Words by Christopher Kevin Au
Plenty has happened since 2016, so we decided to name another eight hip-hop artists who have been holding it down on the home front, all of whom have been making moves, dropping tracks and playing shows that have caught our attention over the past few weeks. Get familiar with the homegrown talents below, because we’re expecting even bigger things as we sail into 2018:
Coming straight out of the nation’s capital, Turquoise Prince paid us a visit in Sydney last weekend, performing alongside his frequent collaborators and local rap veterans, One Day. Coinciding with his visit, he dropped the video for his latest single ‘Like Your Friends’ – conversational, humorous bars with a dash of melody, all delivered on top of irresistible, dancefloor-ready production. ‘Like Your Friends’ is the perfect way to farewell winter, because this sun-drenched anthem is going to be on repeat all summer long. Turquoise Prince hits the road with Boo Seeka later this year.
HUSKii BEN dropped his BRAiNUMB EP back in May, and guess what? It’s still amazing. Battling his sizeable personal demons over woozy, spaced-out production, HUSKii delivered a sonic downer that still stands as one of our favourite local releases of the year. While internationals like Lil Peep and Xxxtentacion have also flirted with emo-influenced aesthetic, HUSKii BEN’s raw approach is strikingly authentic, and he’s just dropped a video for the acoustic beauty and EP opener, the aptly titled ‘Sadboy.’
Beastside have been rapping for close to a decade, but have really hit their stride in 2017, signing to local label Big Village and releasing their debut album Timeframed. Launching in their hometown of Sydney last weekend, it’s been a long build-up for the squadron, who’ve fine-tuned their old-school crew camaraderie on the album for a cohesive and typically charismatic effort. Frogman for Prime Minister.
Freesouls may have only formed back in 2015, but they craft songs with a collaborative energy that stretches far beyond their years. While many of their colleagues are rapping over contemporary, club-friendly trap beats, FreeSouls look further back for influence, channeling Golden Era beats and flows for their own stories from South-West Sydney. The clique released their debut mixtape The Awakening in early 2017, with another scheduled before the year’s close – quite a feat considering that their debut single ‘Face Off‘ is barely 18 months old.
Currently on the road with Vera Blue – who stole the show with her hook on Illy’s ‘Paper Cuts’ – Thandi Phoenix has wowed audiences with her performances at shows alongside Jhene Aiko, Tinashe and Rudimental, as well as collaborations with Ta-ku and Elefant Traks’ B Wise. Her latest single, ‘Standing Too Close’ is another shining display of her soaring vocal abilities over whirling synths and jittering percussion that takes notes from UK Garage.
Having delivered some of the year’s most imposing collaborations – including ‘100 Hoods Deep‘ and ‘Putting That Work In‘ – Mitchos Da Menace has just dropped his own full-length titled MDMA. Trekking across street rap and grime territories with staunch confidence, Menace has solidified his hero status in West Sydney, and we wouldn’t be surprised if his profile continues to ascend following this commendable full-length.
Carmouflage Rose has just been announced on the lineup for Alison Wonderland’s Scarehouse tour alongside the likes of ASAP Ferg, Lunice and Manu Crooks, making his crossover appeal clear, also evidenced by his hugely hyped single ‘Late Nights.’ Sitting somewhere between moody R&B, ominous club rap and swinging dancehall, the single has earned plenty of radio play since its release two months ago, with the Brisbane-via-Zimbabwe artist also performing at the Sunshine State’s Sprung hip-hop festival.
Back in 2014, HAZRD grabbed international attention when he dropped a viral diss track that ended up snatching well over 1 million views, as well as the attention of BBK don, Skepta. Now, the Sydney emcee has just dropped his first official video for the brooding ‘Nah Cuz,’ where he also wears a Mudvanye NFL jersey. Huge looks. HAZRD also recently spat at the Fully Gassed event in Melbourne, joining in on this lengthy cypher alongside Australia’s longstanding grime flag-bearers like Fraksha, Diem and Alex Jones.
Top image of Turquoise Prince by Victor Tawagi // Thandi Phoenix via Purple Sneakers