Louie Knuxx tells Sam Wicks how his work as a mentor working with marginalised youth has heightened his hip hop.
Getting his start with New Plymouth hip hop outfit Dirtbag District, before graduating to Breakin Wreckwordz, and now serving as the elder statesman of the Young, Gifted and Broke collective, Louie Knuxx has an extensive history of producing unvarnished reality rap music in this country.
Louie’s troubled past set the agenda for his early releases, detailing a rap sheet of youthful indiscretions. With the release of his third LP, Tiny Warm Hearts, the casual violence of these recordings has been tempered by his role as a youth mentor with South Auckland’s Nga Rangitahi Toa creative arts initiative.
“I have to be cautious – especially being in the public eye to a certain degree,” says Louie. “I have a responsibility to the young people I talk to to be careful, and I’m really prone to being a big mouth and being outspoken, so there’s a balance to that that I’m finding still.
“At this point, my job is starting to cross over into the other areas of my life,” he continues. “And I remember my boss telling me when I started, she was like, transformational work transforms – and it is. It’s changing how I view my responsibilities out in the world.”
Louie Knuxx’s Tiny Warm Hearts is out now.
Artist: Louie Knuxx
Song: Cold and Dead Heart Stealing, Jump Off, Bad Bad Bastards, YARP, Bare Skin
Album: Tiny Warm Hearts