Samoan Hip Hop breaks Hollywood

Written by on July 30, 2019

A song from Kiwi- Sāmoan artists Tha Movement & Anonymouz has a starring role in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the first stand-alone film in the global smash-hit ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise that has amassed almost $5 billion worldwide to date. Featured on the film’s official soundtrack which was released on Friday 26 July, 2019 is the track MASTA by Tha Movement & Anonymouz feat. POETIK, SMV, King Kapisi, MC Arme, Kas Tha Feelstyle & Mareko, originally released in 2017.

The US-based film studio giant discovered the track online, and approached the artists about the potential of using the song in the film. MASTA is featured in a sequence in the film that is set in Sāmoa, fittingly relevant given the collective of Sāmoan hip-hop artists featured on the track, as well as the heritage of lead actor Dwayne Johnson.

The collective approach to MASTA was inspired by the 1991 World Cup Manu Sāmoa rugby squad who symbolise what can be achieved, no matter who you are or where you come from, to the creative collaborators. Written by independent hip hop artist Tha Movement (David Saotupe) and master music producer, Anonymouz (Faiumu Matthew Salapu), the beat for MASTA was initially sketched in Anonymouz’s South Auckland home studio before being developed on a plane flight over to Brisbane on
one of his many trips over as part of an international Sāmoan indigenous cultural revival programme.

Playing the instrumental to Tha Movement at night in a car park over a late night drive-through meal, the beat was handed over, the track concept was born, and a one-take verse was recorded in Tha Movement’s kitchen on a subsequent trip a few months later.

For Tha Movement, MASTA represented more than just a song: “The beat itself was very tough and staunch and it gave me this idea that I wanted to create an anthem for our people. So I really wanted to gather the dopest Sāmoan rappers for this one song”. Tha Movement and Anonymouz then assembled Sāmoan hip-hop royalty from around the country to contribute to the track. Tha Movement’s brothers from the Ōtara-based Machete District collective SMV and Poetik joined to contribute vocals, as did King Kapisi, Kas Tha Feelstyle, and Mareko, with MC Arme laying down a ragga hook to give the track a distinctly Sāmoan sound.

For Anonymouz, this song is the embodiment of hip-hop and storytelling. “This song is all about pride in being Sāmoan and expressing that pride of culture and confidence through one’s own skill set. 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”.

The track is taken from Tha Movement’s second solo EP ‘The Undisciplined Son’. Continuing on in the proud tradition of Ōtara musical storytellers, Tha Movement recalls the conflicting journey between his proud Sāmoan 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. 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”.

The Undisciplined Son was recorded sporadically over a 2-year period in South Auckland, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The EP is also a welcome return to hip-hop production by award winning South Auckland Music and Sound Producer Anonymouz, and features a stellar line up of NZ/ Pacific hip hop artists. This is Pacific people telling Pacific stories.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Available now:
Featuring MASTA by Tha Movement & Anonymouz feat. POETIK, SMV, King Kapisi, MC Arme, Kas Tha
Feelstyle & Mareko.

Taken from
The Undisciplined Son by Tha Movement
Available now iTunes and Spotify.

Current track