and matching lyrics to boot in order to shift the dialogue "around the way both relationships and women have been depicted in our society." He went onto explain, "We foster an environment that encourages us to disconnect from our bodies and succumb to being paralysed by overthinking. This song is a feel-good anthem to re-establish the body and mind as one. We are all flesh and bones and love connects us all."
Carrying a positive and punchy energy, this song isn’t as full of heavy, politically-charged substance as its predecessors; Ramo has instead opted for joy and fun. The song is, however, dedicated to Elijah Doughty, a Kalgoorlie teenager who died after being hit by a car in WA (the man in question found not guilty of manslaughter received a three-year jail term on a lesser charge of dangerous driving occasioning death, much to the anger and disappointment of his family and the Indigenous community to which he belonged.)
"With permission from EJ (Elijah Doughty)'s family, 'YKWD' is also a dedication to the dances their 14-year-old son, sibling, cousin, nephew and friend will never get. Elijah was robbed from the chance to see live music. So many experiences have been stolen from him, but we have the power to speak his name in love. Each time we dance to this song, we have the opportunity to dance in the name of unity and love, allowing EJ’s spirit to live forever," says Ramo.
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As for the music itself, the production is mostly a piano and a sparse beat, with an unexpected slow section coming in midway through. Ramo isn’t a particularly verbose rapper but has a powerful and engaging style that’s easy on the ears. This song is all energy, urging you to get up and embrace joy in the name of someone whose life was so tragically cut short. In 'YKWD', Ramo turns his grief and pain, and that of his community, on its head, and attempts to find a light in the darkness, and though he's been very vocal about his own suffering from mental health issues, it's certainly a triumph to take a tragedy and release something so unashamedly positive.
Catch him live at WAMFest (Sat 4 Nov), and Fidelity Festival alongside the likes of Alt-J, Cashmere Cat, The Shins, NoName and more.
WORDS BY CAMILLA PATINI
Image: Joseph Crackett/ ONLY ODD for Purple Sneakers. See the whole gallery here.