Started in Year
“Sydney group SOUND UNLIMITED, who were signed to multinational company SONY never received full respect from the legions of hardcore Hip-Hop fans, because their music lacked that one element essential to a critical audience . . . Dopeness. They released a few singles and an LP and then changed their name to RENEGADE FUNK TRAIN after a reshuffle behind the scenes. Blacktown inhabitant D-MAN also released a few singles that fell off the face of the earth, probably he went for the pop jugular and failed. He then nobly re-appeared to disappear again with another single a few years later.” – Blaze- http://www.bombhiphop.com/kangasty.htm
(1990) – Sound Unlimited Posse – PEACE BY PEACE 12�
(1991) – Sound Unlimited Posse – UNITY 12�
(1992) – Sound Unlimited Posse – KICKIN’ TO THE UNDERSOUND 12” (cd-single)
(1992) – Sound Unlimited Posse – A POSTCARD FROM THE EDGE OF THE UNDERSIDE LP
(1992) – Sound Unlimited Posse – SATURDAY NIGHT 12�
Sydney group SOUND UNLIMITED, who were signed to multinational company SONY never received full respect from the legions of hardcore Hip-Hop fans, because their music lacked that one element essential to a critical audience . . . Dopeness. – Blaze
You may not have heard of Rosano Martienz, but you�ve probably heard him, or at the very least seen some of his work. One of the pioneers of Australian hip hop in the �90s, Martienz has worked across a vast number of areas from street art, to break-dancing and in music. Now he has returned to his first love, fashion, heading the design team behind new street wear label Je Roq Seven. Je Roq Seven wear their hip-hop influences on their sleave, but, with unexpected silhouettes and cleaver, attractive graphics, their work is far from predictable. We caught up with Rosano Martienz for some quick questions.
After everything else you�ve done, what drew you to fashion?
I actually started in fashion. I used to customise my own clothes (with Mum�s help! ) since early childhood. In all my other creative ventures fashion has always played a major role � from making our own stage outfits (when I was a performer with Sound Unlimited and Renegade Funktrain ) to styling our video clips and press photos.
If you could change the style of any public figure, who would it be and how?
I�d make Jesus into a manga style samurai warrior.
You were supposed to work with Andy Warhol, but he went and died on you, tell us about that, how did you feel?
Disappointed, to say the least! I was studying fine arts at the National Art School in East Sydney and was asked by the owners of the Oz Rock Hotel to do a collaborative piece with Andy for their grand opening. Andy had been shown our work (legendary graf crew, Future Art Beat Four) and was reportedly excited about doing some work with �more street artists� as he�d just finished a series with Samo, a.k.a. Jean Michel Basquiat. Quite sad really, we dug his stuff.
Is break dancing hard on clothes? Can Je Roq Seven threads survive it?
Absolutely, I road test every garment myself before it leaves the studio (laughs).
What�s the biggest hip-hop stereotype? Is it accurate?
All rappers are misogynistic, drug dealin� materialists. Only if you follow the pop charts�
Westside Posse – appeared on Down Under By Law , Australia’s first Hip Hop compilation album released in 1988. https://www.discogs.com/Various-Down-Under-By-Law/release/3134736
A postcard from the edge of the under-side, released by Columbia/Sony in 1992, was the only Australian rap album to come out on a major label for more than ten years. It was mastered in Boston by the Antunes Brothers – much of the work done without Sound Unlimited’s participation – on state-of-the-art equipment using live instrumentation. A number of samples used on individual tracks gave the album a somewhat Australian flavour, including Daddy Cool’s anthemic 1971 Oz Rock track ‘Eagle rock’ and Men At Work’s 1983 US and UK chart topper ‘Down under’. Sound Unlimited, who consisted of Chilean-Filippino brother and sister MCs Rossano and T-Na, Kode Blue, an Anglo-Australian, and DJ Vlad BTL, of Russian extraction, began life as the Westside Posse. In 1988, their Public Enemy-influenced track called ‘Pull the trigger’ was featured on Down under by law, a compilation of Australian hip hop released on Virgin Records. Nearly all the tracks on Down under by law show their US influences in very obvious ways. As such, the album is a measure of how far Australian hip hop has progressed in defining its own sound in the past two decades. While Blaze (1994) has described Down under by law as “very poor” and “a tub of lard”, he acknowledges ‘Pull the Trigger’ as being “the closest to what we wanted”. Sound Unlimited earned the scorn of Sydney hardcore hip hoppers after teaming up with the Antunes Brothers – who had formerly worked with US pop group New Kids on the Block – to record A postcard from the edge of the under-side. Their hip hop image suffered a further blow in the late 1990s when they reinvented themselves as Renegade Funk Train and pursued a blatantly commercial pop-soul and R & B sound. In stark contrast to the production methods used on Sound Unlimited’s A postcard from the edge of the under-side, Def Wish Cast recorded Knights of the underground table in a suburban garage on a four track machine, with the aid of turntables, old records, a VCR and rented videos such as John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981) and a selection of B-grade horror flicks. – Tony Mitchell
SUP were the first local hip hop outfit to be signed to a major label. Well, weren’t there some lessons to be learned there??? – Hau
Formerly known as the Westside Posse, Sound Unlimited emerged as the first Australian group to be signed to a major label. They released “A Postcard from the Edge of the Under-Side” through Sony/Columbia in 1992. 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
Burwood NSW, Australia