Trimming The Phat

2 May 2012 | 4:00 am | Matt O'Neill

The rapper formerly known as Phatchance has ditched the pseudonym to release music under his “weird enough” given name, Chance Waters. Matt O’neill finds out why.

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In a country known for its irreverent attitude to hip hop, Chance Waters still manages to stand out as an innovator. The Sydney MC's catalogue to date has shown a consistently unconventional musical approach to his genre. His 2009 debut album Inkstains glowed with live instrumentation and surprising genre flourishes (folk, rock) while 2011's Inkstains (Acoustic) delivered a sound which, while not unprecedented, was and remains rare – entirely acoustic hip hop music.

“The thing is, I take just as much from outside of hip hop as I do from hip hop,” Waters explains of his work. “Obviously, a lot of my favourite artists are rappers but I really do take a great deal of influence from artists in other genres. A lot of my music has bridges and pre-choruses and harmonies and a whole bunch of stuff you don't see in hip hop – at least not from the rappers. Typically, you see a guest artist handle that sort of stuff.”

This is perhaps why Waters has recently decided to do away with his most successful alias. Having spent the better part of the past five years building his reputation as Phatchance, Waters has recently made the surprising decision to proceed under his given name. Considering his accomplishments to date, it's a somewhat bold move. Phatchance has supported DJ Premier, Method Man, De La Soul, The Herd and Bliss N Eso. Chance Waters is relatively unknown.

“There were a lot of reasons. Mainly, I just wasn't really happy with the name anymore,” the MC reflects pragmatically. “Especially with the type of music I make. When you just hear the name, Phatchance has a lot of connotations attached to it. Not only is it a very hip hop name, it actually harks back to like, golden age-style hip hop, you know? I love that music but you don't hear much of it in what I do these days. I decided my given name was weird enough to work by itself.”

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The advantage of the shift is that it allows Chance Waters to reintroduce himself somewhat – an opportunity of which the MC is well aware. Currently laying foundations for the release of his second album Infinity, Waters is determined to take his career and music to the next level with his new moniker. Rising production star One Above (Hilltop Hoods' I Love It) features heavily across the album and Waters has personally endeavoured to improve as an artist in every facet of his work.

“It's been in the works for a long time. We wanted to do everything we possibly could to make sure it was of a quality that could compete with a national level,” he says of the record. “So, we wanted to make sure that not only was the production up to scratch – and One Above has kind of proven with Hilltop Hoods that he can easily handle a national level – but also that I was at that standard. We did a lot of prep work with this record.

“You know, from recording songs two or three different times to me just straight up going out and getting singing lessons,” the MC laughs. “We're of the mind that we are doing something that's interesting and a little bit different with this record and we believe it does deserve a bit of the spotlight – but in order for it to get there, we really need to lift our game. The standard in Australian hip hop is just so high at the moment. It's on us to rise to the occasion, really.”