Kiwi hip-hop stars home for TV gig

22:56, Jun 22 2014
Southland Times photo
COLD PERFORMANCE: Members of the Australian hip-hop band Justice Crew, Solo Tohi,left, John Len Ruela Pearce, his twin brother Len John, and Samson Cosray Smith, perform at Coronet Peak during filming of the Australian breakfast televison show Sunrise.

They might be famous across the ditch but when the Kiwi members of hip-hop band Justice Crew return home, their friends keep them honest.

''A while ago, when I came back to New Zealand, my friends met me when I landed and were like 'Don't think you're in Australia now. You're not famous around here','' Solo Tohi today. However, that could be set to change for the Wellingtonian and former Aucklander Samson Cosray Smith.

As two members of the six-strong Justice Crew, they are conquering the Australian charts with their latest single Que Sera. It debuted at No 1 and six weeks later still sits in the top spot.

The group first hit the headlines when the members won Australia's Got Talent in 2010 with their dance performance.

They subsequently signed a record deal with Sony Music Australia and have since released several top 10 hits, with Que Sera their second No 1. They have toured with international artists including Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, One Direction, Kesha and Pitbull.

Three weeks travelling across the United States with Pitbull was probably the most crazy experience they had had since shooting to fame, the New Zealanders said.


''We pretty much saw the whole of America on a bus. There was partying every night,'' Smith said.

''Then after the party you sleep on the bus, wake up and do it again,'' Tohi finished.

A flying visit to perform this morning on Coronet Peak, in Queenstown, as part of the Australian television breakfast show Sunrise  was their first taste of performing on home turf, and their first time to Queenstown.

''My hands are still shaking from the cold,'' Tohi said after the performance.

Smith said he hoped to have a go on skis before catching their flight in the afternoon. ''That would be awesome. The scenery here is crazy.''

Tohi said they had been on the Shotover Jet the previous day.

''Man, New Zealand is so beautiful. That is one of the things I really miss. Queenstown shows the real beauty,'' he said.

With talk of a New Zealand tour in the wind and a few more promotional performances planned they were hoping to be establishing themselves as professionals in their home country soon.

The Southland Times