Words by Declan Whelan // Images via The Uncast (left) and Bodega Collective (right)
Don’t hold your breath. Here’s five of the best emerging hip hop acts making moves in Australia right now.
The group that everyone seems to be talking about at the moment, and with good reason. After bursting on to the scene earlier this year with their already certified underground classic ‘Shanks and Shivs’, the drill group from Mt Druitt are now earning rave reviews in the UK for their new single ‘The Message’. Amassing over 700,000 views on Youtube in less than three weeks, the boys have been getting big props for their unrelenting assault on the mic, including this hilarious reaction video. The sky is the limit for ONEFOUR.
A gifted and calculated rhymer, Gibrillah has that intrinsic ability to show more than he tells. Where his previous single ‘Sobriety’ was honest and introspective, the Bodega Collective rapper adopts a different persona on his new single ‘High Life Livin’ to showcase his confidence and ambition. Putting himself on and giving fans something to turn up to at the same time, Gibrillah keeps ticking boxes.
Hailing from Brisbane, Kei Leeza is well versed to the studio grind. In November last year, the Imperial Collective artist dropped a collaborative EP Drip with Matt Noble and Steez Malase which might have flown a little below below the radar this side of the QLD border but masterfully blends nostalgic 90s sounds with concise contemporary flows. His new one ‘Me Myself and I’ takes a different approach to the De La classic by the same name but increasingly, Kei Leeza is building towards a sound that is uniquely his. And building an audience while he’s at it.
Repping South-West Sydney, Freesouls have teamed up with Elijah Yo for their new track ‘Black Thoughts’. True to form, Freesouls bring boom bap sensibilities to this trap beat, dropping conscious verses either side of a gravelly hook which catches an autotuned facelift for added effect. We’re definitely hanging out for more of their bonafide brand of militant contemporary hip hop. Stay glued for new new.
Perth-based rapper and producer Arno Faraji keeps levelling up. After being crowned best in class at Triple J Unearthed High in 2017, he’s been on tour with some of the best rappers to visit Australia in 2018 and has been adding to an already impressive collection of collaborations. This time around, Arno catches an assist from Astral family member Milan Ring to deliver the effortlessly smooth track ‘Scalin’.