In 2019, Mahmood Fazal interviewed Masi Rooc about his single Who’s Real.
After calling five different phone numbers, Mahmood finally got through to Masi.
Masi Rooc: That was the Davinci code right there. You cracked it. I’m still trying to work out this social media shit. It’s a bit fuckin’ complex.
Mahmood Fazal: How did you get into music? When I was inside all our boys used to make songs and shit. Me and Franny, one of the other boys that’s locked up still, we used to make songs in the yard at Goulburn. When I came out, one of our boys Hefs was already onto it. The plan was always to drop a song with him.
That’s why I come out like this. Not every song is going to be as in your face as this one. This real. The reason why I came out like this was because we know who’s who. Especially the boys that done time and that.
It’s not for me to be the ultimate fuckin judge of everybody, like ‘I know what they’ve done’ and all that. But at the same time, we have a rough idea. I just wanted to make that statement. We know who’s who in the zoo. And now I want to change things.
Like all the boys wearing masks and that. Obviously they’ve been inspired from the UK. There’s good influence and there’s bad influence. For me, putting on a mask and talking shit about people that you’ve hardly ever encountered, I don’t rate that. Straight out, I don’t rate that. Not as a gangster. Not as a thug. Not as a fucking whatever. As a man, I don’t rate that. You know what I mean?
I’m 28 now. I’m coming into the rap game and getting out. I only want to do this for four or five years to see where it goes. I want some of these younger boys to start rapping about shit that matters.
Why does rapping about prison matter to you? I was locked up for over seven years. I done most of my time in Goulburn and Lithgow. I done five and half years in isolation. In segregation. In the song ETI, STG, I’ve done that. Those are just little units, when you fuck up they send you there. It’s behavioural based. If you kick back for four months you get a jug or some shit. It takes about a year to finish that whole unit.
The song was about prison. Especially for OC. That’s our story. We’re not area based. Or family based. We’re not like fucking established from outside. We started in there. We come from in there - in Goulburn. But we come out here and I feel like for me this story has to be told. You can’t talk about OC without talking about origins. We got more boys in there than out here.
For those that don’t know, what is OC? OC is OUTCAST. The reason behind it all is because we didn’t want to go with the flow of what everyone else was doing in prison because there was a lot of politics especially amongst the Islander boys. A lot of politics.
When you get to a certain age you realise. At the time, when we were men. We’d all been locked up since we were 18. There were a lot of issues with Samoans, Tongans, Maori and Fijian boys. We were supposed to be together but it was never like that. Never. Yeah they could be in the same place at the same time but there's a lot of underlying issues with the older generation. And because of there problems, the younger boys were the ball runners that used to have to go fuckin’ out of duty.
We were there youngens. So we were like fuck that. We’re men. We’re not going to be subject to that old way of thinking. That’s too old school. Respect always to the older boys. We came up with something new. That’s why we don’t have no leader. We’re all boys. We’re all brothers. Equal brothers.
How did the boys respond to the track? I think honestly they’ll love it because especially a lot of Poly's and that they grew up listening to music and going to church. It's either music or you're a fucking footy player or you're gonna be some fucking labourer in a scaffolding company. For me, coming up that’s what I saw.
I grew up in Fairfield. Born and raised.
I feel like there’s too much gangster shit going on. Everyone wants to be a fuckin driller. I come out of jail and everyone's a driller. What the fuck is a driller? I guess it’s a way of life and all this stuff. Bro it’s upsetting to see a lot of people talking about it. But if you’ve done all that you would have been locked up by now. These cops aren’t dumb, you know what I mean? And first allegation, you won’t get no bail or nothing.
The laws are harsh here. Straight the fuck out. I can testify to that because I’ve been subjected to them. Don’t talk out of school. Just be yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. I rate the local barber down the road doing his thing. He’s not going out acting like something he’s not. He’s trying his best doing his thing.
What comes with that is the whole area thing. Because OC was about bringing our people together. And we were past that shit ages ago. So I come out and seen the whole area thing going to a whole new level. Fuckin’ oath represent where your from. You’re from that area, all day! Put it on the map. But for me, my people come first.
What is your background? I’m half-caste. I grew up with my Samoan side. My mother was white New Zealander. I have more sentiments toward my Samoan culture and people. I get upset when I see them putting their areas before their people. You’re going to die a Samoan, you’re not going to die whatever your area is.
I want to push this. You should want to be a soldier not a gangster. Soldiers go do 9-5s. Soldiers start a business and take those risks like that. A gangster, there’s only a couple of paths there. Jail, dead or some junkie lost somewhere.
There’s not much to it. Soldiers are like let's work together.
When I first got out, I didn’t realise how much people talked out of school. And sometimes it’s sad, because that’s their time to shine. I feel like that's basically snitching. That's dry snitching. You're gonna start talking about wars that's gone on and all this politics that's happened on the streets. Or that could be happening now and dropping names and shit. Like, why would you do that?
Masi Rooc was arrested in September 2020 and is currently incarcerated. His latest track is ‘Stick and Move’.