HipHopDX Premiere – Digital Martyrs MC Uptown Swuite reached out over 6,500 miles to enlist the talents of New Zealand-based artist SoulChef for their collaborative album SoulSwuite. 

Ahead of its release, the duo has dropped a video for the lead single, “F Is For Family,” which proudly puts their love for family at centerstage.

Produced by Digital Martrys member Off Balance, the song borrows from Biggie’s “Juicy” classic, although music nerds will know the drums are taken from the 1983 Mtume song “Juicy.”

“Soul Chef and I are of Samoan descent,” Uptown Swuite explains to HipHopDX. “Although I reside in California and Chef lives in New Zealand, New Zealand is like my second home. I used to live there and have real strong roots in the music/Hip Hop community of New Zealand.

“With this album, we really just wanted to capture the Samoan experience all around via our eyes — whether it be a Samoan living in California, New Zealand or even the motherland Samoa/American Samoa.”

The SoulSwuite album itself was a longtime coming.

“I actually knew of Chef’s music way back in 2010 maybe, but I had no idea he was New Zealand-based nor did I know he was Samoan either.

“It wasn’t until somebody at a label I was working with in New Zealand told me Chef was both New Zealand-based and Samoan that it clicked in my head we needed to work. By then, however, I was already slated to move back to California.”

By chance, SoulChef messaged Uptown Swuite online in 2012 and they ultimately started working on a collaboration called Memoirs From Under The Long White Cloud. But life got in the way and the project wasn’t able to be finished until recently.

“Chef was dealing with multiple labels at the time and me as well,” he says. “A complete body of work never came to fruition until about two years ago when we decided to finally buckle down and finish this project. We completed this project without having ever met one another, similar to the story of Foreign Exchange.”
The cover art itself pays homage to several fellow Samoans who have passed away recently, including Godfather of the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E, his friend/Sublime affiliate Toko Tasi, Exodus Foisia, son of popular Samoan Hip Hop group Brownzville and Cavrin Fiaigoa, son of popular Samoan Hip Hop group Uce Duce.
SoulSwuite is expected to arrive in 2020.
Until then, check out the “F Is For Family” video above.