Philippe de Maupeou and Jayden Hawks make up the hip-hop duo Phiscari and JJ Hawks. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Beethoven meets Biggie in new Nelson rap duo


An unlikely mix of classical and rap has helped shape Nelson’s newest music duo.

Jayden Hawks and Philippe de Maupeou have very contrasting musical backgrounds – Jayden growing up in Auckland listening to hip-hop while Philippe was born in France where he played the violin and piano.

Their style of Beethoven meets Biggie has proven popular with their growing fanbase.

The pair, known as Phiscari and JJ Hawks, released their first single “Traded” back in February and have just followed it up with their latest track “Lavish Life”.

The song features a verse where Jayden, aka JJ Hawks, raps exclusively in French.

“We both like the French culture, he’s dragged me into it a bit, but I really appreciate it. So, we wrote some French lyrics to make it more multi-cultural.”

The song was released to YouTube, iTunes and Spotify to a positive reception.
“We haven’t heard anything negative.”

The group formed at the beginning of the year at Nelson College.

“I have always enjoyed doing rapping and when Philippe offered me to rap over one of his tracks, it was a great opportunity.”

Jayden says he has always been a big fan of Philippe’s work. “I haven’t heard a bad beat from him.”

Philippe says they draw inspiration from modern day culture, blended with history for their lyrics, but they steer away from explicit language.

“We are into hip hop but don’t cuss, we like to have fun with lyrics, using humour.”

The teenagers say they hope to play some local gigs in the near future with the dream of one day performing at one of New Zealand’s top festivals such as Rhythm and Vines.

‘Phiscari’ says if he could work with any artist he would opt for Nelson-based multi-instrumentalist rapper ‘Hoody Time’.

To listen to their latest hit Lavish Life, go to