Because of the globalisation and popularity of streaming services, all artist from around the globe can put out music and reach a worldwide audience. This incredible opportunity gives underrated music scenes a chance to rise and shine. When it comes to hip hop, we can all agree that without a doubt, this genre is dominated by the western world. But in the past years, things have been changing. Rapping is not only an American speciality, and musicians from different parts of the world are dominating the charts.
For the longest time, Australia has been a place associated with rock and indie music because of the bands like AC/DC or Tame Impala. But recently Aussie hip hop has been growing and getting recognition. The country has some pretty impressive rappers that will sooner or later become big names in the industry. We would like to introduce a couple of new and older acts that have been storming Australian hip hop scene.
Genesis Owusu is a Ghanaian-Australian singer from Canberra. He started his career on SoundCloud and slowly built his way up. The artist highlights that music has always been a part of his life and his family. A lot of inspiration Owusu took from his brother Citizen Kay who also is in the industry. Genesis music is not strictly connected to one genre. He finds himself drawn to all types of sounds and styles. RnB, hip hop, funk, indie – it’s all there. Nonetheless, all his songs are extremely catchy and well-produced. Owusu has already been touring and playing festivals with many fans rooting for him. The artist’s debut album Smiling With No Teeth is announced for 5th of March.
Triple One has been called an Australian BROCKHAMPTON. This hip hop group absolutly shook the music scene. They have been working together since 2017, but their 2019 hit Butter really set the career. Triple One is a beloved, underground collective that brings a fresh and innovative wave to the Australian hip hop. They have shown skills, confidence, passion and entertainment. All the members complement each other and are able to create an awesome body of work. Triple One’s music speaks to youth and becomes more and more relevant. Their debut album Panic Force is a major statement and shows how interesting and complex the group is. Triple One opened a new chapter for Aussie hip hop, and everyone is excited to dive in.
A rising duo from Sydney redefines Australian hip hop and brings new energy. Slim Set takes over the millennial underground of Sydney’s suburbs. Their very dynamic, fast and energetic music inspired by UK’s grime is a very successful experiment. The rapper Dev and producer Atro met in high school and decided to try making songs together. It worked, and now they’re releasing EP’s and supporting artists like The Streets and AJ Tracy. In 2018 with Cooked and Lazy Slim Set got a large recognition and really blew out. Their enthusiasm and youthfulness always hypes up the crowds that love to see the group live. Recently they released a drum n based inspired track Solar.
Tkay Maidza is one of the most exciting Australian female artists right now. Zimbabwe-born singer and rapper brings a fresh and modern vibe to hip hop scene. Tkay explores pop, EMD as well as rap in her music and does it all effortlessly with a great flow. During her recent rise, she collaborated and toured with well-known artist like Troy Sivan, Charli XCX and Princess Nokia. Maidza is currently signed to indie label 4AD and released her second record Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 in 2020. She discovered a new sound and found her voice. A great talent that hopefully will be growing and revelling revealing it’s full potential.
Kaiit is a Melbourne based 21-year-old artist that surprised the world with a unique voice and deep musical sensibility. She creates an R&N, neo-soul music with great care and talent. Kaiit invented an original personal and sonic style that put her in a special position in the Australian music scene. With her 2018 LP Live From Her Room, she attracted the worldwide attention and managed to get recognition from soul icon Jill Scott. After releasing so many memorable songs, the future is very bright and promising for Kaiit. Hopefully, she will make a groud breaking mark in hip hop.
ChillinIT is a self-made success. He has already been changing the hip hop scene in Austalia and hitting millions of views on his bold music videos. He isn’t signed to any record label, yet he managed to be one of the fastest-growing underground rappers. ChillinIT has a pretty fearless online presence, but he claims that social media is the key to success these days. Musically the artist is provocative and hyped, but his smart and relatable lyrics seem to get to the Aussie youth. After dropping his debut album Women Weed and Wordplay, the artist blew out on charts and gained a dedicated fandom. In 2020 ChillinIt released two projects The Octagon (420 Deluxe) and Full Circle.
Hoodzy is a young Aussie rapper that recently has been gaining more and more attention. Even though she is new to the scene, her sassy lyrics and great rap flow are loved by the audience. As a gay female, she feels a strong connection to the queer community in Australia and would like to bring this energy to the hip hop world. The potential and talent of Hoodzy are slowly coming out and sooner or later, the rapper will find herself a secure position in the industry.
Remi Kolawole and Sensible J are a duo under the name REMI that is one of the most significant and leading acts in Australian hip hop. In the past years, they made a substantial impact on the industry and crafted a very successful career. Nostalgic, 90s-era R&B tones presented by the artist became an ultimate favourite. The rhythmic production by Sensible J works perfectly with Remi’s soft and catchy voice. The duo had already sold out tours in Europe and Australia and dropped a few impactful projects. Their collab with Sampa The Great in 2016 was an absolute hit on Aussie’s charts. Additionally, REMI was invited to work with a legendary singer Damon Albarn and won a prestigious Australian Music Prize Award.
ONEFOUR are the most influential drill-rap group Australia has to offer. Their global recognition and “real” hip hop background put them in the position of one of the hottest and exciting rappers in the industry. They very quickly became a phenomenon and revolutionised the hip hop scene in Australia. Beyond their very rowdy and controversial music and personal life, the group gained a huge amount of fans and in nearly one year ONEFOUR has gone from nobody to groundbreaking success. With a unique approach to rap and drill, their work is attracting attention from all around the world. ONEFOUR’s fast growth only shows that the group is becoming one of the biggest things in Australia.
Kwame turned out to be one of the most progressive and innovative rappers in Australia. He makes authentic easy-going music that pushes Australian hip-hop into the global scene. Kwame first got viral when during a performance ASAP Ferg invited him to rap on stage. This incident directed many eyes on an aspiring musician. Since the release of his debut single, I Get It in 2016 his music has gathered 19 million streams globally. Kwame’s recent EP Please, Get Home Safe is his best project yet. The artist explores self-discovery, childhood and acceptance. The record also draws inspiration from rappers and producers like Kanye West and Tyler, The Creator.
Arno Faraji is Perth’s most striving artist in the hip hop underground. His creativity, vision and great talent in rap and production was noticed in 2017 and keeps surprising the audience. Faraji’s lyrical strength and prominent influences peak out on every new track. The artist so far collaborated with Aussie’s stars REMI and Sensible J and supported Little Simz and Rejjie Snow. Even though Arno Faraji is just getting started, there’s more music on the horizon.
Sampa the Great
Sampa the Great – the biggest and the most important name in Australian hip hop. Her 2019 debut album The Return was a groundbreaking success for the artist and opened a long line of opportunities and praises coming her way. Sampa’s musical style is incredibly colourful, rich and complex with African influences and R&B and neo-soul beats. Artistic creativity and freedom represented by the artist gives her so much power and a strong voice. Sampa has already supported legendary artists like Kendrick Lamar and Lauryn Hill. Hopefully, fans can see her grow even more and put out new and fresh music.
Words by Oliwia Dworakowska