14 Jun Kerser – A Gift & A Kers
Containing 23 massive tracks, no feats by other rappers and exactly zero skip moments, A Gift & A Kers is the gift that keeps on giving. Kerser has already dropped five strong, stylistically diverse tastes from his upcoming 10th – and final – album release, but the self-made, Campbelltown-bred rapper points out, “There’s still 18 fresh songs for fans to hear on this record.”
A Gift & A Kers is, unquestionably, Kerser’s best set yet – you can’t rush perfection, after all. Kerser took his sweet time with this one – recording songs gradually over three years instead of within his traditional, self-imposed four-month window between annual, sold-out national tours – and it totally paid off.
“I honestly feel like I reached my full potential on this album,” Kerser reveals. “Fans can expect the type of music they have been asking me to recreate for years now, with a modern twist.” The album’s brilliant title, A Gift & A Kers, also perfectly summarises Kerser’s revolutionary underdog success story – a double-edged sword – as well.
Throughout the course of his illustrious music career, Kerser has made it crystal clear – every trailblazing step of the way – that he would drop 10 albums in 10 years. And as his final record’s release date looms, he acknowledges, “I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but this was my goal from the start and the mission is almost complete.”
For his closing sonic statement, Kerser realised that representing every era – from breakthrough mixtapes and YouTube promos right through the entirety of his coveted discography – was essential. “I feel like I covered every Kers style, so it really takes the fans on a journey,” he details. “There’s stuff on here to make my fans laugh, cry, reminisce, get goosebumps, think deep and feel motivated. There’s some hardcore street stuff, and heaps of addictive hooks and killer bars as well.”
A Gift & A Kers was mostly produced by Open Till L8 and Raijan Kitano, with some album cuts taking shape while they all vibed and crafted beats together during a luxurious stay in Gerringong, on the NSW coast.
Released back in April, 2020, ‘Winner’, this record’s momentous lead single, brazenly barges in, hollering, “I’m back!” Of this Gold-certified lead single from A Gift & A Kers, Kerser explains: “I still feel like I’m winning, so I wanted to get that across. As soon as I heard that beat, I knew straight away it could be a massive song if I added a catchy chorus.”
“Why I got ’em all so bitter?/ Swear they gonna hate if you a winner…”
Of the follow-up single ‘Like I’m Trapped’ (2022) – which also contains vocal elements from ‘These Kids’ (2004), performed by Joel Turner & The Modern Day Poets – Kerser informs, “Joel’s a big fan of the track. We brought his popular song back to life.” Thematically, this drop’s verses outline “a few of the trappings that come with fame” about which Kerser elaborates, “People might think it’s all rainbows and flowers, but there’s some difficult stuff – the dark side – that comes with it. The fame kind of does my head in, so I wanted to express that in this song.”
After owning his “real fast-paced, double-time flow” throughout ‘Like I’m Trapped’, Kerser decided to show off his slow flow on the next single ‘Telem How’. This one’s beat, according to Kerser, was inspired by imagining what “Dr. Dre producing something for 50 Cent or Eminem, in this day and age” might sound like.
The fourth single to be lifted from A Gift & A Kers, ‘Been Some Time’ finds Kerser bidding farewell to his “Day One fans” over a celebratory, dance-party vibe, which thankfully softens the blow.
“Been some time/ You’ve really watched me grow/ You helped me hit the top/ Now will you watch me go?”
Although built from a “gangsta-hard beat” that harks back to his mixtape era, Kerser’s upcoming single ‘Seen It All’ – which is scheduled to drop on [maybe include the release date?], ahead of A Gift & A Kers – also boasts a distinctly fresh feel that’ll satisfy fans both old and new. Kerser shared a story featuring this track’s chorus on social media, about a year ago, and marvels, “It was on Instagram for, like, 15 seconds and then fans somehow recorded the audio, started using it on TikTok and it went viral!”
Elsewhere on A Gift & A Kers: ‘Take Me Back’ tips its cap to Kerser’s 2011 debut record The Nebulizer – which introduced Australia’s hip hop scene to rapping over electro/hard EDM beats – and the beat in ‘Never Be The Same’ was created by Sinima, who produced Kerser’s fifth and sixth albums (2015’s Next Step and 2016’s Tradition).
During another standout album cut, ‘High Demand’, Kerser dishes a cocky premonition: “Number one again/ We’re not surprised.” And, let’s face it, Kerser was always gonna go out on top.
“I used to see Hilltop Hoods and Bliss n Eso were playing the Enmore Theatre and I’d look up the capacity and I’d go, ‘Oh, okay, I don’t think I’ll sell that out in my career; that’s more for the artists on the radio with a massive push.’ We actually sold the Enmore out for this upcoming tour and I never expected I could do that, so it’s a massive accomplishment.
“I’ve got such a loyal fanbase, ‘cause they’ve seen me go against the grain. Back when I was coming up you needed radioplay or you weren’t gonna get anywhere. Or even Channel [V] – I’m showing my age there!” he recalls, laughing, “With all those doors shutting in their face, I think a lot of artists in that position would’ve quit! But, yeah, I proved that theory wrong and showed that you can overcome [a lack of industry support]. It’s good to see the upcoming artists have realised that and they give me props for it now, which is pretty satisfying.”
He set out to create “the greatest Australian rap release ever” with album number 10 and if you thought Kerser had peaked on previous albums, think again. “I know this is my best piece of work yet,” he admits of A Gift & A Kers. “I’m leaving my fans with an album that will carry them through the rest of their lives. My final thank you and my final imprint on the scene I built.”