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 at the beginning of 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 this sheer determination and self-belief that Kerser carved out his own niche and nurtured a fanbase that continues to expand, both locally and internationally.
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 and the rebellious emcee won over a slew of new fans.
When Kerser released his debut album ‘The Nebulizer’ in 2011, Australian hip hop was introduced to raw raps over electro / hard EDM beats. Upon release many people questioned his sound, assuming it wouldn’t last long. Twelve years later it’s the sound predominantly used by other artists. Prior to this, Kerser had released two mixtapes and a stack of other music all clocking monster hits, not only on his official YouTube channel but other credible music channels. He was a phenomenon.
Kerser initially opted only to self-promote via a monthly video upload to YouTube, most clips receiving up to one million views in less than a month. 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 now exceeding 236 million, Kerser still holds the position of most-viewed Australian rapper on YouTube.
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 clips, 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.”
One thing Kerser has proved throughout his career is longevity, a status that only few can boast. Even more impressively this was achieved with little to no support from radio or the media. Truly self-made, Kerser has set the blueprint for Australian rap, now, and for decades to come.