King Homeboy “raps” up raw talent on Quay Street.
Quay Street Rapper and beat boxer: King Homeboy.
(Photo retrieved from: http://antonykitchener.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/fishhead-magazine-street-characters-feature/)
If you’re heading out to the heart of Auckland City on one of its busiest nights be prepared to come across the mind-blowing Quay Street rapper.
Usually situated on the corner of Quay St and Queen St, 31-year-old Paul Teariki Toki, street name: King Homeboy, raps and beat boxes the likings of his audience, something he describes as “vocal kung fu.”
The original Wellingtonian, a performer of around 17 years was born deaf but was granted with the ability to hear at the age of 7, and his legendary talent and heart of gold has demonstrated he is thankful.
“It has made me what I am, to take things and to not take anything for granted.”
Little to my previous knowledge he is actually a man of many talents, including rapping, beat boxing, dancing and even sharing his “winter woolies” with his fans as follower Abbie Sprott exclaims.
This astounding talent has competed in beat boxing competitions in Germany and America and currently holds the world record for the longest beat box. In 2009 he smashed the previous record, beat boxing for 34 hours, part of a fundraiser for the World vision 40-hour famine appeal.
Along with Homeboy, Auckland’s Queen Street is always scattered with abundant street performers. An artistic feature to the very popular and busy street.
Street performer and musician Etienne Bizjak says, “I do it for me and the public, to play the best I can for them.”
Bizjak believes that performing on the street can be a base for some musicians, “you can only improve from there, you get your identity out there and build your confidence until someone hopefully finds you,” he says.
But more than someone found King Homeboy, he was recognised by so many people that the publicity from onlookers raised him to popularity.
Street performers are usually extremely friendly and “give off a really good vibe to the area,” says local city-goer Eilish Maddock.
They provide today’s urban culture with a great atmosphere and are a sense of artwork to a street, making it less boring. It also provides a difference to the mainstream music played in the street side shops.
“I personally love the music as I am walking down the street,” says Cherie Neave.
It has proven to be a win win situation, for both the performers and the public.
Although Queen Street is populated, in contrast to New Zealand or even the world, there is still only a small audience when performing on the street.
The wider community is missing opportunities of enjoying this often surprisingly mind-blowing raw talent as it is buried in the streets of New Zealand, leaving much of the public unknown.
However there is hope that these many talents will be discovered.
Once in the same position as King Homeboy and Bizjak, but now extremely famous and still talented is well-known American rapper Eminem, who was discovered on the streets of Detroit.
And now we are hoping for a similar outcome for King Homeboy.
With 1.5 million views on one of his YouTube beats, word about the release of an album and a documentary of his talents, with support from his fans and fame he is definitely on the road to success.
This week he posted on his Facebook page, “making myself productive so that hopefully I am inspiring everyone out there who is following my progress.”
Keep an eye out for this man of many talents, I say get his autograph while you can. It won’t be long before everyone will want it as he boxes up a new beat.
For a more personal interview check out http://whendidyoufallinlovewithhiphop.com/2013/07/16/king-homeboy-still-maori/
To follow King Homeboy keep updated with his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/king.homeboy?fref=ts