Staring down the barrel of his 8th album release in as many years, it’s fair to say that Kerser’s prayers were answered. Entitled ‘Lifestyle’, this collection of 15 immaculate tracks were produced by Open Till L8 and all you need to do is look at the cover art to appreciate how far Kerser has come.
Initially banned from radio and shunned by media and industry alike, the Campbelltown-bred rapper refused to be ignored. Reflecting on what the scene was like when he was on his way up, Kerser reminds, “You had to get radioplay – a triple j push – to make money back then… I was the first to show that you can do it via social media, really, and word of mouth.”
It was through sheer determination and self-belief that Kerser carved out his own niche and nurtured a fanbase that continues to expand, both locally and internationally.
The fact that the biggest Aus/US rap collab in Australian hip-hop’s history – the Ghosts In The Room-produced standalone single ‘Total Concentration’, featuring Kerser alongside Future and Young Buck – was released on Kerser’s own ABK Records via ADA/Warner Music Australia in 2017 certainly helped place the Sydney emcee on the world stage. A YouTube mixtape that opened with ‘Total Concentration’ attracted 3 million views and Kerser chuckles, “I think a lot of Americans would’ve been like, ‘Well who’s the Aussie rappin’ on it?'”
In 2018, Kerser scored an ARIA Award nomination in the Best Urban Album category for ‘Engraved In The Game’, despite the fact that this 7th set contains lyrics directly dissing these Awards for not having recognised the quality and ambition inherent in his back catalogue.
A self-made success story, Kerser cut his teeth in the warzone that is Sydney’s outer-west battle-rap scene in his early twenties when he defeated opponent after opponent before finding himself opposite the ARIA Award-winning pop rapper 360. Footage from this battle went viral thanks to YouTube, the rebellious emcee winning over a slew of new fans.
Kerser initially opted only to self-promote via a monthly video upload to YouTube, some clips receiving up to 100,000 views in 48 hours. Still releasing monthly videos, Kerser continues to generously share uncensored personal stories through his music, connecting directly with his rabid fanbase.
“That hadn’t been done from an artist in Australia before me – not just rappers, like, any artist; no one had blown up on YouTube and fully made it without the radio assistance and the media assistance. I was the first one to prove that even if the industry and the media ignore ya, you can still make it – just go off track.”
With overall YouTube views exceeding 100 million, Kerser now holds the position of most-viewed Australian rapper on YouTube. His Facebook page attracted 275k+ ‘friends’ and with over 127k Instagram followers Kerser still holds the highest hit rate of any Australian hip hop artist.
When Kerser joined forces with local producer Nebs, together they injected epic club beats into what was already a singular brand of hip hop, inspired by Fabolous, The Game, 2pac, Eminem, TI, Little Wayne and Dr. Dre.
Since his convention-smashing debut album ‘The Nebulizer’ dropped back in 2011, Kerser has released an album a year and his star has risen steadily. His 2nd album ‘No Rest For The Sickest’ charted at #1 on the ARIA Urban Chart, #1 on the iTunes Hip Hop Chart and #14 on the overall iTunes Chart (not to mention the dubious honour of ‘Most Stolen Album From JB HiFi’).
In 2013, Kerser smashed the charts twofold when his ‘No Rest For The Sickest 2013 National Tour’ DVD debuted at #1 on the ARIA Music DVD Chart and his 3rd album ‘S.C.O.T’ peaked at #5 on the ARIA Albums Chart (#1 on the ARIA Urban Chart).
Following his ‘S.C.O.T’ national tour, Kerser released a second tour DVD, which reached #2 on the ARIA Music DVD Chart.
Kerser’s 4th LP ‘King’ was released in November 2014 and shot straight to #1 on the ARIA Urban Chart, #9 on the ARIA Albums Chart, #1 on the iTunes Hip Hop Chart and #4 on the overall iTunes Chart.
Booked on the 2014 Big Day Out and Good Life festival line-ups, Kerser toured nationally with the likes of Pearl Jam, Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Major Lazer and Flume.
The hardworking emcee could be ignored no longer and Kerser’s tracks were played, for the first time, by not only local radio but also triple j’s Hip Hop Show. Then Network 10 requested Kerser’s presence on their morning talk show ‘Studio 10’ to defend the tendency for rap lyrics to be taken out of context.
Kerser launched his own label ABK Records to release 5th LP, ‘Next Step’, which saw the C-Town hero enlisting a new, US-based producer Sinima. ‘Next Step’ climbed to #5 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The two Kerser records that followed, ‘Tradition’ and ‘Engraved In The Game’, also achieved Top 5 ARIA Albums Chart status (at #4 and #5 respectively).
When asked what he thinks it is about him that resonates with his massive, fiercely loyal fanbase, Kerser ponders, “They watched me go from the underdog, the kid in the drain doing his own film clip, to fully making it and selling out big venues. Of course they love the music and they really relate to the music, but a lot of the fans have enjoyed the ride: watching me go from nothing to one of the highest-selling artists in Australia.”