Whiplash cracks the US
When no one was answering the door here in Australia, Whiplash headed to the United States.
In the US Joshua Lewan is making a name for himself in the hip-hop world.
But he isn't the only Aussie taking their rapping skills to the US recently, with Mullumbimby's Iggy Azalea leading the way (and fielding offers from Kanye West).
Lewan (aka Whiplash) is based in Lennox Head after growing up in Byron Bay and Suffolk Park and despite his musical aspirations overseas he's keen to keep his base in the region.
"A lot of people in Australia just don't know about (my music)," Lewan tells Pulse. "But I hide this music from a lot of people. I don't have the connections I have in the USA that I need in Australia to put it out here. In the US I am hon- oured to be next to names like Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Eminem, 50Cent, Dr Dre and the list goes on."
It doesn't take too much to figure out why an aspiring hip-hop artist, whose influence lies in Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Ice Cube and Xzibit would head to greener (or bigger) pastures in the US.
"When I listened to other artists rap it connected with me and my life," Lewan says. "I wasn't born in the ghetto but I have stayed in ghettos, slept on streets and beaches in different countries.
"I have experienced that hopeless way of living and feeling for years; rap was a way for me to vent the truth that I couldn't reveal so much in everyday life."
Whiplash has recently received a big boost in the States where he features on more than 300 mixtapes (including three of his own) alongside anyone from Ghostface Killah to Ludacris.
"I have been collaborating with some sick rappers from the USA who approached me via email and I was happy to work with them," Lewan says. "The producers and artists I work with have all approached me the same way and came with nothing but respect so my hat was off."
Tha Advocate, an artist out of New Jersey, has opened the door for the keen rapper. Tha Advocate was releasing a series of mixtapes, Digital Dynasty, hosted by artists Xzibit, Naughty By Nature and, now, Whiplash.
"I wanted to be a part of that movement so I basically submitted songs to be featured over there," he says. "Although Tha Advocate has to really like your song; if he doesn't you're not on."
Getting noticed hasn't been easy though. Lewan started sending his work around the world in 2009 and hasn't stopped since.
"It was no different to job searching," he says. "When you are knocking eventually someone has to open a door or you are going to just break it down. I got so many knock-backs all over the world so I wanted to at least have my USA connections."
Next month Lewan heads to the US to film his first video clip alongside Tha Advocate, Bad In Me.
The next we'll be seeing him...
"Hopefully in your homes," he says. "A household name or on stage at festivals and clubs.
"I am going to push to make it in the USA first and if I can do that I can make it in Australia and worldwide."