Drapht (born Paul Ridge) is a solo hip-hop Emcee from Perth, Western Australia. His father, Gary Ridge, a jazz drummer, introduced Drapht to music at a very young age. Paul had his first taste of hip hop at the age of eight. The name Drapht is based on a Swan Brewery beer, Swan Draught, which was displayed on a watch that his father brought home when he was 13 or 14.
Drapht attended Perth Modern School in Subiaco but was not involved in the school's music program. At school, he became friends with Damien Allia (aka DJ Armee) who introduced him to hip hop via gigs at the Hyde Park Hotel.
Drapht became a vital part of Perth's hip hop crew Syllabolix at the age of 17.
"I was real lucky. I hung around all the SBX members before I even started rapping. I was right in the middle of it all, I had access to the fucking dopest producer at the time Dazastah, freestyle sessions at Hunter's, and constant schooling from the whole crew. So, it was hard for me not to learn quick and be involved with it all." - Drapht
This involvement resulted in his first contributions being recorded and included on the Done DL album in 2000, only months after he had started seriously writing.
Drapht's first track, "Misunderstood", which sampled Nina Simone's 1964 song, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", was released as part of the Culture of Kings - Volume 3 released in 2003.
"I know a lot of people were big fans of that song, but I never put it in my live show 'cause it's a downtempo sort of beat. It was just a track I wrote in a span of a few days, and it was just lying around. So, I put it on Culture of Kings. Luckily enough, it was the intro song for the album. It has definitely helped to carry my career on." - Drapht (2008)
His debut album, Pale Rider, was released in October 2003, with all production handled by Dazastah (Downsyde), Fdel, and Drapht. Special appearances on the album include: Fdel (Invada Records), Downsyde, MC Layla, Hunter, Selekt, Carlsani, and Porsah Lane.
"With my first album, I just kinda got into it because I was hanging around the guys from Downsyde and Syllabolix. Essentially, I got into it just because I loved how Daz [Dazastah] tackled his writing style and his punch-lines. Aggression was the one thing I wanted to get rid of, which is why it came out more aggressive than any album I've done since. Being a teenager you seem to be more this way. Then, you [hopefully] let it all go." - Drapht (2008)
The follow-up, 2005's Who Am I, was also produced by Dazastah (Downsyde), Fdel, and Drapht. The songs touch on topics including politics, sex, and addiction to drunken antics. Guest appearances on the album include Pressure (Hilltop Hoods), Downsyde, Layla, Pegz (Obese Records), Clandestien, MJ (Funkola), and Hunter. It was released by Obese Records in both in a CD and a limited 2 LP vinyl format. Two tracks from the album, "Drink Drank Drunk" and "The Music", received airplay on Triple J, mostly on the Super Request program. Who Am I is more of an introspective album.
"I tried to focus more on my flow and the structure of the tracks but at the end I wasn't really happy with the subject matter of the songs." - Drapht (2008)
Drapht has opened for acts such as; Hilltop Hoods, Dilated Peoples, Downsyde, Koolism, Apathy, Rodney P & Skitz, Mystro, Killa Kela, and Resin Dogs.
The song "The Music" was selected by Triple J as a featured track for Ausmusic month in 2005. Drapht released a music video for "The Music", which was shown on Rage. He also performed a guest verse on the Hilltop Hoods album The Hard Road on the track "The Blue Blooded".
Drapht was nominated in the Best Urban/Hip Hop Act category at the 2007 West Australian Music Industry Awards. At the age of twenty-five, Drapht decided to pursue music full-time, leaving his other career as a roof carpenter.
Drapht's third album, Brothers Grimm, was released 10 May 2008, with the first song from the album, "Jimmy Recard", receiving significant airplay on Triple J, where it became the second most played song on the station in 2008.
"With Brothers Grimm, I tried to tackle subject matter more, and tried to make every single word more clear - not so intense. I wanted it to be more personal and truthful with what I stand for and have gone through in life, and the response has been really good." - Drapht (2008)
The album debuted at No. 64 on the ARIA Album charts, reached No. 9 on the V Energy AIR (Association of Independent Record Labels) Charts and No. 10 on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Top 40 Urban Album charts.
Drapht appeared for the first time in a Triple J Hottest 100 with two entries in the 2008 countdown; "Jimmy Recard" at number 10 and "Falling" at number 77.
In October 2008, Drapht was nominated for the 'Best New Australian Independent Artist' award by the 2008 AIR Awards.
In March 2009, Drapht undertook a national tour of Australia with fellow Western Australians, Downsyde with a number of the eastern states performances being supported by Pez. Drapht also made appearances at Homebake, Pyramid Rock Festival, Southbound, Open Arms, and MS Fest.
"Jimmy Recard" was nominated for 'Most Popular Single/EP' at the 2009 West Australian Music Industry Awards and Drapht as 'Best Urban/Hip Hop Act', which he subsequently won.
In an interview with The Vine in November 2010, Drapht advised that he had not renewed his contract with Obese Records and that he will be releasing his forthcoming album The Life of Riley independently. The first song released from the album is "Rapunzel", for which he describes the love hate relationship that is Rapunzel- a subject that I had that was extremely close to my heart, so naturally the song itself was one of the easiest to write, but one of the hardest to nail in the recording process. Has to be one of my favourites to date, has made me fall in love with her all over again!
"Rapunzel" reached number 12 on Triple J's Hottest 100 for 2010, #2 on the AIR charts, and peaked at #16 on the ARIA singles chart in February 2011, the highest charting single for Drapht to date. The single was also accredited an ARIA platinum certification.
The Life of Riley was released 1 April 2011 and was the first release on Drapht’s own label The Ayems, which is distributed through Sony Music. The album debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart and was the first Australian artist to do so in 2011. The second track to be taken from the album was "Sing It (The Life of Riley)".