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Apologies for any errors, omissions or incomplete information, this is being updated regularly.

This page is an Interactive Time-Line – most sections will allow you to click on the ‘info’ button for more information, video & audio tracks as well as links to associated Artists

Australian hip hop music began in the early 1980s; originally it was primarily influenced by hip hop music and culture imported via radio and television from the United States of America. However,since the 1990s,a distinctive local style has developed. Australian hip hop is an underground music scene with only a few commercial hits in the last decade. Albums and singles are released by mostly independent record labels,often owned and run by the artists themselves.

The first hip hop recording was the relatively mainstream 1980 pop release ‘Rapper’s delight’ by
the African-American Sugarhill Gang. This was followed by films such as the 1982 rap and graffiti documentary Wild style , the 1984 rap and breakdance feature film Beat street, among others), and hip hop music videos such as Malcolm McLaren’s ‘Buffalo gals’ .

These three key hip hop visual texts had a considerable impact in Australia, as elsewhere in the world, where fledgling and inspirational breakers and graffiti writers, and later rappers and turntablists, copied every move from the videos and began taking their newly acquired skills out onto the streets. Burwood Park in Sydney’s inner west was one of the earliest breakdancing sites
in Australia, and was not without the occasional violent encounter, as represented in multicultural crew Sound Unlimited’s 1992 track ‘Tales from the westside’ – Tony Mitchell

I’m glad to be the person who started it, to bridge the culture gap. You know, no black thing or white thing. It’s the we thing…… There was never no racism, music is the universal language. – Kool Herc

There’s no such thing as black and white hip-hop, just good and bad – Briggs

 Okay we may have heard Grandmaster Flash ; the Furious Fives “The Message” on the radio, we may even have seen Crazy Legs ; Frosty Freeze freaking it in Flashdance at the movies for a couple of seconds or seen some graff in Death Wish on TV, but to see all this in three minute music clip was kinda awesome. That was when the seeds to the current Australian Hip-Hop culture were germinated. We all started breaking, some of us then went out bombing, others became glued to the turntables while a select few started rhyming. If one had a Video-recorder, one could always rewind the breaking videos to work out the moves, if one wanted to practice graff one would run around at night with spray paint after perusing over a copy of Subway Art, or after watching a dubbed, dubbed, dubbed copy of Style Wars (which was aired on New Zealand television in 84). If someone else wanted to start deejaying, well then, they bought turntables and records from the import dance stores and stayed at home and practiced, but if one wanted to rhyme . . . well then.”  – BLAZE


The first computer to ever play music was in Sydney

CSIRAC was Australia’s first digital computer, It is the oldest surviving first-generation electronic computer  and was the first in the world to play digital music.



The Fairlight was the first digital synthesizer and sampler. It was invented by two young Australians. 

 The Fairlight got its name from a hydrofoil (itself named after the Sydney suburb Fairlight) which Ryrie and Vogel saw pass by as they worked on their invention in Ryrie’s grandmother’s Point Piper garage. We take sampling technology for granted today, but at the time it was a revelation for a computer to be able to store (on floppy disc) and manipulate recorded natural sounds.


In 1982, the video “Buffalo Gals“,was shown on a television music show called Sound Unlimited.

The show was staged in a Manhattan basketball court and featured images of graffiti and break dancers. 


The first Rap single to be released by an Australian Artist

Although this was, technically, the first Rap released in the country, it is a Novelty Track and isn’t respected by the community or widely acknowledged as a true Hip Hop Release.


The Thong Clap was also released as a piece of satire and is not really considered a Hip Hop release.

Possibly released in 1983


North Sydney Basketball Courts – January,1985.

One of Melbourne’s First Hip Hop Events

Itchin’ In The Kitchen

A song, a video, a legacy. With almost 20 copies sold worldwide Itchin’ in the Kitchen was probably one of the most unsuccessful records of the 1980’s. The lack of sales had probably to do with it only being available in five stores. ‘A video doesn’t a marketing plan make’. Ironically the video was in high rotation on the Australian music video television shows.  The video also won a couple of awards.

Side one has a female vocal rap while the B-Side is an instrumental electro version. Apparently it had a custom press run (300?) but the story goes that only 20 copies were actual sold. What happened to the rest of the copies is unknown


 Skippy The Butcher supported Run DMC on their ’88 Australian tour.

In 1987/1988 former punk band turned hip-hop act,”Skippy the Butcher” performed at venues around Melbourne,most notably a residence at The Razor club around the end of 1988. Allegedly one of the first ever gigging Australian Hip Hop groups. Following this they joined in the first tour of RUN-DMC,playing support at the Festival Hall and Metro concerts in November 1988. After recording one 5 track EP; “Full Blown Rap”  at the ABC studios in Elsternwick,Melbourne the group disbanded.


The third Australian Rap record released was by Mighty Big Crime.

Although this may be closer to Hip Hop, the group was considered more of a novelty project.

Perth’s first Hip Hop radio station ”Scratch Fm” from 1987 to 1992 hosted by Dj Cut Nice

“Rhyming was the most neglected part of the four quarters of Hip-Hop. Because all the rap that anyone had ever heard was from African-Americans, most felt that they were the only ones who could do it properly and sound good.

The problem was in reality that no-one had ever heard a non-American accent rapping and when they did hear an Australian voice rapping they would turn off and prefer to hear someone with a fake accent. This stifled the development of rhyming in the early years, whereas breaking was everywhere, but then it started getting out of control with the media & advertising industry exploiting the fuck out of it. So to many b-boyin’ became just another passing fad, but to others it was more important and they stuck with it and channeled their drive for breaking into the world of bombing.

This is what became the most prolific part of Hip- Hop in Australia. Every suburb seemed to have it’s own bombing crew, one didnÕt need lino or cardboard and a boom box, all one needed was a pen. Because breaking was a physical activity not everyone could partake in it, whereas everybody could write. And because one was constantly writing one was also practising at the same time.

Shit became hectic and soon the major cities started changing in about 86-88, that was when it was at its peak.

A day wouldn`t go by without seeing another writer on the train in the standard uniform: runners with fat laces, tracksuits, backpack, etc. . . . Styles were being mastered and statewide correspondence had been initiated, friendly battles ensued, shit was happening.” – Blaze


Discotek Nightclub, Brisbane, 1988

Dj Wayne Mac played Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High one Sunday on 2UE Radio and it was immediately pulled from the playlist for being “too noisy and too black“.

Image result for Don't Touch That Dial by wayne mac

Down Under By Law, released in 1988, was the first ever Australian Hip Hop compilation

Featuring Westside Posse, Sharline, Mighty Big Crime, Swoop, Fly Girl 3, Pest-A-Side, Mike Scott & Drew Muirhead.

“Down Under by Law” was a compilation pieced together by Virgin and released in 1988 on vinyl. It was the first Australian hip hop compilation ever released but it seems tainted by the fact that it appeared that Virgin were trying to capitalise on the late-80s boom in hip hop around the world. Spice, West Side Posse and several other artists made appearances. – Mark Pollard

The very poor “Down Under By Law” compilation which was put together by dance music producers and DJs. It was a tub of lard with no redeeming features, although WEST SIDE POSSE`s track “Pull the Trigger” was the closest to what we wanted. – Blaze

The compilation was released  prior to ‘Combined Talent’ by Just Us

The first true Australian Solo Hip Hop release

On vinyl, “Combined Talent” / “My Destiny” in 1988. Founding members include Dj Case, Mentor later joined the group, later it was re-formed with Roamz.

It was pressed independently. Based in Sydney’s outer western suburbs, Just Us and their affiliates were rough, rugged and raw, and pushed an individual Australian identity through their music. Central Station Records then released the group’s “Voice of the Hunted” (with Mentor added to the group) vinyl in the early 90s. Case moved to Malta for a few years, returned and re-formed Just Us with Roamz, and performed at the mighty Contents Under Pressure gig with FWP. Since then Case has been working with Terminal Illness and has produced a track for the upcoming Def Wish Cast album. Roamz is working with the Ascendescents and Mentor moved into metal. – Mark Pollard

    Musically it relied on 808 beats, 303 bassline, heaps of impressive scratching and Aussie accents. Undoubtedly a classic and very indicative of the sound of the western suburbs in Sydney at that time. This was followed up a couple of years later with a 6-track EP “Voice of the Hunted” on CENTRAL STATION RECORDS which included their popular track “Stinging In The Rain”. Unfortunately DJ CASE left for Malta and MENTOR ventured into metal. – Blaze
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6F4gvvuXes

The first Australian hip hop group signed to a major record label

A Postcard from the Edge of the Underside was the only Australian rap album to be released by a major label (Columbia Sony) in the 1990s.  This “breakthrough recording deal” was negotiated with the help of Public Enemy.

In the late 1980s, Sound Unlimited Posse became the first Australian hip hop group signed to a major record label (Sony BMG),releasing A Postcard from the Edge of the Under-side in 1992. The group initially received some criticism for their instrumental style and commercial success,particularly from other Sydney-based hip hop outfits.

 Burwood Park in Sydney’s inner west was one of the earliest breakdancing sites in Australia, and was not without the occasional violent encounter, as represented in multicultural crew Sound Unlimited’s 1992 track ‘Tales from the westside’

The release and label backing got them into the charts, played on 2DayFM and spots on all sorts of TV shows such as Vidiot (yeah, you remember that one ú Edan Gaha was the man). They even graced the cover of 3d World, something that few other local acts have achieved mainly because they don’t have Roger Sanchez as their DJ. They were mocked to some degree by the more underground crews, especially with samples such as from Men at Work and a lot of Americanisms. Their success was talked up by labels and media alike, but it is said that it took them almost ten years to pay back their advance to the record label. In this time, they made a name and lineup change (Renegade Funktrain), and seemed to be trying to do an acid-jazz-hip-hop thing five years too late. – Mark Pollard

Munkimuk, known as The Grandfather of Indigenous Hip Hop has been performing since 1984 as a breakdancer and started emceeing in 1988.

He is known for his music production, MCíng, breakdancing, event hosting and radio broadcasting. In 2014 Mark Munk Ross was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall Of Fame.

I was also getting a reputation as a freestyle rapper while I was doing all this music stuff. And then I got a few shows, by myself. I ended up just doing spoken word, like rapping. Then I worked out that I’d have my drum machine with me and have the presets that I programmed and just let the beat play. So I did that and it was pretty bodgie! [Laughs.] Most of the places that I’d do these gigs were all African American guys at these gigs, rapping. I was completely different because I was rapping in my own accent. They were like, ‘Woah man, what’s this? Hillbilly rap?!’ [Laughs.] So I thought, I’m gonna bring all my mates with me, which is how the whole South-West Syndicate thing came about. I thought I’m not gonna go out there by myself and be the laughing stock, that whole being laughed off stage, man – been there and done it. I thought, next time I’m gonna go and I’m gonna go with 30 of my mates and we’re all gonna for it – and see who laughs then! – Munkimuk





The first ever DMC Australian event was in 1988.

DMC Australia was then ran by Sydney-based promoter and DJ Joe Coneeley (a.k.a Joe 90) who ran various dance parties and went on to found the `Vibes on a summers day’tour. His Sydney DJ comp events were huge and one in particular drew 5000 punters to the Horden pavilion. The event was hosted by a young Rodney Overblow the Third, now more reasonably known as MC Rodney O

DJ KC and ASK were two of the most influential and innovative Sydney turntablists/DJs through the late ’80s and into the ’90s. KC was the Australian DMC Champion three times and is renowned for his three turntables showcase. DJ ASK took out the National DMC twice, and was known for brewing up a storm everywhere he went – in many different ways. In 1994 he teamed up with the then-teen-aged DJ Bonez and formed the Cross Fader Raiders. Aside from cassette releases, they put out “Casting Spells on 12s” with Swamp and the battle record “Raiders of the Lost Crate” through DMC in Melbourne. ASK moved to the UK with Renegade Funktrain while KC now runs the United DJ School in Surry Hills. – Mark Pollard

Vapors was one of the first Hip Hop magazines in the world.

Much as Hype was one of the first full colour graf mags in the world, Australia (despite what some may think) has been documenting, innovating and cultivating the culture as long as most.

Vaporz was established by Blaze with the first issue being printed in 1988. Initially boasting a cut and paste format, the magazine predates the empire-like The Source and HHC. It was strong with opinion and, despite coming out infrequently, had a grassroots following around the world. – Mark Pollard

The first appearance of an Australian hip hop act on Australian Television was in November 1988 when Skippy The Butcher performed live on the ABC’s “The Factory” connected to the Run DMC tour.

Some of Perth’s first Hip Hop Releases on cassette

Def Threat allegedly released the first Hip Hop album in Perth, followed by Gangstar and,  Damkev & Comp (Thu Rubbishmen)

Jigzaw broadcast Brisbane’s first hip hop show ‘Jus 2 Def’ alongside his co-host Biz on Station 4ZZZ

Canberra Times – 12 June 1988


In Melbourne  the PARK BENCH ROYALS  released a 2-track 12″ single.

Although ironically, NEMO, dissed house music but then ventured into esoteric Hip-House a few years later.   Adelaidian DJ, K-JAY produced this as well as being a member of the famed AKA BROTHERS, who also released a 3-track 12″ single in 89 “Coming Out Large/Poetry In Motion/Tall Poppy Sundrome”.

 This is when Australian Hip Hop music was truly born.

It had crunchy breaks, funky scratching and the true aesthetics of Hip-Hop styles courtesy of RANSOM, CHOICE CUTS and PAC. Years later in 1990 they released another 12″ single “What Is It/On the T-Cozy Tip” also on STRAIT UP records. They also took this with them when they performed at the New Music Seminar “Standing On the Verge” gig in New York in 1990. Yeah, the Americans realised their skills before most Australian Hip-Hop fans had even heard of them. – Blaze

Triple J was launched Nationally 

Although initially it was accused of ignoring the emerging hip hop scene and related genres, in favour of the more marketable rock-oriented grunge style that dominated music at the same time. It wasn’t until  1994 that Triple J expanded to most regional centres through-out Australia.

The station also exerted a noticeable effect on local record companies. For many years, local record labels would only import recordings that they knew would earn a good commercial return, and they were often unwilling to take risks on local releases of unknown acts. Much new music was routinely available only as expensive imports in specialist shops. 

In 1989, Triple J had been playing N.W.A’s protest song “Fuck tha Police” for up to six months, before catching the attention of ABC management who subsequently banned it. As a result, the staff went on strike and put the group’s song “Express Yourself” on continuous play for 24 hours, playing it roughly 360 times in a row.

046, Brethren & Def Wish Cast were formed in 1989

Australia saw the first issue of ‘Hype’ magazine hit the shelves, an all Australian color graffiti magazine that was dedicated to b-boying and graffiti

Radio Therapy was on Sydney radio 2RRR, 88.5 FM and played hip-hop as well as hip-house and house music. It ran from late 1989 to late 1990.



The Lounge Room was established by Blaze and JU in the early ’90s.

It was the first specialist hip hop store in Sydney and provided a daily meeting spot for people to network and satisfy vinyl appetites. The shop later moved to Crown St where it shared premises with X Large and, having been robbed twice and having most of their stock cleaned out, Blaze moved the shop into some spare space in a printer’s workshop just off William St. Next Level Records emerged out of the Lounge Room with Blaze having enough of it all. Dr Phibes set up his shop on Liverpool St where it has been for the past five years. He opened it with a box of records left over from the Lounge Room and a turntable. – Mark Pollard

next level records

Australia’s First Hip Hop Radio Shows

Various media types preceeded Miguel D’Souza (Tim Ritchie on Double J in the late 80s for instance – now the head of Radio National) but few were as vitriolic as the Barry White of Bhangarra Rap. In October 1990, he was involved with getting Sydney’s first hip hop show on air. It was called The Mothership Connection and aired on 2SER every Tuesday afternoon on Sydney community radio 2SER-FM. The show featured many, many MC’s, DJ’s and even graf writers and b-boys and b-girls of the Sydney hip hop scene as regular guests.

Def Wish Cast were the first to Tour Australia-wide

They were the only Australian underground act to tour all across Australia without the aid of anybody but themselves. Then they released a 3-track tape, which then turned up on their explosive album and medieval inspired “Knights of the Underground Table”. Unfortunately it came out on CD and cassette only. Much to the dismay of the European audience who heard them via Norwegian Hip Hop DJ and magazine publishing freak (Fatcap), Tommy Tee. He became an ardent fan and played their music on his radio show which was broadcast into several northern European countries. The Germans also went apeshit over them and they sold a few hundred copies there as well. They also managed to make a videoclip for the anthemic track “A.U.S.T.” which mangaged to get played on a few nationally broadcast music video shows. They have now changed their style from a somewhat British style to a more East coast flavour. – Blaze

Def Wish Cast are the quintessential Sydney hip hop crew. A lot of groups have made very valuable contributions to the culture but few crews have been as well-rounded and have made such a large impact as Die-C, Sereck and Def Wish. They released the “Mad As a Hatter” vinyl EP in 1992. Subsequently, they were the first group to tour nationally. They then released their album “Knights of the Underground Table” (CD and cassette), which became a manual for Australian hip hop. It was released through Western Sydney-based Random records, who, despite selling in the vicinity of six to eight thousand units, never paid the group. The clip for “A.U.S.T.” gave a face to Australian hip hop and was pivotal in shaping generations to come. Many can still remember seeing it for the first time on Video Hits or Rage. – Mark Pollard


Joe 90 split with DMC in 1990 and it wasn’t until Chris Smith (DJ Chris Kross) took over in 1992 that the DJ comp recommenced.

That year the VIC heat took place at the Mega Bar and included some stellar names. Ransom took out first place, with DJ Kash second and Anthony Pappa in third. Ransom’s routine included the first `Beat Juggle’ in an Australian battle, but the judges at the Australian finals (including Future Entertainment head Honcho Mark James and old skool DJ Paul `Flex’ Taylor) gave the nod to NSW champ K.C (Kirren Way) who’s spectacular set included samplers, 4 decks and pyrotechnics. The live act in 1992 was Def Wish Cast.

Rize & Tarkee release their debut single ‘Let Yourself Be Yourself’

This was a gem also and solidified the fact that Australians could hook up beats just like anyone else. Two years later they released another single on S.U., but this time they came with a name change. They were now to be known as Mama’s Funkistools



In 1991 a local Sydney Rap Solo Artist, KIC,only 16 years old was signed to Sony/COLUMBIA records becoming the youngest to sign to a major label & the first Australian Hip Hop Artist to reach the Top Ten Charts in Singapore and Hong Kong.

His first debut single ‘Bring Me On’ was an instant hit in Australia and reached the top ten charts in Singapore and Hong Kong in 1994.

Brudas United As One were formed


South West Syndicate were formed.

1992 saw the vinyl release of one of  DEF WISH CAST and their “Mad As A Hatter” EP featuring Brethren who released their demo cassette the same year.

Consisting of four songs which were also on the independent label Random Records released Def Wish Cast‘s album Knights of the Underground Table. After this there were a string of independent CDs and tapes released by various artists from the Western Suburbs of Sydney,an area traditionally regarded as working class,underprivileged,and crime-ridden,with a large population of immigrant inhabitants.


13th Son began MCing with Industrial Dispute


In 1993, MC Que released a cassette taped titled ‘Tellin’ it like it is’ which was the first release by a female emcee in Australia.

Brad Strut released his first demo, Rock On.

Slingshot Touring & Events was launched by Trent Roden.

Slingshot Touring & Events is the longest running hiphop concert promoter in Australia…. starting events in 1993 and then going national in 1995 Slingshot has been responsible for over100 international tours and shows across Australia.

Finger Lickin Good released their debut EP

    Melbourne based ORGANIZED RHYME PRODUCTIONS also released a somewhat curious compilation EP which included a track each from RISING NOT RUNNING, DOO DAYZ, RHYME, BRUDAS UNITED AS ONE and ORGANIZED RYHM themselves. Very dark and old school sounding, which the younger audience found hard to appreciate, although it wasnÕt an altogether satisfying release. – Blaze

Sydney also saw the debut of ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE …Blackhand, as well as the Funke Knomads featuring The Urban Poets

Def Wish Cast released the single A.U.S.T.


Hilltop Hoods released their debut on cassette titled Highlanders

 Until the late 1990s, it was customary for new Australian hip-hop albums to be released on self produced cassettes 

“Blaze’s group Noble Savages produced an eight-track cassette album in 1994, and Capital punishment, a six-track tape, produced by DJ Vame.  Trey, Koolism, Noble Savage (featuring Blaze), Easybass and Fathom all produced first
cassette releases which are now collectors’ items.


As Pollard has noted, this ‘Tape Culture’ was another
defining aspects of Sydney’s Do-it-Yourself hip-hop underground: ‘Everybody dubbed tapes for each other
because more often than not the tapes would sell out due both to demand and small print runs …  Similarly, most Australian hip-hop CDs have been released on self-produced CDs (eg. Sleekism Records, Fuglemen, Illegal Records, Dope Runner Records) or small independent labels like Parallax View, Elefant Traks, Random Records (who reputedly never paid Def Wish Cast), or local
independent label Mushroom Records’ offshoot MDS/MXL.


The principal distributor of Australian hip-hop on CD is Creative Vibes, a small outfit run by Mother Tongues founder Heidi Pascal, which also distributes local and overseas dance music and electronica.

Other production companies like Trent Roden’s Slingshot Concepts and Mark Pollard’s Stealth combine production with radio DJing, concert and DJ battle competition promotions, and the Urban Xpressions and Stealth hip-hop festivals which have taken place in Sydney most years since 1998.


With the exception of the Triple J hip-hop show, most media outlets are also DIY: from the hip-hop shows on community radio stations like 2SER, Bondi FM and their equivalents in other cities, to the Vaporz graffiti fanzine (which was founded by Blaze in 1988 and which Pollard claims ‘was the first hip-hop magazine in the world’ 2001: 124) to Stealth and the regular hip-hop
columns and features in the free Sydney weekly music press 3D World, Revolver and Drum Media and their
equivalents in other cities.

One of the main disadvantages of all this DIY activity is that the production standards are often low and cheap and products are consequently rejected or criticised by mainstream
media outlets.” – Tony Mitchell 


Following its beginnings as a hip hop record store in 1995, Melbourne-based Obese Records gained a high profile as a record label. 

Its roster featured local artists such as label founder Pegz, Reason, Bias B, Muph and Plutonic, Art of War, Hilltop Hoods, Sydney-based Hijack and Torcha, Brisbane-based Lazy Grey and the Perth Syllabolix Crew.


Home Brews Volume 1 was released in 1995 on Mushroom Records and features 11 artists from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne & Adelaide

; Koolism, Mama’s Funk, Movement Electronique, Debt Crew, Voodoo Flavour, Frederick Cutter, Wicked Beat Sound System, Merma, BSK, Raised By Wolves & Groove Terminator.

Through XXL/MDS came two local compilations in the mid-90s. “Homebrews” came at a time when larger independent events had started to happen and there was a real sense of momentum building, something that has really only kicked into tangible effect since 2000.

Volume 1 of “Homebrews” came out in 1995 with 11 tracks from the likes of Koolism, Groove Terminator, Raph and Ransom while the second installation came out in 1998. Womb-Mind-Speak (several of whom are now working with the Mother Tongues label), Sereck, Brethren, Fathom and DJ Ask made appearances. The majority of tracks were still fairly low-fi compared to what our producers are doing now. – Mark Pollard

The development of a national Australian hip hop scene was given some degree of ‘official’ recognition by the release by local label Mushroom in 1995 of Home Brews Volume 1, a compilation of eleven Australian rap tracks by mostly unrecorded and almost exclusively male ‘bedroom’ hip hop practitioners from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Robert Brailsford’s liner notes expressed the prevailing sense of fragility: apart from having a hip-hop history, it is a history being built on. The main problem being Australian hip-hop suffers the same fate as English or for that matter Zambian hip-hop.

The prevailing attitude is that only American hip-hop is real. …The main challenge for Australian hip-hop is to discover and consolidate what makes it unique. I don’t really think anyone knows what that is, but Home Brews should provide some clues. The album’s diversity of styles is immediately noticeable, with trip hop, ragga, acid jazz and funk influences predominating.

As a grouping together of exponents of a virtually invisible underground movement, the album is a valuable indicator of some of the developments in the national hip hop scene – Tony Mitchell

Hip Hopera

Towering Inferno performed at the first Annual East Coast Funk Festival at Festival Hall, Brisbane

Dj Damage is also a member of The Big Rigs and Terntable Jediz

Noble Savages released their debut


Resin Dogs were formed, releasing their Debut EP on their own label, Hydrofunk Records.

Downsyde released a demo on cassette called Behind the Bucket



DJ Peril formed the 1200 Techniques 

After Sound Unlimited split in 1994,there was little commercial activity within Australian hip hop. However,underground artists continued to play  plenty of small live shows and release independent recordings. 


The first Australian hip hop documentary

It was made in 1996 by Paul Fenech (creator of SBS’ Pizza series). 

Basic Equipment was a documentary hosted by Sereck and produced by Paul Fenech. It focussed on a handful of groups mainly from Sydney (Trey, Sleek the Elite, FWP, Cross Fader Radiers and so on). It aired at 8.30pm on ABC during the Loud Festival in 1998 which was a government programme aimed at supporting cultural pursuits. It featured various interviews and footage from the Contents Under Pressure gig. Paul Fenech, of course, stars in and produces SBS’s hit series Pizza now which also stars Sleek, while Basic Equipment is the label/crew name under which Sereck does most of his work. – Mark Pollard

Documentary on Sydney Hip Hop screened in November 1997. Hosted by Sereck Aka Celsius of Def Wish Cast,  it features Sleek The Elite, FWP (Just Us), Def WIsh, Rapid Fire, MC Trey, Cross Fader Raiders (DJ ASK, DJ Bonez), Dr Phibes, Brethren (Wizdom, Mistery) and many more from the Sydney scene.

Metabass ‘N Breath toured USA in 1997/1998 and was the first time Australian Hip Hop was ever mentioned in Billboard Magazine in 1999.

One of the most important fulcrums of Australian hip hop was Metabass ‘n’ Breath, a Sydney crew made up of three prominent MCs and beatboxers – Morganics, Baba and Elf Transporter (the latter two are both expatriate Americans) – and Austrian-Australian DJ Nick Toth. The group’s beats incorporated traditional music from Australia, Asia and South America, and they released a notable album of globally-inflected hip hop called Seek in 1997. Their line-up also included a drummer, a keyboardist and a bass player, and the album contained two tracks in Spanish – evidence that they were looking at global influences rather than exclusively US ones. The group toured the US twice and released their album The life and times of a beatboxer on the San Francisco label Bomb Hip-Hop Records in 2000 before breaking up later that year. – Tony Mitchell

In 2002 Morganics was awarded a special justice commendation by the New South Wales Government for his work with disadvantaged youth, and he continues to work as a facilitator on urban and rural youth hip hop projects throughout the country. His 2003 one-man show Crouching b-boy hidden dreadlocks detailed some of his work in prisons and community centres as well as outlining his hip hop philosophy. His second album Evolve (2003) contained the track ‘Multilingual MC’, which includes snippets of lyrics from 15 different languages, including Japanese, French, Spanish and Pitjantjatjara, which Morganics had to learn in order to communicate with young Aboriginals in Central Australia. – Tony Mitchell

Cannibal Tribe was formed by Raw (R.I.P.)

MCs Raw, The Holy Sinner and Mr Karma


In a way, the Urban Xpressions hip hop festival gave the community a sense of pride and, importantly, a way to bring together the vastly diverse threads of Sydney hip hop. The first one ran in March of 1998 under the Slingshot banner, with Baba from Meta Bass’n’Breath playing a prominent role. Panel discussions, graf exhibitions, breaking in Hyde Park and the first independent American tour (Mystik Journeymen) featured during the ten days of the inaugural festival. 1999 saw Blackalicious come out for the festival while Jzone and Air Force One came out in April 2000. – Mark Pollard

Hip Hop for Palestine 1998

An event held by Sydney’s Lebanese community in Granville Town Hall in 1998, featuring performances by Lebanese/Aboriginal Rappers SouthWest Syndicate as well as graffiti by Sereck.

Trem releases his debut EP Sheer Talent.

Terminal Illness is formed

Case, Illergic & Dj Maniak

Blunted Stylus release the first Hip Hop on Vinyl from Brisbane

Stealth Mag was launched by Mike Pollard and was the first full colour Hip Hop Magazine in the Southern Hemisphere, released 14 issues before ending in 2007

It  was distributed worldwide via Tower Records.

“What we’re about takes many forms – from raps about BBQs, drinking beer, smoking pot and painting trains, to political and social inspections about race, class inequality and gender issues. The content of Australian hip-hop is as varied as its practitioners ” (Pollard

Boney & Stoney released their self titled Debut


Bliss N Eso released their first EP ( Originally known as Bliss N Esoterikizm )


In 2001Draino from the Puah Hedz crew released Oz Cella -a multimedia CD documenting artists active in the Australian hip hop scene. 

“An accompanying website was regularly updated until 2005 when the well respected publication was closed.  By June 2003, The OZ cella had chronicled 509 individual Australian hip hop artists, 105, groups, 24 crews, and 141 recordings, representing every state and territory apart from the Northern Territory. Most of these local hip hop releases have been either self-produced or released on small independent labels” – Tony Mitchell

1200 Techniques released the crossover hits Hard As Hell, in 2001 and Karma in 2002 which ” charted in the Australian top 40 and won ARIA awards for “best independent release” and “best video”.

 Their debut album was only the second Australian Hip Hop release on a Major Label.

There was much discussion within the Australian hip-hop scene about the hefty sum of money which 1200 Techniques had to pay to EMI to clear their use of a sample from US soul group Hot Chocolate’s track ‘Brother Louie’ – an extravagance that could only be permitted by a major label, and one which was seen a indicative of the `mainstream orientations of 1200 Techniques – Tony Mitchell

Culture of Kings: Volume 1  was released by Obese Records featuring After Hours, Bias B, Celsius, Certified Wise, Cross Bred Mongrels, Downsyde, Hilltop Hoods, Kolaps, Koolism, Los Town Sophystz, Lyrical Commission, MC Thorn, Mass MC, Matty B, Mr P. Body, Reason, Suffa, Terra Firma, Torcha & Trauma

Triple J created a national, weekly, three-hour hip-hop show.

Hosted by Maya Jupiter from 2004 until Hau from Koolism took over in 2008.

Triple J’s acknowledgement of local hip-hop artists has had several significant effects. A lot of teens who would have levitated towards punk or rock are now finding that Australian hip-hop provides a voice that is closer to home. It has also increased the interest of larger labels in getting involved with the scene. As Shazlek One from Melbourne’s Obese Records says, “If there’s money to be made off it they’re going to want to be involved.” – Mark Pollard

Ian Shedden’s 2001 Australian feature ‘Hip-hop to the Trip’ suggested that Triple J’s Australian hip-hop show and promotion of Mass MC’s track ‘The BBQ Song’, along with its 2001 national tour featuring MC Trey, Shin Ki Row and Reference Point, was giving Australian hip-hop a higher profile. Shedden claimed that ‘a growing number of artists are emerging from the underground with music that is more expertly recorded and produced’, and ‘the barrier preventing rap in an Aussie accent being taken seriously is starting to crumble. – Tony Mitchell


Local Knowledge was formed.

Culture of Kings: Volume 2 was released featuring: 13th Son, A-Love, After Hours, Art of War, Bliss n Eso, Bob Balans, Brethren, Brothers Stoney, Clandestien, Coxster, Crixus, DJ Debris, Delta, Downsyde, Enigmatic Emcees, FG, Flak aka Fat Face, Hilltop Hoods, Hospice, Hunter, Hyjak, Jolz, Ken Oath, Layla, Mr P. Body, Pegz, Present Tense, Quro, Reason, Scarz on 45, Skank One, Snax, Solomon Klepto, Terminal Illness, Terra Firma, The Funkoars, Tzu & Urthboy


“Culture of Kings” dominated 2002 in every way possible. Volume 2 was a Triple J feature CD, the launch events around the country were very well attended for the most part, and the project subsequently took on juggernaut proportions. The “Culture of Kings” series was responsible for giving a lot of artists their first chance to gain national exposure. It had this strong underdog ethos to it that people simply rallied behind. 2003 should see the third instalment released.

With “Culture of Kings 2” receiving so much airplay on Triple J it is probably the sound that most would be familiar with. However, artists such as Hilltop Hoods, Reason, Koolism, Morganics, Katalyst, Quro, Downsyde, Mass MC, The Herd, Trey and 1200 Techniques have all received their fair share of exposure.

Mass Mc launched the forum OzHipHop.com

It was sold in 2004 and promptly experienced a sharp decline in patronage and support in response.

It provides a constant 24 hour medium which we have access to and is run by true heads of the scene – Mass MC is the CEO of ozhiphop.com. The site conveys a message of commentary, news, reviews for Australian scene and beyond. It’s the ultimate service for the net heads. – Reason

DJ Shan Frenzie started the Groove Therapy radio show in Sydney on 2SER FM

Celebrated its 15th Anniversary in 2017


2SER, The Mothership Connection

Hilltop Hoods release The Calling

The success of the album was significant in the Australian hip hop scene because it demonstrated popular recognition for a genre previously supported by a comparatively small, “underground” fan base. 

On 26 July 2006, Obese Records announced that the album became the first Australian hip hop release to achieve a platinum certification


In particular, the track ‘The Nosebleed Section’ was a major success

Out4Fame presents 2003 MC Battle For Supremacy was the first (documented) national MC tournament and was responsible for kick starting the careers of many MC’s across Australia.

The following year MC’s were invited to enter the tournament for the chance to compete in New Zealand. MC’s who have competed in Battle For Supremacy tournaments include Weapon X,360,Anecdote,Nfa,Justice,Dragonfly,Robby Bal Boa,Kaos,Tyna,Surreal,Cyphanetics,Delta.

Oriel Guthrie also documented the 2004 and 2005 events and released them on DVDs. 

The multi-language compilation Sonic Allsorts is released

A compilation of tracks by 17 Australian artists from around who perform in over 20 languages, with code switching (switching between different languages in the one song) a recurrent feature. Compiled by Brendan Palmer, producer of the SBS Radio program Alchemy and prominent local and international DJ and electronica artist, Sonic allsorts demonstrates the linguistic and cultural diversity evident in Australian hip hop.

Curse Ov Dialect were the first Australian Hip Hop Group signed in the U.S on MUSH records.   


The first book-length account of Australian hip hop was Ian Maxwell’s Phat beats, dope rhymes: Australian hip hop down under comin’ upper (2003), which focused on the Sydney scene in the mid-1990s.

“Since 1994, there have only been three major newspaper features dealing with Australian hip-hop.” – Tony Mitchell (2003)

Richard Guilliat’s Sydney Morning Herald feature ‘U.S. Eh?’ (1994) suggested that Australian youth culture in general and hip-hop in particular betrayed an allegiance to the USA, and his distortions and omissions angered many of the Sydney hip-hop community whom he had interviewed (see Mitchell 1999).

George Epaminondas’s 1999 Metro feature ‘Sista Act: The fresh faces of hip-hop’ focused on the Sydney women’s hip-hop collective Mother Tongues’ Australian tour and new release First Words, as well as other hip-hop artists such as Koolism, MetaBass’n’Breath and Sleek the Elite. He noted hip-hop’s ‘lack of mainstream recognition … in Australia by major record labels, radio stations and media in particular’ (1994: 4), but his article contained such basic, glaring factual errors as stating that MC Trey was Filipino-Australian (she is Fijian-Australian) and Sleek the Elite was from Melbourne (he is from Sydney) as to totally discredit it.

Downsyde released the first Hip Hop on vinyl from W.A.



Hip Hop was added to the ARIA Awards.

By the early 2000s,the Australian Record Industry Association began to recognise the growth of interest within Australia and then in 2004 introduced a new category in their annual awards,’Best Urban Release’ (artists working primarily within the urban genre,e.g.: R&B,hip hop,soul,funk,reggae and dancehall). The inaugural award was won by Koolism for their album,Random Thoughts. 

Kool Herc was in Sydney in 2004 to witness a key moment in Australian hip hop, when Canberra duo Koolism – whose name is a direct reference to Kool Herc himself – received
an ARIA Award for their album Random thoughts. Danielsan’s ARIA Award acceptance speech in 2004 caused a stir in music industry circles after he dedicated the Award, presented to Koolism by US commercial hip hop crew The Black Eyed Peas, to all the Australian hip hop artists who were “keeping it real” and refusing to be “fake wannabe Americans”.

The Australian DJ then turned to The Black Eyed Peas and said, “Oh, I didn’t mean you of course”. It was a nicely symbolic moment, illustrating how Australian hip hop had developed its own distinctively diverse identity, far from its supposed “origins” in US hip hop. Or, as Sereck of Def Wish Cast put it some years earlier when summing up the “indigenising” local dynamism of Sydney hip hop in defiance of any African-American prerogative: “They’ll tell you it’s a black thing, man, but it’s not. It’s our thing” (cited in Maxwell 2003, p.67).

Koolism later held a celebratory barbecue in Canberra, at which a highly supportive Kool Herc was invited to DJ. Their award was celebrated by most of the Australian hip hop community, as it was the first major mainstream Australian music industry acknowledgment of local hip hop – albeit under the rather meaningless rubric of Best Urban Release.

Koolism beat a number of mainstream R & B artists for the award, representing what had been by necessity an underground music scene for at least 15 years. – Tony Mitchell

While the introduction of  the “best urban release” category was undoubtedly a positive step for Aussie hip hop, eight years on the consensus remains to be that the recording industry has been slow on the uptake in recognising its importance.

In 2004, Crookneck Records released the compilation 15.OZ vinyl: 15 years of Australian hip-hop on vinyl.

This compilation was mixed by DJ Ransom, a veteran from the AKA Brothers.

Lazy Grey Releases Banned In QLD

Australia’s first ever concept album was released by Brethren 

In 2004 Brethren released their first full-length album Beyond Underground. The album was produced by Wizdm, and included guest appearances by some Australian hip-hop artists; Morganics, Sereck, Sleeping Monk, Hoodsta, Mass Mc and DJs Nic Toth, Diggz, Flagrant and Nino Brown.
The album was the first ever Australian hip-hop concept album and took 3 years to complete. Each track on the album depicted a part of an original sci-fi story written by Brethren, with inspiration drawn from films such as Journey to the Center of the EarthWar of the Worlds, and Mad Max. The album was released with a limited edition full size comic book, with illustrations by Mistery, which depicted the story line from each track.

All The Ladies: Women in Hip Hop Documentary and a series of short profiles on women in the Australian Hip Hop scene was released

In 2004,independent film-maker Oriel Guthrie debuted her documentary Skip Hop at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The film includes live footage of freestyle battles and prominent gigs around Australia,as well as interviews with Def Wish Cast,DJ Peril,Hilltop Hoods,Koolism,Blades of Hades,Maya Jupiter,The Herd and Wicked Force Breakers.


In 2005, domestic hip-hop showed definite signs of commercial potential.

Triple J favourites the Hilltop Hoods played sell-out gigs at The Corner on four successive nights while their album, The Calling(released on Obese), is fast approaching platinum status. Channel (V)’s Aussie Friggin Hip-Hop MC Search, a hunt for the country’s best undiscovered rapper, attracted more than 5000 entries as it travelled to 14 Australian cities.

Meanwhile, a Melbourne rapper, Justice, won Scribble Jam in America, the prestigious MCing battle that counts celebrated artists such as Eminem among its former entrants.

 “It’s just blown up,” says Pegz, reflecting on the Australian talent boom. “It’s gone from being this tiny little community, where there were maybe a couple of dozen crews and artists doing their thing, to now when you’ve got literally hundreds.”

The first Australian to win the USA’s Scribble Jam MC Battle competition

Justice rose to prominence as the most prolific battle MC in Australian hiphop history, with victory at the 2004 Australian MC Battle for Supremacy and the 2005 Australia vs New Zealand MC Battle for Supremacy culminating in victory at the 2005 Scribble Jam MC Battle, making him the first non-American to do so

 Layla’s debut album Heretik was one of the most anticipated Australian hip hop albums of 2005

WA’s first Hip Hop compilation was released by Rob Shaker


The first female Australian Hip Hop Artist to be signed to an American Label.


The Hilltop Hood’s album ‘Hard Road’ became the first Australian Hip Hop Album to take the No. 1 position in the ARIA Charts. 

At the 2006 and 2007 Awards it was won by Hilltop Hoods for their album The Hard Road and its orchestral remix album respectively.In 2008 the ARIA Award was won by Bliss n Eso for their album Flying Colours.



Though not at the forefront of Australian hip hop scene,Aboriginal rappers such as Brothablack,the South West Syndicate,Local Knowledge,Lez Beckett and the Native Ryme Syndicate produce songs that address the situation of Indigenous Australians.] One of their musical influences is the American hip hop group Public Enemy.

Since the early 1980s,many crews have focused on their presentation in the eyes of their competitors,portraying their skills as better and their turf as tougher.

While very few recordings by Aboriginal hip hop artists have been released beyond
hard-to-find compilations, most of them have performed widely in both Aboriginal and
“whitefella” contexts, and have received airplay on Triple J as well as community stations
such as Koori Radio. The aforementioned Klub Koori events are the largest Aboriginal
hip hop events to be held in Australia. 

Through the workshops of MCs such as Morganics, BrothaBlack,
Wire MC, Combat Wombat’s Lab Rats and others, hip hop skills, particularly MCing,
beatboxing and breakdancing, have been adopted by Aboriginal young people and
combined with more traditional aspects of Aboriginal culture such as oral storytelling
and dance.

As Wire MC has stated, hip hop has been fully indigenised into contemporary
Aboriginal culture: “I’m a modern day blackfella, this is still Dreamtime for me,
Hip hop is the new clapsticks, hip hop is the new corroboree” (cited in Iten 2003,

But Aboriginal hip hop gets little in the way of wide acknowledgment within the
Australian hip hop scene, occupying a dual subcultural status within the subculture itself- Tony Mitchell


In 2006 the ABC television program Compass devoted an episode to the Australian hip hop community. The program underlined how many local hip hop practices connect to spiritual and educational values in ways which provide young people with a sense of self-worth and identity

In its roughly 20-year history, Australian hip hop has developed its own distinctively multicultural, indigenous, localised and diverse identities, accents, expressions and frames of reference which bear increasingly less relation to either the US forms of commercial rap music which dominate global broadcasting, or to US hip hop in general. In its espousal of an educational field of activity, its promotion of literacies and, in some cases, a strongly politicised engagement with national social issues, it has proved that it has become a
powerful vehicle for self-expression among Australia’s youth. – Tony Mitchell


In December, ABC Television aired the documentary Words from the City

Which included interviews with a number of high profile Australian hip hop artists from around the country including: Hilltop Hoods,Koolism,Downsyde,TZU,MC Layla,Bliss n Eso,MC Trey,Wire MC and Maya Jupiter.


Golden Era Records was founded in 2009 by the Hilltop Hoods, who left Obese in order to handle their own work. 


360 started Rapper Tag


During a 2012 Public Enemy performance at Melbourne’s Esplanade Hotel, Flava Flav boldly declared that Australian hip-hop was something Australia should be proud of. “It [Australian hip-hop] is not only equal with the northern hemisphere, but is far exceeding it”, the hip-hop jester told a perplexed and confused crowd.


Munkimuk was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall Of Fame.


In October 2014, Australian artist K21 appeared on a song, titled “Pas rentable”, by French hip hop artist LinkRust.


Parramatta Emcee D-Minor was the first Australian Artist to win the World Championships of Performing Arts for the Vocal/Rap Category


Beni Bjah was the first Indigenous Artist to win the WAM Song of the Year Award.

Australia’s first full-length Hip Hop feature film by Morganics ft. Wire Mc


Retayner & Pyrex release a track with 30 Australian Hip Hop Artists!

Featuring: Alex Jones, Shem One (RDC), Gutz, Minas (Art Of War), Adam Koots, Sinks, Sammy Scissors, Downpat, Bigs, Shookz, Vanguard, Aerows, Strike Won (How Many Deep), Selzy, Lumes, Uterbay, Little Jase, Damian Ilic, Muttley (City Wide), Crave, Carlito, Fiz The Ill Kid, Eloquor, Sally Sherriff, Plire, Traz, L1, Wouldz & Brisbane Jimmy


Australia’s First Ever Hip Hop Diploma 


World Record Breaking Cypher – 59 Artists in 1 Track



 Urban-Xpressions and Stealth hip-hop festivals which have taken place in Sydney most years since 1998. 

” According to early protagonists like Africa Bambaataa, there were also quite a few white kids around too – so rap’s origins are , if anything, a multicultural hybrid rather than an expression of an African-American monoculture.

This has made it easier for rap to be adopted in other parts of the world, where hip hop’s advocates’ claims to an essentially (or essentialist) black identity are not so pressing, and it is often further hybridised and combined with local idioms, musical forms and dance moves. And rap’s multicultural origins are frequently magnified in other parts of the world: in France, which probably has the biggest hip hop scene after the USA (the January 1998Source states there are 120 French hip hop crews, but that is a conservative estimate), there is a high proportion of rappers from West African, North African, Arab and Mediterranean migrant origins; in Germany there is a significant proportion of Turkish, Croatian and other ‘guest worker’ migrant rappers, while in Australia there are rappers from Lebanese, Pacific Islander, Chilean and Filippino backgrounds.

This multicultural diasporic flow in hip hop suggests it is a form which can be adopted and adapted to express the concerns of ethnic minorities everywhere.”

When US academics do acknowledge rap music in other parts of the world, they tend to see it rather patronisingly as derivative evidence of the influence of African-American culture on the rest of the world rather than looking at it on its own merits as a transplanted idiom. I want to conclude this section with a quote from African American writer George Lipsitz’s, book Dangerous Crossroads: – Tony Mitchell

“Through the conduits of commercial culture, music made by aggrieved inner-city populations in Canberra, Kingston, or Compton becomes part of everyday life and culture for affluent consumers in the suburbs of Cleveland, Coventry or Cologne.”


Ten Subcultural Aspects of Australian Hip-hop -by Tony Mitchell

The following ten aspects of Australian hip-hop, based on observed discourses in the Sydney hip-hop scene over a five-year period, could all be regarded as contributing to its designation as a subculture:

1. It often locates itself – and is located by mainstream media – as ‘underground’ in relation to the music industry, the mass media, and mainstream society. This is a principal defining feature of its ‘subordinate, subaltern or subterranean’ status.

2. Another important feature of its ‘subaltern’ status is its strong DIY (Do-It-Yourself) aspect in producing recordings, concerts, media and public events.

3. It has been subject to sporadic bursts of commercial commodification and incorporation as a musical genre (rap) which serve to further entrench and consolidate notions of authenticity.

4. Graffiti remains a largely illegal, clandestine and surveillance-defying subcultural activity.

5. Hip-hop remains a largely male-dominated, music-based activity with strong homologies between its four elements.

6. Hip-hop practices tend to follow – with local variations – internationally recognised, US-derived dress codes, musical idioms, dance movements and visual styles.

7. Hip-hop practices are based on strong ethical, stylistic and largely universal notions of authenticity delineating ‘true hip-hop’ from commercial commodifications.

8. There is a strong attachment by its advocates to the four elements of hip-hop as alternative epistemologies and as important identifiers of places of origin, neighbourhood, family, community and ethnic group identity (through crews, posses etc.). This is linked to a strong pedagogical dimension.

9. There is widespread use of different forms of stylistic bricolage in hip-hop practices of sampling, MCing, breaking, and graffiti.

10. Most of hip-hop’s activities follow implicit ‘career’ paths complete with skill-based hierarchies, values and rules.

Additionally the non-Anglo immigrants of theses areas were attracted to hip hop because of it features in lyrics and content of racial opposition such as in African American hip hop. The American influence in Australian music and film has actually made its biggest impact in the 21st century with the internet. The internet has made American film,music,language and fashion popular worldwide .

In the industry this debate is a sore point with many Australian hip hop artists denying any association with American hip hop. One way of asserting their authenticity is by making clear that,for them,hip hop is not about race. This distinguishes Australian rap,the performers and enthusiasts of which are mostly white males,from U.S rap,which is very much associated with African American culture and style.

Although one cannot deny that hip hop originated in the U.S. and that U.S. hip hop has major influences on hip hop scenes around the globe,in emphasizing the lack of racial issues in Australian hip hop,Australian rappers imply that their hip hop scene developed separately from America’s and is its own entity. In the lyrics of Def Wish Cast it is “down under,comin’ up.” But,despite the absence of a racial undertone Australian hip hop shares the same sexualization found in its U.S. equivalent.

Maxwell believes that the teens of the area find it “exotic”. One problem is that Aussie hip hop does not play a large role in the grand scheme of things and many of the artists now it saying “once you leave our shores you realise how small a part we play”. This tends to create a problem for the style of Aussie music as they may not be able to create their own identity and have to follow the more traditional Western hip hop fads.

As it progressed,Australian hip hop has taken on a greater diversity with influences from New Zealand and United Kingdom,but also by developing its own unique flavour with a focus on the Aussie battler,jovial,larrikin lyrics and the heavy use of samples and sound bites.

There are,however,many instances of artists and their works that use their lyrics to analyse and discuss society,politics and how Australian suburbia interacts with the Australian culture amongst other such subjects. A theme that is becoming more and more prevalent throughout the work of various Australian MCs is that of their individual emotional struggles throughout life. Australian hip hop is now at a world standardand various artists have proven that they can equal or even exceed the skills of the American counterparts.


Later in Melbourne radio station 106.7 3PBSFM featured the radio show Steppin’ 2 da A.M with DJ Krisy the show ran for over 5 years and featured almost the entire Australian hip hop scene including regular dj Spots by DJ Ransom,DJ FX and many more.

Also in Melbourne after Steppin 2 da A.M ended was a show called The Formula with hosts Stewbakka,Bias B and DJ FX that run for many years,when ‘The formula’ show ended the Hosts started a show at 3RRR Triple R called ‘Werdburner’ with Hosts Stewbakka and Bias B.

On 3PBSFM in Melbourne was a show called ‘Hitt’n Switches’ with Hosts Reason,Pegs,Minas,Newsense and DJ FX on the Turntables this show ran for many years and had a strong following with many Australian hip hop artists doing interviews and live to air freestyles.

3PBS Still hosts 2 hip hop show’s with ‘Rampage’ hosted by Zack covering oldshool hip hop from the beginnings of 1979 until the golden era of the late 80s and early 90s as well as ‘Hippopotamus Rex’ with Ronan that covers hip hop world wide.

Iconic Melbourne radio station Triple R featured the dedicated hip-hop program “Wordburner” for many years,replacing it in 2007 with Son Zu and Doc Felix’s program “Top Billin”. Additionally Gavan Purdy’s long running program “Can You Dig It” features a substantial hip-hop component.

Influential youth radio station Triple J introduced the Hip Hop Show,a weekly program initially hosted by Nicole Foote,then rapper Maya Jupiter and now (2008) by Hau from Koolism.

In Tasmania,Launceston station City Park Radio (7LTN) featured the weekly hip hop show Ghettoblast,which was begun in 1985 by Ben Little and continued for about 17 years,manned by a rotating crew of devotees including Large B,Kingy,DJ D-Swift,Dice,Dready,Bust One and others. Before it ceased in 2002,Ghettoblast was for many years considered the longest running hip hop show in Australia. (Brisbane’s Phat Tape has since taken over that honour). Meanwhile,in Hobart,J Robin and P Bourke had a dance music show on 7THE called Black Satin & Plastic in the mid-late 80s,which featured a lot of hip hop. In 1988,Dope DJ Double D (later DJ D-Swift),inspired by Black Satin & Plastic,started occasional midnight-to-dawn hip hop shows on 7THE,before starting the weekly Live from the Terrordome in 1989,which lasted 2–3 years.


In August,2006 the ABC program Compass showed a documentary entitled The Mistery [sic] of Hip Hop which explored the cultural movement and popularity of hip hop in Australia. The film followed one of the “founding fathers” of the Sydney Hip-Hop scene Matthew “Mistery” Peet. Mistery works full time as graffiti artist and is also emcee/rapper in the group Brethren. The 28 minute documentary looked at the “four elements of hip hop”: breakdancing,DJing,rapping,and graffiti. It featured interviews from the then host of Triple J’s hip-hop show Maya Jupiter,the other half of the group Brethren: Wizdm and DJ Kool Herc.[30]

Oriel Guthrie also documented the 2004 and 2005 events and released them on DVDs. MC Justice went on to win the 2005 Scribble Jam MC Battle,USA. The first Australian to win the competition


Other notable zines include Hype (a pre-eminent graffiti magazine with a worldwide following through the late 1980s and 1990s) it was the first full colour graffiti magazine in the world,Zest,Raptanite,Arfek,Damn Kids,Artillery,Blitzkrieg,Slingshot and others. 

Following the popular Out4Fame: Battle For Supremacy tournaments,Out4Fame Magazine was launched as a free publication. Although the magazine achieved limited success within the local scene copies of the magazine soon became collectors items as the tournaments gained popularity. Out4Fame Magazine was later relaunched as Out4Fame presents ACCLAIM Magazine,later to simply become ACCLAIM Magazine which is currently distributed throughout Australia as well as in other countries including New Zealand,Singapore,the UK among others .

With Out4Fame being removed from the free publication market this created a gap for a new publication to be founded & Australia soon saw the release of the first Peak Street Magazine (Issue Zero). Peak Street Magazine has since released two further issues but have yet to put out another issue since mid-2008.


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1994a, 1994b, 1997b, 2003; Maxwell and Bambrick, 1994c; Mitchell 1995a and b, 1996, 1999, 2001,
2003; Iveson, 1997; D’Souza and Iveson, 1999), but little which makes explicit reference to subcultural
theory. One exception is Maxwell (2003)

Houston A.Baker, Jr., Black studies, Rap and the Academy, University of Chicago Press, 1993. Marshall Berman, ‘”Justice/Just Us”: Rap and Social Justice in America’, in Andy Merrifield & Erik Swyngedouw (eds.), The Urbanization of Injustice, New York University Press, 1997. Simon Frith, ‘Preface’, in Tarja Hautamäki & Helmi Järviluoma (eds), Music on Show: Issues of Performance, University of Tampere, Department of Folk Tradition, 1998. Paul Gilroy (1994).'”After the Love Has Gone”: bio-politics and etho-poetics in the black public sphere’, Public Culture vol.7, no.1, Fall, p.51. Richard Guilliatt (1994) ‘U.S.eh? Why young Australia is so smitten with American culture’ Sydney Morning Herald, 25 June, pp.1A, 4A. George Lipsitz, Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place, London, Verso, 1994. Ian Maxwell (1995) ‘Steppin Freestylee: improvised rap and the negotiation of community in the Sydney hip hop scene’, Unpublished paper, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Glasgow, University of Stathclyde. Ian Maxwell (1994a) ‘Def Wish cast “Down Under Comin’ Upper”:Rapping the Westside’, Unpublished Paper, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Lismore, Southern Cross University. Ian Maxwell & Nikki Bambrick (1994) ‘Discourses of Culture and Nationalism in Sydney Hip Hop’, Perfect Beat vol.2 no.1, July. William Eric Perkins (ed.) Droppin’ Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1996. Russell A. Potter, Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism, SUNY, 1995. Diane Powell (1994) Out West:Perceptions of Sydney’s Western Suburbs, Sydney, Allen & Unwin. Roland Robertson, ‘Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity’, in Featherstone, Lash & Robertson (eds), Global Modernities, London, Sage, 1995.  Tricia Rose (1994) Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Wesleyan University Press.


All the ladies 2003, documentary, Hughson Gyrl Productions. Directed by Colleen Hughson &Mary Quinsacara.

Basic equipment 1997, documentary, Livewire Film & Television Production. Directed by Paul
Beat Street 1984, Orion Pictures. Directed by Stan Latham.
Blaktrax 2004, ‘Local knowledge: The message’, television program, SBS Television Indigenous
Media Unit.
Compass 2006, ‘The mystery of hip hop’, television program, Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
6 August.
Desert Rap 2000, television program, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Message stick 2001, ‘A place of peace’, television program, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Indigenous Unit.
Pizza 2000–2005, television program, SBS Television.
The Deadlys 2005, television program, SBS Television Indigenous Media Unit, <http://deadlys.
Wild Style 1983, documentary, First Run Features. Directed by Charlie Ahearn




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