In 2019, Church and AP will be New Zealand’s greatest rap export. Half an hour with the duo highlighted a wisdom and careful consideration well beyond their respective 18 and 19 years. They complement each other’s bars verse for verse, alongside their personalities and conversation too. Both boys have a lot to say, and with a double-sided EP and an album coming out this year, we are sure to hear it.

When "Alladat" dropped in February 2018, the local scene sat up and listened. The song racked up SoundCloud streams and was also the opener to their Thorough Bread EP, released in May. The nine tracks introduced the duo as self-aware, clever rappers sharing their values of being authentic, grounded, and focused.

Church & AP credit their day to day lives, including their parents and day ones, for shaping the humility and authenticity they’ve kept amid their success. “We stay at home, we live with our parents, chill with the same homies from school,” AP says.

A year on, they’re ready to apply their learnings and follow up Thorough Bread with their latest “creative passion project”, the no holds barred double-sided EP Cathedral/All Purpose.

“We don't hold our tongue as much on this one,” says Church. “With these EPs, it's about our life and whatever we do. Our day to day. You can't really filter that through anything if you want to keep that real, genuine quality to it.”

While Thorough Bread is still fresh to a lot of their fans, it feels like a lifetime ago to the duo. “That was all written over a year ago, and a lot changes in a year,” says AP. “I can’t relate to that tape any more,” Church adds. “I still appreciate it, but that’s stuff I’m not thinking about anymore.”

That “stuff” is the messages heard in songs like "Call It Clout" or "Stakes", covering the false sense of culture and ego that motivates social climbers. Similarly, "Tall Poppy Syndrome" speaks on the people who can’t be happy for them, which is one of the few messages on Thorough Bread they still relate to. “We were very cautious and particular on the messages we wanted on Thorough Bread,” says Church. “Like 'Tall Poppy Syndrome', that's something we wanted to speak up on.”

“Don’t ever read the YouTube comments,” he adds. “This little kid is like ‘3:49 thank me later.’ 3:49 is when the song ends.”

In the real world, Church & AP caught the attention of David Dallas early on, with Church getting a Twitter DM in April asking him to be on 64 Bars.

“That moment was the first kind of appreciation that me and AP had from people that were way higher to us. It’s Red Bull - that’s a company, company. Tt’s David Dallas; commercially the most successful rapper in the past ten years.” He immediately texted his Dad, and let him know he’d need to be excused from school for an afternoon to record.

When asked for their top 64 bars, both boys state “Dirty!” without hesitation, before AP adds “Abdul, Diggy Dupe, Rizván – all the teammates.”

Church didn’t think he’d lived up to those predecessors after recording, but the video firmly cemented him in the 64 Bars legacy. “I didn’t like the verse originally, but I think I was just self-deprecating. When we passed the amount of views Dirty had, I was like 'nah, that’s stupid!'"

 

After the EP dropped in May, Dallas had further praise for the duo. “He listened to the whole of Thorough Bread,” AP says. “We saw him on the street and he said ‘yo, people are sleeping on AP – you got some of the best bars in the game.'” Church proudly adds.

The boys’ list of 2018 accomplishments and cosigns grew fast, and "Ready or Not" was the year’s final highlight, marking their arrival into the mainstream. The unforgettable “we stay ready” permeated NZ in a way nobody could’ve predicted.