Livin’ In A Gangsters Paradise: “Do you want it” featuring Aussie Artist Katija.

Credit: Rose Media

Katija is an Australian-born rapper from Melbourne. A talented hip-hop dancer with musical theatre roots; the Aussie artist soon found her path had crossed with legendary 90s rap icon Coolio.

In what was already set in motion before the tragic passing of Gangsters paradise rapper Coolio; “Do you want it” brings a fun yet more mature-sounding side of Coolio in what was one of his last-ever projects.

The single features a snappy half-time opening, coupled with brassy sporadic saxophone tones. It’s infectiously groovy, begging the listener to get up and start moving. As Coolio’s raspy voice comes in, you notice instantly the maturing age and grittiness of his voice as compared to his earlier years of work. Reminiscing fondly to similar styles of American rapper Old Dirty Bastard; Coolio’s sly lyricism and raw stylings create a lively new take within this latest track.

Stars Aligned

Credit: Pitchfork Magazine (Des Willie/Redferns)

Katija described their meeting as a “moment where the stars aligned”.The Aussie rapper gives us the lowdown on how the collaboration between the both came about at Cosmic Bounce Studios in Brunswick. She says;

  “… He came along and had a listen to KB’s music whose the producer there. He connected straight away. The single we just released “Do you want it” was the first song that KB showed him. He loved it, it was a really different sound compared to alot of what he had heard across different studios he’d been in and around Australia.

So, he got very inspired and wanted to start writing. He  actually started a bunch of different projects with KB, and so we had about three of four different songs that he’d started. With this one “Do you want it”, he spent days and day writing it, working on it and he kind of realised it needed something else; something to finish the song.

In terms of how we met, for me it was one of my first ever videoclip shoots I had booked to come into the studio. I showed up and coolio was just there. In the studio, it was pretty exciting.

We started building a relationship from there, and then it was the next time I came by the studio that we started talking about doing something together. It was on this song that he decided it was perfect to have me as the female feature. “

Katija went on to express that it felt like a gift to have someone like that there for her first ever video clip shoot and then to start mentoring her.

Would The Real Slim-Shady Please Stand Up

Credit: Katija.Official

Raised on a steady diet of Missy Eliot, 50 cent and Snoop Dog; Katija expresses that one of her biggest influences growing up was Eminem. Fondly nicknamed “Fem-in-em” due to her sheer appreciation towards the artist. Rapping word for word and breath for breath, Katija fell in love with Eminem’s portrayal of different characters and personas. She says;

“… He was my first rap influence. I relate to the fact that hes a white male in a prodiminately different cultured background that Hip-Hop music is.

I feel the same in a sense, I love rapping – its part of who I am. Regardless of your up-bring or your background..”

The Aussie artist shares that what first got her into her love of music and hip-hop dancing as she recalls was Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita”.

Rest In Paradise

Credit: The New York Times, (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)

When news broke of the tragic passing of Artis Leon Ivey Jr., known professionally as Coolio; the music industry was left stunned. Katija recalls the exact place and time when she heard the tragic news. She says;

“I kind of went into shock seeing it; I thought “no, no , no this cant be happening” I went to the car and everyone was calling and messaging me, and thats when it just became real. Of course I was absolutely heartbroken… its never easy loosing someone.

It was a very special connection for me, and there was so much planned for the near by futre.”

The emotion of excitement and plans for the future contrasts with the untimely passing of the beloved rapper served as a shock. Katija expresses her time spent with Coolio was a special gift. She says;

I still cant believe it, he was gone way too soon. He was just really starting to get back into live preformances and pick back up, so it was very sad.”

 Finding Her Feet

Credit: Amplify

Hailing from the Sunshine Coast Queensland; like many young adolescents, Katija faced the daunting steps of what follows after Highschool. After successfully being accepted into a University in Sydney, things just didn’t feel right for the up-and-coming artist.

Deciding to move to Melbourne to take her career more seriously, the road to success hasn’t always been easy. After starting her own cleaning business to help her mum, Katijas grit and determination is an inspiring tale.

The Australian artist goes on to express that after years of owning her business her passion for performing never ceases to die down. She says;

 The feeling inside of me of;” this is what I want to do, this is my passion” just dosnt die down. In the more recent year or two Ive decided life is too short. Especially after whats happened with Coolio, life is way too short. You’ve got one life and you should give it everything you’ve got.

My motto is no regretts. I dont want to look back on my life and regret not at least trying and giving it everything I have to try ad persue my music. Its simply for the fact that I love it. I love preforming, I feel like im born to preform, love being infront of a audience and connecting. It feels so natural to me.

A Natural Process

Throughout the creation of the vibrant track, Katija expresses that she found it easy to match the energy of Coolio when producing the track. She accredits her abilities to be able to mimic the styles of some of her favourite artists. When it came to writing her lyrics, the Aussie rapper reflected what perfectly matched the mood of the song, smashing it out within an hour of recording.

After easing into the song Katija says that she and Coolio had a natural synchronisation. She shares that Coolio himself had never had someone match his energy so quickly. However, Katija does reminisce that at times she had her challenges. She says;

“Coolio is such a lyrical genius. The way he rhymes and the way he comes up with rhymes would just blow my mind.  The was a challenge, he actually helped me finish a few of my versus to make it sound a bit better. That made me feel like I’ve got alot of work to do in terms of my vocab…

…I think the biggest challenge is trying get that emotion across into your words. Sometimes I struggle a bit with that to find the right words. “

From writing poetry from a young age, the Aussie artist transitioned to writing her own raps in a book when she moved to Melbourne. A creative release was her way of expressing her emotions through whatever she was going through.  Touching back to a natural process; Katija found that writing poems and raps was a way to incorporate performance with her dancing background.

An Iconic Figure in the Music Industry

Credit: BBC

The Australian rapper gives us a low down on the inspiration behind the lyrics. With a seamless blend of cheeky wordplay coupled with the infectious groove of the beat; Katija expanded her skills by stepping outside of her comfort zone with themes she wouldn’t usually write about. Getting into the mindset of the moment, the Aussie rapper was able to have fun and go for it.

Coolio, who was an iconic figure within the music world; had an abundance to teach Katja as an up-and-coming artist. She shares what she learnt from working with him; she says;

“He listened in when I was working on things. He’d given me alot of feedback. He was always like; ‘its good, but you can be better’. He always said to me if there was anything I want, he could help me do a writting session so he could help me and work out more of the emotion and feeling behind the song.

He taught me alot. Such as I needed to increase me vocab, I needed to work on its not just the way that a word ends, but the way that a word sounds. Or that you put two words together that typically wouldnt go, but its the way that you rhyme. Fitting into the pockets of the song and the way that you flow, it can really sound like a complete song if you can just sit inbetween that.

He also taught me to take as many different takes as I can. If you saw on his track, he had about eight dfferent add libs of what he was working on. And each one had its own little unique cadences orintricacies that sounds a little different. So he really pushed me to do the same.  “

What Fans Can Take Away

Credit: The Gurdian, Frans Schellekens/Redferns

What is described as a fond memory of him, you’ll hear the contrast in style to Coolios later years of performing.  Katija gives thoughts that this was a reflection of this older character in his voice. The song broadcasts his fun and easy-going side. Katija says that he related to the track because of its old-school funk stylings, and that’s what he loved about it. She says;

“I just want everyone to enjoy it, listen to the interesting lyrics that hes used, the way he rhymes certain words together. And its just fun and easy going, thats what I’d take away from it.”

With a few singles on the way, fans can be hopeful for ideas of an Ep in the works not long after. Katija touches that she’s trying different things and finding her sound and what resonates more with her audience. Fans can expect a live performance early next year February at the Vineyard in St Kilda. In the future, the Aussie rapper hopes to achieve more projects underway as well as more performances. A dedicated and hard worker, Katija juggles the transition from a business owner to making music her full-time role.

A playful dynamic that takes you back to peak 90s rap duos, “Do you want it” is a fun and infectiously bouncing beat that illustrate the matured and experienced side of rap legend Coolio as well as showcasing the talents of Australian rapper Katija; as she breaks out into the music scene.

“Do you want it” is now available on all streaming platforms.

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