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.
Cardi B is set to take off to Australia and New Zealand for the first time for a string of festival shows on either side of New Year’s Eve. With the Migos recently canceling their related Australian festival tour appearances earlier this month, Cardi B now herself headlines the Origin Fields out west in Perth, Australia with Denzel Curry, Smokepurpp, AJ Tracey and Khalid also on the bill. Cardi then heads to Sydney for her sold-out New Year’s Day Festival headline, continuing her whirlwind tour.
Cardi B then heads down to New Zealand for the very first time to headline the both 20,000+ sold-out North and South Bay Dreams festival shows the very next day – proving New Zealand has a very strong appetite for large hip hop festivals.
Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd are set to headline the massive 7-date FOMO Festival Tour which takes in all major capital cities across Australia and New Zealand by BBE early in the new year. Leading an all-star lineup including also Amine (replacing Lil Pump) and Mura Masa, FOMO is the first major summer festival of 2019 in Australia and promises to draw in massive festival crowds throughout with some shows already sold out. With further sideshows announced, major Hip-Hop festivals seem to be back in action down in Australia to stay after a couple of years in more recent times of relative absence.
This year’s FOMO festival builds off the back of a wildly successful festival run for FOMO previously, aided by a stellar line up of SZA, Post Malone, RL Grime, Kaytranada and Zhu amongst others back in early 2018. Their 2017 bill included Desiigner, Metro Boomin, GoldLink, Flosstradamus, JME (UK) while their first festival bill in 2016 had Skepta (UK), RL Grime, Boys Noize, Jamie xx and the award-winning Australian rapper Tkay Maidza taking to the stage. With both Nicki and Rae Sremmurd making their way to Australia this time, 2019 promises to be the biggest one yet.
Few names if any hold the legacy in Australia for the stamp of quality that Unkut Recordings does. Since its founding in 1997 by Rob Nat of Unkut.com and Trem of Lyrical Commission, it has developed into the epitome of its tagline – quality over quantity. While the broad fan base may at times be hanging for a new Unkut release, once it is delivered it has always proven to be raw dope. Held with the utmost respect by all, somewhat your favorite rappers most respected label, it has been responsible for not only arguably the greatest group album release ever but also several classic solo releases that are timeless classics.
The Unkut Recordings story was born out of Rob Nat’s fledgling Unkut Productions in 1996 and became formalized the year after in the lead up to the debut Sheer Talent EP from Trem. The excellent 4-track 12” release was followed up with the year after in 1999 with Trem’s Amateurs and served to cement both Trem’s and Unkut’s position as in a then still-developing Hip-Hop landscape in Australia at the time.
The following year saw Rob Nat release A Night On The Tiles, proving to be his most substantial solo release and now a highly sort after classic nationally. The label’s close working relationship to Melbourne’s legendary Nuffsaid Recordings provided them with a quality stamp of approval even before the music was played at a time when relationships were about quality control over industry favors. Coupled with significant notable features, live shows, radio appearances, crushing open mics and the sorts, Unkut forged their own path when there really was none and created their own brand.
A couple of years hiatus until the next release resulted in December 2002’s The Stage Is Set by Lyrical Commission. A super-group of sorts, the new group saw the bringing together of Melbourne’s two leading solo emcees in Brad Strut and Trem with Bob Balans (of The Formulators duo previously with Rob Nat) plus arguably Australia’s greatest ever hip-hop DJ in DJ J-Red. The result of these four coming together was what many consider as the greatest hip hop album ever to be released from Australia.
Going from strength to strength, Unkut put out Terntable Jediz classic August 2004 album All Out War before following up the next year with Lyrical Commission’s highly anticipated next chapter with their “Murderous Metaphors” 2005 EP. This release was internationally notable for containing features from Brooklyn’s Q-Unique (of The Arsonists) and Celph Titled of The Demigodz, along with the overall quality again proving to be much more than a good release hip hop from Australia, but of such quality as a great Hip-Hop release full stop. This would in retrospect prove to be a key feature of the Unkut story, that they were bringing Hip-Hop in all its aspects to the fullest quality that could hang on any stage worldwide.
The next release would be Brad Strut’s long-awaited sophomore LP Legend: Official that dropped in June 2007. The first track for this classic solo release was the three-minute heater diss-track “Monopoly” produced by Prowla and aimed largely at Obese Records, widely regarded as the best diss track from Australia Ala Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline.”
This 16-track release from Strut was a classic from start to finish, featuring Philadelphia’s Outerspace and Brooklyn’s late and great Sean Price (RIP) of Boot Camp Clik / Random Axe and a wealth of the usual Unkut suspects. Following the reissue release of Strut’s classic 2001 debut album The Authentic LP, Brad Strut released the substantial double-disc The Fallout Shelter EP, which featured a Remix disc from a somewhat who’s who of Australian producers.
Following this, all eyes turned to the most highly anticipated Hip-Hop release in Australia ever in Trem’s debut full solo album in 2011’s For The Term Of His Natural Life and it even exceeded the lofty expectations surrounding it by all. The 18-track release is the solo release of the last decade from Australia and featured DJ Revolution, long-time collaborator Q-Unique and a who’s who of Hip-Hop legends from Australia. The award-winning accompanying visuals completed the entire roll-out, with the video filmography team of FULL CLIP showcasing why they are widely considered as the best in the business down under.
Following a string of monumental releases in a rapidly changing musical landscape, Unkut Recordings seemingly took a bit of a break until the signing of Brisbane group Kings Konekted. K-Double proceeded to drop the Hip-Hop album of the year in 2015 in their debut LP on Unkut Recordings in Value Of Adaption. Superbly crafted from start to finish, the release was arguably the most polished product to have been released from Australasia since Trem’s 2011 debut solo album.
Fans of Unkut Recordings can look forward to new releases coming from the Kings Konekted camp, L-Flows and possibly more in the short-term. The wait is always worth it, so get familiar with Unkut Recordings extensive back catalog in the meantime to hear some of the best music Australia has offered over the last two decades. Quality over Quantity.
Legendary Australian record label based out of inner Brisbane, Queensland Hydrofunk Records turns 21 this year and coincides with a string of new releases from various artists on their impressive roster – including the highly anticipated upcoming album from Resin Dogs titled ‘Notorious D.O.G.’. Before forming as a record label, the Hydrofunk name was prominent […]
Legendary Australian record label based out of inner Brisbane, Queensland Hydrofunk Records turns 21 this year and coincides with a string of new releases from various artists on their impressive roster – including the highly anticipated upcoming album from Resin Dogs titled ‘Notorious D.O.G.’.
Before forming as a record label, the Hydrofunk name was prominent in putting on a series of Hip-Hop events around Brisbane and it is here where DJ Katch and Dave Atkins met initially in the mid-90’s. They would go on to solidify their working relationship that would eventually develop into one of Australia’s most iconic and important Hip-Hop record labels to date in Hydrofunk and hugely influential Hip-Hop funk-infused band in Resin Dogs.
Formed in 1997 as a record label, Hydrofunk first released Blunted Stylus’s self-titled LP before dropping in 1998 Resin Dogs’ From The Volkanic Lab and Grinnin’ Eps, with the latter garnering significant radio play nationally. This relatively early success helped the label lock in a major distribution deal the following year with Virgin/EMI, something incredibly significant for the time for the quietly emerging local Hip-Hop landscape in Australia.
In 2002, Hydrofunk Records licensed its first overseas label in London’s influential underground Hip-Hop label Low Life Records. Low Life Records boasted artists including Braintax (label owner) Jehst, Task Force, Skinnyman, Verb T, Harry Love, Mystro, Dubbledge, Asaviour, Micall Parknsun and Rodney P (London Posse) – with many of these artists having or subsequently developing significant musical relationships with Australia. In 2007, Hydrofunk created a new label in Hydropunk Records. The first release on this new label was from Brisbane 4-piece metalcore band Godnose. Two years later Dave Atkins would join multi-platinum selling rock band Wolfmother on drums and toured the world as both their and Azealia Banks’ drummer, highlighting his talented diversity in music. Hyrdofunk has also recently expanded into Japan, showcasing their vibrant sound to an even further audience.
At the forefront of Hydrofunk Records, the multiple award-winning group Resin Dogs since 1996 have themselves sold 10,000’s of albums, toured the world, had their music featured in a major video game and collaborated or toured nationally with the likes of Black Eyed Peas, The Pharcyde, Aceyalone and Mikah 9 from Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude, The Nextmen, Kenny Dope and the Jungle Brothers amongst many others. Having released four albums and eight EPs to date as the Resin Dogs alone, the prolific members would go on to numerous and varied other musical endeavors.
While the Hydrofunk Records name is synonymous in its association with Resin Dogs, offshoots 2 Dogs and Blunted Stylus, it has proved to be much more than a one-trick dog. It has served as a platform to release classic material from Australian Hip-Hop groups including Downsyde, Koolism, Sydney legend’s Def Wish Cast and most recently Pegz & Silent Titan.
In recent years the release output has increased, with notable impressive releases from Calski, Benjamin Walsh, Uhnellys, Tigermoth, and Indigenoise. With recent news breaking of a brand new Resin Dogs album being announced titled Notorious D.O.G dropping shortly featuring Mantra, Plutonic Lab, Essa, Hau, Dialectrix, SiFixion, Abstract Rude and more, now is as good as time as any to get familiar with Hydrofunk Records if you have not been fortunate enough to come across the sound makers from Australia. History continues to be written by them as they appear to be now embracing the next generation of talented musicians, giving hope that the tried, tested and trusted Hydrofunk name will remain for years to come as a quality stamp of approval. They may have come a long way since their graffiti and breakin’ days, buy Hydrofunk Records have retained a name synonymous with quality and anything released internationally with their stamp on it is something to check.
Far from an overnight success that he may appear to the casual fan, ChillinIt has been patiently developing and honing his craft for many years into one of the most exciting rappers to emerge out of Australia. Getting somewhat of a breakthrough via the influential Hustle Hard TV YouTube some six years ago, the talented […]
Far from an overnight success that he may appear to the casual fan, ChillinIt has been patiently developing and honing his craft for many years into one of the most exciting rappers to emerge out of Australia. Getting somewhat of a breakthrough via the influential Hustle Hard TV YouTube some six years ago, the talented and versatile Sydney rapper has recently released his excellent debut album “Women, Weed & Wordplay” to widespread critical acclaim and success. With an impressive independent 1.5 million-plus streams with no playlist help or distribution deal in the first week alone, the proof is in the numbers for the versatile wordsmith with the album charting at #1.
Along with contemporaries Wombat, Nerve, Talakai, Shadow, Huskii, Lil Sknow, Mitchos Da Menace, Triple One, TRYL and Skrub, ChillinIt has led the charge for the new generation of skilled emcees to emerge from down under – aided by the excellent work that the affiliated Body Bag Media platform has been able to develop. Building on the style of the independent foundation created by the likes of Kerser, Fraksha, Fortay, and Alex Jones before him, ChillinIt has certainly emerged in the last year or two with a legion of fans and a strong potential to take his refreshing sound truly global. His music has already organically linked him to the UK, scoring a spot on JDZ Media and a collaboration with English grime emcee Kamakaze.
The charismatic ChillinIt oozes star factor and has cultivated a family of fans known as the #420Fam. It is easy to see why he has developed such a rabid following in the recent years, with skills and authenticity on the microphone only matched by his energetic live shows that have many saying are some of the best in the country. There’s no rapping off phones, there’s no stumbling and fumbling his way through live shows just near complete hungry, raw, professionalism. Amassing tens of millions streams/views in the last year or so alone, ChillinIt definitely has the potential to be one of the first rappers from Australia to truly break through to the contemporary American market and has already sparked significant major record label interest. The hungry rapper is keen to showcase his many different styles with lyrical content to match almost any mood.
If reaction videos were a gauge of his potential overseas, he may eventually prove to be as fire globally as he is at home. With a strong, consistent work ethic already in the young talented artist, it will be an interesting few coming months to see how ChillinIt is able to negotiate his increasingly new levels of success which only seems to develop by the hour. A truly talented rapper at the core, Australia is proud that such an artist is leading the charge and expect him to level up again soon. Expect to see him on further major Australasian tour support and festival slots by his own accord soon – before taking the world by storm.
Check his debut album “Women, Weed & Wordplay” streaming now and catch up on his extensive back catalog before it’s a Chill takeover. #420Family
The five nominees for Australia’s industry voted annual Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards have been announced for “Best Urban Release.” Familiar hip-hop faces in Hilltop Hoods, Esoterik of Bliss N Eso and 360 all received nominations, as did R&B/Soul singer Mojo Juju. Somewhat surprisingly, independent Sydney rapper Kerser was not overlooked this year and […]
The five nominees for Australia’s industry voted annual Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards have been announced for “Best Urban Release.” Familiar hip-hop faces in Hilltop Hoods, Esoterik of Bliss N Eso and 360 all received nominations, as did R&B/Soul singer Mojo Juju. Somewhat surprisingly, independent Sydney rapper Kerser was not overlooked this year and finally received a much-deserved nomination after many years of being unfairly ignored.
Australia’s undisputable independent king of hip-hop in Campbelltown-bred rapper Kerser has finally been recognized by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and nominated for Best Urban Release for his seventh solo studio album “Engraved In The Game” that dropped last November. Despite his previous six albums all charting, selling well and providing a self-made platform to tour the country independently all made off his own back, an ARIA nomination had alluded him until now somehow. Kerser has proven to be one of the most influential music artists of any genre in Australia over the last decade, coming from local rap battles to selling out his own major tours like no one before him has and inspiring a new generation to rap.
With a change in requirements and name of what can be nominated this year, we see the ARIA award for this category changing from “Best Urban Album” as it has been since 2010 to “Best Urban Release” as it previously was from 2004 – 2009. This change in rules allows two releases to be in the running for consideration this year that would not have otherwise been possible. Those include the 8/9-track “My Astral Plane” E.P. by Esoterik (of Bliss N Eso) and Hilltop Hoods’ excellent single release featuring Adrian Eagle “Clark Griswold”.
The five nominees for this year’s Best Urban Release award are;
– 360’s “Vintage Modern” album on Forthwrite / EMI Australia (Album)
A comeback album of sorts, 360’s 17-track album featuring Pez, Seth Sentry, I.E., Travy P and Hein Cooper was released late last October. It is his fourth solo studio album since his debut album “What You See Is What You Get” was released in March 2008 on Soulmate Records. It was not until late-2010 that his career really started to significantly develop commercially, with the release of the single “Just Got Started” featuring Pez going Gold as well as charting at #59. A number of Platinum-selling singles followed, as well as two ARIA-nominated albums in “Falling & Flying” (2012) and “Utopia” (2014). 360 was relatively quiet on the music front since late-2014 until he came back with a bang in mid-2017. A solid and widely well-received album, 360 is a strong contender to potentially take out the ARIA award this year along with Kerser.
A single-track release from the kings of hip-hop from Australasia in the Hilltop Hoods was enough to earn them a nomination this year. This is their sixth nomination (having won with each of the previous five ARIA nominations in this category) and their first non-album nomination since taking out Best Urban Release in 2006 for their “The Hard Road” Album. They followed it up with wins with “The Hard Road: Restrung” (2007), “State of the Art” (2009), “Drinking from the Sun” (2012) and “Walking Under Stars” (2014) with all of the original releases going #1 and 2x Platinum, with the exception of The Hard Road which has earned Platinum itself so far.
Despite being an excellent song with a notable feature chorus from the talented Adrian Eagle, it does seem hard to objectively compare singles to albums in this newly reconstructed ARIA category.
The eight-track plus opening interlude EP on Flight Deck / Mushroom Group is Esoterik’s of multiple award-winning, 2x Diamond selling group “Bliss N Eso” debut solo release. It also features James Crooks, ASTA, Spazzy D, imbi the girl and Ev Jones. Released back in May, the EP spawned the two single “Bless Up” and “Be Like You” featuring ASTA, with the latter attracting an official KLP Remix.
– Mojo Juju “Native Tongue” on ABC Music / Universal (Album).
The excellent 16-track album released in late August is her first release since 2015’s 12-track “Seeing Red/Feeling Blue” album. “Native Tongue” debuted at #76 on the ARIA Chart upon release in its first week . The project features the talents of Lay the Mystic, Joshua Tavares and the excellent Pasefika Victoria Choir on the lead single “Native Tongue”.
The lack of a stand-alone category in the ARIA awards for “Best Soul/R&B Album” means that Mojo Juju is up against four hip-hop artists for Best Urban Release this year. In years to come it is likely that the Best Urban Release category will finally be split into two separate categories in Best Hip Hop Release and Best Soul/R&B Release. The lack of a category for Best Funk Release, Best Folk Release, Best World Release further makes it difficult for artists in these genres to also break through and win an ARIA award.
– Kerser “Engraved In The Game” on the independent ABK Records (Album).
Kerser’s 15-track “Engraved In The Game” album is his seventh solo studio album self-released in seven years and features his ABK Records label mates RATES and Jay UF, long-time collaborator Fortay (of At Large Productions) as well as talented singer Alicia Renee. The album was produced by Allrounda.
The past year has shown Kerser remains consistently strong and also spawned arguably the biggest American – Australian hip-hop single collaboration ever with “Total Concentration” featuring Future, Young Buck of G-Unit and Kerser all dropping verses over a Ghosts In The Room beat. Officially Australia’s most viewed rapper on YouTube at nearly 200 million, next year promises to be even bigger than this year with his eighth album set to drop in February, a national tour set for March/April and further potential for Kerser to develop in international markets in New Zealand, Europe, America and the UK all on the horizon. Kerser and 360 with strong album releases appear to be the two clear standout favorites to battle for this year’s award and it appears we may see a new 10th ARIA award winner for this category.
Only once has a single song won the ARIA award for Best Urban Release, in Melbourne R&B singer Daniel Merriweather’s “She’s Got Me” second non-album single off his debut Promotional EP “Merriweather” back in 2005. An EP has never been nominated previously and a single has not been nominated since Bliss N Eso’s 2006 “Up Jump The Boogie” produced by LA’s DJ Hoppa that was the lead single to their second studio album “Day Of The Dog” on Illusive Sounds. Despite dozens of nominations from New South Wales and Sydney artists over the last 14 years, only Bliss N Eso (2008) has managed to take out the top prize with their third album “Flying Colours” a decade ago.
Last year’s ARIA winners were A.B. Original (Briggs and Trials of Funkoars) with their excellent debut album “Reclaim Australia” on Golden Era Records / Bad Apples Music, fending off tough competition from Tkay Maidza, Remi, Thundamentals, and Illy. The other eight different winners for Best Urban Release since its inception in 2004 include Drapht (x2), Seth Sentry, Hilltop Hoods (5 wins from five nominations), Illy, M-Phazes, Bliss N Eso, Daniel Merriweather, and Koolism. Before there was an exclusive Best Urban Release or Best Urban Album Categories, Melbourne hip-hop legends 1200 Techniques in 2002 won the ARIA award for “Best Independent Release” with the lead single “Karma” from their debut studio album “Choose One”. 1200 Techniques were hugely influential in being the first hip-hop act in Australia to win an ARIA and subsequently broke down many barriers for hip-hop in Australia.