One of the all-time talented West Coast lyricists Ras Kass has teamed up with Australian rappers Alerts and Simplex on the new single “The Vortex” filmed across Los Angles and Brisbane in Australia’s northeast. The near 4-minute single has long been in the works and delayed by COVID-19 travel restrictions, with film production companies No.One Network and Revolving Productions seamlessly overcoming the physical distance barriers to provide a quality product of the highest order befitting of the lyrical content – watch below.
The new single finishes off in some respects Ras Kass’s recent debut tour of Australia’s East Coast in which he was supported nationally by rising Australian rapper Alerts prior to the global pandemic that has meant all major international tours are on hold for now. This first natural collaboration between these three extends itself to potentially not being the last time we see them together on a track carrying on with that classic boom-bap flavor that has gone well and truly international. A new and exciting chapter for the legendary Ras Kass, proving his influence as one of hip hop’s greats knows no real boundaries. “The Vortex” is out now.
With another year come and gone full of great releases, we take a quick look back at the year for hip-hop down under in Australia. It proved to be an exceptionally strong one and perhaps the year that hip hop from Australia truly broke out to significant mainstream recognition internationally. Below are ten of the biggest film clips from ten artists who left their mark on hip hop from Australia in 2019.
Hip-hop’s definitely reach around the world and back in the last four decades, birthing variations bound by culture. For South African-born, Australian-raised artist Bmike, studying the greats of the 90s and early 00s gave him the blueprint and the hustle to build a loyal fanbase.
After 13 million views on YouTube for his latest single “Anxiety,” Bmike has found himself thriving in a fanbase without the press and returning with his latest single, “No Fakes,” alongside Dax.
Born and raised in South Africa, reared by Australia and flexing his skills to American audiences. Bmike is displaying what has taken him across the world several times and partnered him with all audiences. His work has displayed storytelling, an understanding of culture, and being able to tap into the world while representing Black Heart Gang. Black Heart Gang is a theme that his music fits into while doubling as a platform for other artists.
Mike grew up in South Africa and studied The Source, using it as a blueprint for his own releases. His latest is “No Fakes,” detailing that he can do it on his own, without a machine and being the point guard of his own situation. The release partners him with Dax, providing a cinematic experience you can experience from a Netflix production.
You can see the video for the Tunna Beatz produced track below.
Legendary Hip-Hop trio Digable Planets make their way down to Australia and New Zealand for the very time next month for a string of highly anticipated shows.
Consisting of Butter Fly, Ladybug Mecca, and Doodlebug, Digable Planets are of course most notable for the two classic albums they released in the 90s – the successful crossover debut Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) in early 1993 on Pendulum/Elektra Records and Blowout Comb in late 1994. Their heavily jazz inspired debut album was initially self-produced in-house by Butter Fly clocking in just shy of an hour. It featured no guest appearances and their debut single “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” released in late 1992 would go on to win a Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Both the album and lead single charted well internationally, and both went Gold in America. The group went on a hiatus the year after, with all going on to work on various projects individually.
Digable Planets followed up their successful debut with the critically acclaimed yet ultimately not as commercially successful “Blowout Comb”. The release featured notable appearances from the late Guru of Gang Starr, Jeru The Damaja and DJ Jazzy Joyce amongst significant original music credits. While the album both the singles from the album “9th Wonder (Blackitolism)” and “Dial 7 (Axioms of Creamy Spies)” failed to attract widespread mainstream success at the time, the release has go on to be a widely considered classic and seminal mid-90s album which captured a certain vibe of Brooklyn at the time.
The group reformed in 2005 and released the compilation album Beyond the Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles, a remastered best-of album largely with the notable addition of two new tracks and remixes. Creative differences led to a break in late 2012 for the group, before again reforming in 2015 and embarking on a series of tours and releasing a live album in 2017. Now 25 years since the release of Blowout Comb, Australian and New Zealand fans have the opportunity to witness the Digable Planets experience live and direct with a full band as they take in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland just before Christmas.
Let’s Get Free is the now-classic debut studio album by NYC hip-hop duo, dead prez consisting of stic.man and M-1 that was released on Loud Records on March 14, 2000, after an extended rollout. Critically and commercially acclaimed upon its release, Let’s Get Free was widely called a return to politically conscious rap not seen on the level since Public Enemy’s string of classic albums in the late 80s and early 90s. The album featured not only substantial self-production but also significant production credits to Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian, Hedrush and a young pre-Roc-A-Fella Records Kanye West amongst a string of memorable socially conscious political vocal samples from the likes of Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Huey P. Newton amongst others.
Navigating the theoretical space commonly referenced as somewhere between N.W.A. and P.E., dead prez’s breakthrough song was their second single “Hip Hop” off this debut album released a year earlier in March 1999. Their mixture of conscious lyrics with an infectious hook resulted in a bonafide hip-hop classic that helped this single crack the Top 50 and the album peaking at Number 23. Mixing militant pan-African Nationalism, commentary on music’s over-commercialization with socialist narratives offered through a technically very well-delivered manner proved to be a recipe that people worldwide could appreciate. Their passion and knowledge of social issues mixed in a sonically pleasing manner is no mean feat to do and has led them to have such a lasting legacy today.
Being toured down under by Australia’s all-time pre-eminent hip hop promoter in Slingshot Touring & Events in conjunction with Century Entertainment, Australian fans can expect legendary dead prez shows live and direct to celebrate 20 years since the release of their iconic debut album. Announced all ready to play the Metro Theatre in Sydney venue with local talents Lil Spacely and Genesis Owusu, dead prez continues to build their legacy internationally to a diverse and generational fanbase. They continue to show and prove why it’s bigger than hip-hop.
For the previous ten years, THE AUSSIE BBQ event has been bringing the cream of new Australian music to new international and American audiences, with this year’s free marque showcase event to be held at SummerStage in NYC for the very first time. Among the acts this year include the Zimbabwean-born Tkay Maidza (worked with Killer Mike of Run The Jewels, Duckwrth, French super-producer Martin Solveig), rap duo A. B. Original (first US show) as well as production duo Hermitude and will be the first time this signature event is held in NYC since 2015.
The electric Tkay Maidza was born in Zimbabwe before moving to Australia with her family when she was 5-years- old. Living throughout Western Australian and South Australia before settling in Adelaide, she graduated from high school two years early at 16 and like a young Ice Cube, studied architecture at university before concentrating full-time on music.
Tkay Maidza story is an intriguing one and one that demonstrates just how much she has achieved already and most certainly has a very bright future ahead of her. She recently scored a BET Awards nomination for Best New International Act, catapulting the 23-year-old further onto the world stage and capping off an impressive and rapid rise over the last couple of years. Tkay was the second Australian to be nominated for a BET award after Iggy Azalea, and received a hearty glowing endorsement from a then stranger in Killer Mike last year during a lecture at MIT, in reference to Tkay being the female rapper that Americans should know about instead of Iggy.
A. B. Original sound has been described as rough and tough around the edges, deliberately brash and aggressive somewhat in the spirit of N.W.A. and Westside Connection, providing a much needed honest account of race relations in Australia today as well as delving into Australia’s dark colonial past through a traditional sound away from the fashion of today. The ironic title of the album, Reclaim Australia, strikes a strong accord locally in Australia as there is a small, misinformed group protesting immigration to Australia also called Reclaim Australia (a group fearful that “their” country is being taken away from them which is satirical, to say the least when understanding British colonialization history of Indigenous Australia).
A.B. Original provide a very much needed refreshing, traditional hip hop sound in Australia that has largely been missing from recent years within a more commercially geared hip hop market of today. Their live show with DJ Total Eclipse of The X-Ecutioners has taken the all-around package to another level nationwide.
Head on down to Central Park this Saturday to catch a glimpse of what hip hop from Australia has to offer from 2 pm.
Seventeen-year-old rapper Lil Mosey has announced a tour of Australia and New Zealand to finish off his extensive Northsbest World Tour, which will continue to spread across America before venturing back to Canada and then off to Europe.
It represents a whirlwind nine months since his major breakthrough of his single “Noticed” directed by Cole Bennet on Lyrical Lemonade. Lil Mosey made his initial breakthrough in November 2016 in his home town of Seattle as a then 14-year old and releasing his first music to significant success via Soundcloud and YouTube, quickly amassing tens of millions of plays.
He has since released his debut 11-track studio album “Northsbest” last October on Interscope Records featuring Memphis’s BlocBoy JB and features the hit singles “Noticed” and “Yoppa” – both produced by Royce David. The album which charted strongly in America as well as widely throughout Europe acted as a follow up to his 2017 mixtape NorthsBest. Lil Mosey has toured with the likes of Smooky MarGielaa, Lil Tjay, Juice Wrld, YBN Cordae and Smokepurpp as well as the festival circuit.
Founder of the YBN collective YBN Nahmir makes his way down to Australia and New Zealand next month for the very first time to play a string of headline shows after a whirlwind 18 months. Performing across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and then Auckland represents another major international move for the still teenage superstar from Alabama who has already managed two Platinum-selling singles, as well as a Top 20 charting mixtape with fellow YBN core members YBN Almighty Jay and YBN Cordae.
Influenced by West Coast legends including E-40, Eazy-E, Tupac, and Bone Thugs N Harmony, YBN Nahmir come up was unique in that he largely developed the early stages of his music career through online video games and social media. Currently signed to Atlantic Records, YBN Nahmir has since collaborated with the likes of Yo Gotti, G-Eazy, Wiz Khalifa, G Herbo, Blac Youngsta, Wifisfuneral, Chris Brown, Gucci Mane, Machine Gun Kelly and Cuban Doll amongst many others.
Currently, on tour with the infamous Bhad Bhabie throughout America before heading down for his Australasian tour, YBN Nahmir then turns back home to America and has a Canadian tour already scheduled for later this year. Eager to prove he is more than just a one or two hit wonder.
Award-winning, Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott has announced that his Astroworld: Wish You Were Here tour will make its way down to Australia in November for five shows across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with Interscope Records labelmate Sheck Wes and Virgil Abloh.
It has been a standout previous year for Travis Scott, earning his first Hot 100 number one single in one of the anthems of late 2018 in “Sicko Mode” featuring Drake as well as his 17-track Astroworld album also going number 1 in a dozen countries and top four in a further dozen. The hour-long release went platinum or better in numerous countries, performing particularly well in Australia and New Zealand in addition to America, Canada, and the UK. Australian fans don’t miss out on one of the biggest shows from one of hip hop true current superstar – watch below to see what you can expect live.
Internet sensation Yung Gravy is set to make bring the Gravy Train Down Under for its maiden voyage this April. Splash!
Following on from multiple sell-out tours across North America, millions of streams, topping the Indify chart, collaborating with DRAM, UGLY GOD and LIL BABY, and acquiring a loyal following of Gravy faithful, Yung Gravy aka “Lil Steamer” aka “Mr. Butter” aka “The Young Steve Harvey” is set to hit Australia and New Zealand playing a string of clubs for what will be an up close and personal affair with Gravy himself.
The artist behind the viral songs ‘Karen’, ‘Mr. Clean’, ‘1 Thot 2 Thot Red Thot Blue Thot’ and so many more will be arriving on Australian shores this April, fresh from wrapping up his biggest North American tour yet. 2018 saw Yung Gravy release his highly-anticipated Snow Cougar record which went onto to amass millions of streams and thousands of downloads, showing that the man can really rap with some hilarious lines floating over smooth production, deep bass lines and jazzy flourishes.
Shaping up to be some unforgettable shows, Yung Gravy delivers an unpredictable and wild show that he’s spent the last three years finessing. Proving to be an unstoppable force, the Gravy Train is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down any time soon, with Australia and New Zealand about to be all aboard. Find tickets here.