With their irreverent 2004 hit 'I Got', Auckland group Fast Crew "came out of nowhere" to bring party music to the New Zealand hip-hop scene.
This episode covers how Fast Crew demonstrated the versatility of the hip-hop genre in Aotearoa and faced the challenges of being labelled 'commercial' and getting sued by The Eagles.
Fast Crew - initially consisting of Dane Rumble, Jeremy Kent-Johnson and Brad Devcich - first started meeting at producer Jeremy's Mum's house to practice rapping and writing songs.
Brad recalls the moment when Jeremy created the two-chord melody for 'I Got', which Dane immediately said was "the coolest thing they had ever written".
The single was a huge breakthrough for the group, resulting in sold-out venues.
DJ Sir-Vere believes Fast Crew were such a phenomenon on the Aotearoa music scene because they built their own fanbase from the ground up, "creating their own scene".
Vocalist Rebecca Le Harle, who later joined Fast Crew, remembers the initial confusion people had towards the group who were perceived as "rich, white North Shore kids" and labelled as 'pop' and 'commercial'.
"I'm sure we got hated on by all the hip-hop heads," adds Brad.
"It became pretty evident that we were not really gonna be accepted as part of that group," says Dane, who points out there was stigma at the time around producing pop music.
Later in 2004, Fast Crew followed up 'I Got' with the single 'It's the Incredible'. Their use of an Eagles sample, without permission, led to legal action that effectively hit the brakes on the group's success.
Despite what followed, members of the group are still asked to perform 'I Got' at parties today.
Brad recalls the 'I Got' era as the best time of his life, and Dane views his work on the song as a life highlight.
About the artists
Fast Crew was a New Zealand hip-hop group that formed in Auckland in 1999. The early line-up consisted of Dane Rumble, Jeremy Kent-Johnston, Brad Devcich, Rebecca Le Harle. They gained recognition after releasing their hit single "I Got" in 2003, which peaked at number four on the New Zealand charts.
Dane Rumble is a New Zealand-born musician, songwriter, and producer. He gained recognition as a member of the popular hip-hop group Fast Crew, which formed in Auckland in 1999. He went on to have a successful solo career with several hit singles and albums to his name.
Fast Crew's producer and "part-time rapper", Jeremy Kent-Johnston started performing live at hip hop nights in a Downtown Auckland bar under the rap alias 'Jerome Fortune'. The group that would eventually become Fast Crew formed at his childhood home. He was responsible for creating the two-chord melody for their hit single "I Got."
Brad Devcich, aka Diablo, was a key member of Fast Crew and attended Auckland Grammar with fellow member Jeremy Kent-Johnston.
Rebecca Le Harle
Rebecca Le Harle was a classically trained opera singer recommended to Fast Crew by a mutual friend, joining the group as a vocalist. Her talent added depth to the group's music. She eventually left the group in 2006.