Deceptikonz were a hip-hop quartet formed in Manurewa, South Auckland, in 1998. Rather determinedly they spent three years sending mixtapes and demos to labels before finally signing with Dawn Raid Entertainment in 2001.
The lineup was Demetrius Savelio (stage name: Savage, rapper); David Puniani (Devolo, rapper); Daniel Maoate (Alphrisk, rapper) and Mark Sagapolutele (Mareko, rapper and beatmaker).
The band took their name from their hip-hop battle rhymes, based on the evil Decepticons from the Transformers entertainment franchise.
Deceptikonz made their debut in 2001 when their tracks 'Elimination' and 'Beware' were included in the Southside Story 2: International compilation album released via Dawn Raid Entertainment. That year they were nominated for best new group at the 95bFM Music Awards despite having not yet released a single.
In 2002 they released their debut album Elimination, which was produced by Mareko with assistance from John Chong Nee and P-Money. The record also featured vocal interlude skits from New York hip-hop artists such as U-God, Masta Killa, Fat Joe, Alchemist, Mobb Depp and Top Of Da South.
In 2006 they released a mixtape titled We Back MotherFuckers Vol 1 before dropping their second album Heavy Rotation. They followed this up in 2010 with their final album Evolution: Past, Present, Beyond after which they disbanded as a group and moving on to focus on solo projects. They played their final show on July 10th that year at The Studio in Karangahape Rd, Auckland.
"We've done pretty much what we can as a group ... Evolution for us is like us finally evolving full circle." Puniani told Stuff.co.nz.
One of their most successful collaborative ventures was when they teamed up on 'Stop, Drop and Roll', a single off Mareko’s debut solo album White Sunday.
While active as a group, the members of Deceptikonz all released solo albums. They releasing a series of singles alongside their records including 'Fallen Angels' (featuring P-Money), 'More Than Meets The Eye', 'Broken Home', 'U Want Beef' and 'Don't Front On Me'.
One of their most successful collaborative ventures was when they teamed up on 'Stop, Drop and Roll', a single off Mareko’s debut solo album White Sunday. The single was a massive hit, reaching No.6 on the New Zealand Singles Chart in November 2003, staying in the Top 40 for some four months.
While they were working together, they performed regularly across New Zealand and Australia, touring with, opening for, or playing alongside the likes of Bone Thugs N Harmony, A-Trak, Mr Short Khop and numerous other hip-hop artists from America, New Zealand and Australia.
In the studio, outside of Mareko, Chong Nee and P-Money, they collaborated with Emile, Majic Massey, Red Eye Society, Aaradhna, Monsta, David Dallas and R.E.S. During the later half of their collective career, the Deceptikonz were also part of the wider hip-hop grouping called The Horsemen Family.
Groove Guide, May 2004
Making Music - Deceptikonz (2005)
Deceptikonz on the cover of Back2Basics, July/August 2006.