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
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
It should go without saying that Hip Hop was fairly widespread ( although underground ) the first documented exposure of Hip Hop on National TV was the song and accompanying video “Buffalo Gals’ was shown on the Australian television music show Sound Unlimited.
The music show was broadcast on Network Seven. Buffalo Gals peaked at 18 in the Australian ARIA Charts.
The show was staged in a Manhattan basketball court and featured images of graffiti and break dancers. This left an impression on many teenagers and many started attempting the dance moves they saw on the show.
While in New York City looking for a support act for Bow Wow Wow, McLaren got the idea for the song when he went to an outdoor concert (known as a “Block Party”) by Afrika Bambaataa and Universal Zulu Nation. This is where he was exposed to Hip-Hop for the first time and discovered the scratching technique he would use on this song. Most of the scratching and the beat of the song were composed by Trevor Horn.
In the liner notes for Duck Rock, McLaren wrote that this track was “recorded with the World’s Famous Supreme Team and Zulu singers backing them up with the words ‘she’s looking like a hobo.’ The performance by the Supreme Team may require some explaining, but suffice to say they are DJs from New York City who have developed a technique using record players like instruments, replacing the power chord of the guitar with the needle of a gramophone, moving it manually backwards and forwards across the surface of a record. We call it scratching.”
Charisma Records were not initially keen on releasing the song, but relented after a strong positive response to the first broadcast of the track by DJ Kid Jensen
” Hip-Hop culture also migrated here, but not by boat or by plane. It came via television, cinema ; radio, circa 1983/84. Like most other countries it came in a loosely held package. Strangely enough it manifested itself here via an Englishman`s version of New York. Yes it was Malcolm McLarens doing, moreso it was the filmclip to his “Buffalo Gals” track. Although the song isn`t all that, the visuals were. We heard the sounds of, The Worlds Famous Supreme Team scratching, the Rock Steady Crew breakdancing and . . . Dondi piecing up a Buffalo burner. Shit was too much at once.
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
Sounds, originally broadcast as Sound Unlimited, was a popular Australian television series featuring pop and rock music, live performances, music videos and interviews. It was broadcast on Saturday mornings, from 9 a.m. for three hours, on the Seven Network beginning in late 1974 to end in December 1987.
For most of its run it was hosted by former disc jockey, Donnie Sutherland. It is often credited as the first of its kind in the world, created because Australia was too far away for artists to travel to for live performances.
Sounds, originally broadcast as Sound Unlimited, was a popular Australian television series featuring pop and rock music, live performances, music videos and interviews. It was broadcast on Saturday mornings, from 9 a.m. for three hours, on the Seven Network beginning in late 1974 to end in December 1987. For most of its run it was hosted by former disc jockey, Donnie Sutherland. It is often credited as the first of its kind in the world, created because Australia was too far away for artists to travel to for live performances.
Sounds Unlimited (initially without the plural) was the first live studio programme broadcast in colour in Australia from 1 March 1975. Many local and international music artists appeared on the show. By May 1978 it was screened on 21 stations across the country. According to Sutherland, “When colour was starting, families would be in the shopping centres on Saturday morning and they would see our show – and a lot of our material was in colour. Not only did that help sell sets, but it also established Sound Unlimited in people’s minds.” It broadcast the final public appearance, on 30 September 1978, of Australian rock’n’roller, Johnny O’Keefe, who died a week later, on 6 October.
Sydney entertainer Dave Mason-Cox participated in a novelty project in early 1983 with cohort Don Bruner the result was called “Aussie Rap” backed with an instrumental mix called “Aussie Rap – The Dub With No Beer”.
This song would have to be one of the first attempts at making a proper Oz rap track but it certainly doesn’t have the intenseness of its American counterparts and it is filled with ockerisms and lingo only a local would get…”mum likes Kamahl dad likes Slim”…and it makes me smile everytime I hear it…especially the continued use of the phrase “get down” which becomes obvious at the end…!
Composition by Don Bruner & Dave Mason-Cox
This track appeared on the ‘Rap Attack’ compilation in 1985 – https://www.discogs.com/Various-Rap-Attack/release/2852306
In compilation 15.OZ vinyl: 15 years of Australian hip-hop on vinyl by DJ Ransom, according to the album’s accompanying liner notes (written by various leading Australian MCs), the first Australian hip hop release appeared in 1983. A novelty record entitled ‘The Aussie rap’ by the Average Aussie Band, it appears to have sunk without a trace. However, Sydney hip hop luminary Blaze (1994) regards the 1988 independent release ‘Combined talent’/‘My destiny’ by Just Us as the first “true” Australian hip hop record. – Tony Mitchell
Instrumental of the 12 has a full bboy breakdown with the meanest bassline that didnt appear on the telmak version – J Red
The Thong Clap rap, 1983. It was conceived as a piece of satire, intended to poke fun at the Australian obsession with thongs – not skimpy underwear, but rubber footwear (flip-flops).
It was performed by my brother Vyvyan and I, although the credit on the record went to Thong de Plume. The thong drum solo was performed on anything that made a noise that I found in the studio kitchen. The producer/engineer/mentor was Corey Fite, who also played keyboards on 2001 Thongs for Beginners.
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
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.
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Vapors was an independent, underground, Australian, Hip Hop magazine. If there was a Hip Hop magazine that came out before it then I don’t know about it. I knew the man behind the magazine as Blaze through the Loungeroom & Next Level Records.
I bought my first copy after school at Disco City in Parramatta. It was issue 5, December 1989 – the NWA issue. In the pre-internet era this thing was a goldmine of information. To this day I still seek out songs that were favorably reviewed within it’s pages.
I went rummaging through boxes in my Mum’s garage looking for them the other day. When I found them I was surprised to see they had deteriorated. The paper seems to be disintegrating or maybe it has been eaten by some insect? I thought I’d start to scan and share them before they perish beyond salvageability.
I don’t have all the issues. If you have any copies of this awesome resource please get in touch. I hope you will let me scan them and share them here.
Vaporz was the first hip hop magazine 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
Def Threat allegedly released the first Hip Hop album in Perth, followed by Gangstar and, Damkev & Comp (Thu Rubbishmen)
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
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.
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
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.
”2SER and shows like the Mothership Connection were the hub for hip-hop in Sydney,” says Levinson, stage name Urthboy. They were ”what hip-hop kids would listen to religiously … And now we are seeing massive growth in the hip-hop scene and they’re on commercial radio, and the horse has bolted.”
”Without 2SER, there’s a very good chance that the Herd would never have existed,” says Levinson, who wound up co-hosting a program on unreleased music and taking others to a wider audience. ”2SER was just instrumental in us being able to communicate with people.”
Sydney, Australia’s Funkin’ Lessons played all underground hip-hop on 102.5 FM (2MBS) from 1993 to 1996. The show was on from 12AM to 3AM and was hosted by DJs Blaze and Dr. Phibes.
2MBS played mostly classical and jazz music throughout the day but the 12AM to 3AM time slot was reserved for other styles of music.
– Robert Sacchinelli
Madhouse aired on Sydney, Australia’s 2SER 107.3 FM and was hosted by DJ’s Blaze (of Funkin’ Lessons), Ming D and Mark Walton who took turns hosting the show.
It was 90 mins long mostly every fortnight playing underground hip-hop but occasionally someone else would host and play house or club music.
It ran from 1989 to 1991.
– Robert Sacchinelli
Between October 6, 1990 and sometime around 1996, Miguel D’Souza hosted The Mothership Connection, a weekly hip-hop show 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.
Sydney’s first hip hop show started in October 1990. It was called The Mothership Connection and aired on 2SER every Tuesday afternoon.
Well before hip-hop took hold in mainstream Australia, Sydney’s aspiring MCs, breakdancers and others thirsty for its sound would tune in to the long-running Mothership Connection show on radio 2SER and hear freestyle rapping from Australians and interviews with overseas notables among the hip-hop treats.
Tim Levinson was among them, and what the Blue Mountains youngster heard in the 1990s on the community station – which turns 30 tomorrow – was a pivotal influence in becoming one of Australia’s leading rappers as frontman of the Herd.”2SER and shows like the Mothership Connection were the hub for hip-hop in Sydney,” says Levinson, stage name Urthboy. They were ”what hip-hop kids would listen to religiously … And now we are seeing massive growth in the hip-hop scene and they’re on commercial radio, and the horse has bolted.”The station’s airplay of the fledgling band when they struggled to get their music heard – far from their top-10 status today – is typical of its supportive relationship with home-grown music and a prime reason it is seen as indispensable to a vibrant music scene in Sydney.”Without 2SER, there’s a very good chance that the Herd would never have existed,” says Levinson, who wound up co-hosting a program on unreleased music and taking others to a wider audience. ”2SER was just instrumental in us being able to communicate with people.”
2SER is a community radio station in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, broadcasting on the frequency 107.3 FM
Archives can be downloaded at; https://hiphopradioarchive.org/show/355
Robust Link for https://web.archive.org/web/20041126160406/http://www.mothershipconnection.org:80/
Miguel D’Souza, a prominent advocate of Australian hip hop in Sydney weekly street music paper 3D until 1998 and through his longstanding role as host of community 243 radio station 2SER’s hip hop radio program The mothership connection, claimed that Fenech’s documentary Basic equipment managed to “document what has happened to hip hop culture in the West, and re-emphasise the point that resistance still is at the core
of Western Suburbs hip hop” (1998, p.2). D’Souza also argued, with some justification, that Sydney hip hop had become “gentrified” in the mid-1990s, moving away from its western suburbs origins to a more inner-city base – Tony Mitchell
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.
– Robert Sacchinelli
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
– PBS 106.7FM (call sign: 3PBS), also known as the Progressive Broadcasting Service, is a co-operatively owned community radio station in Melbourne, Australia, that broadcasts on 106.7FM, Digital radio and online. PBS will celebrate its 40th year of broadcast in 2019.
“I djed for Krisy’s Steppin To The AM show on and off for a couple of years in the early 90s. I don’t have many tapes of it but this one is ok. Hip Hop was gold at that time and there’s lots of good tracks on here by all kinds of big names and also some others who have slipped into obscurity. The drill at PBS every Saturday was this. 5 minutes before the show a bunch of people carrying 1200s, mixer etc would be in the foyer with Krisy trying to regulate their behaviour in some way, then at 10pm she’d play a couple cds while we plugged in the decks and everything else. No one was paid enough to buy all the new releases at the time so we had a loan system from Central Station, when we returned the records they would very carefully examine each one for fingerprints, one smudge we had to buy it. Subsequently much of the djing was done very gingerly, with fingers on the edge style the flavor. Often the studio housed up to 20 people, many were drunk and some bought bongs in on the train and literally filled the station with smoke. Every now and then the management would crack down on the antics and the language / sentiment of some songs but Krisy always seemed to manage to appease them and keep the show on air, till she got sick of it that is. Apparently it was one of the highest rating shows of the time and most definitely influenced a generation of Melbourne Hip Hop.” – https://www.mixcloud.com/The_Late_Show/11-ransom-and-dj-krissy-steppin-to-the-am-pbs-fm-27393-part1-ransom-month-of-mixes/
DJ Krisy, host of the incredible ‘Steppin To Da AM’ show on PBS in the early 1990s (pic by Raise)
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.
– PBS 106.7FM (call sign: 3PBS), also known as the Progressive Broadcasting Service, is a co-operatively owned community radio station in Melbourne, Australia, that broadcasts on 106.7FM, Digital radio and online. PBS will celebrate its 40th year of broadcast in 2019.
Released in 1999 as a tape only release on Wild Child Productions. Cover Design by DENS WCA. Featuring a collection of Australian MC’s performing live on the 3PBS Radio Show “The Formula” hosted by Bias B & Stewbakka.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
“1993 was an interesting year for the DMC because it was the only year they allowed a DJ to enter with a musical instrument and a vocalist, or a couple of DJs together.” Eddie Robless
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
a western Sydney community hip hop project directed by Morganics and Urban Theatre Projects in 1995. ‘Hip Hopera’ was a watershed for Sydney hip hop, and SWS subsequently won a Deadly Award in 2003, shortly before they broke up.
So when Guy Rundle asked Goldsworthy to write some songs for him for a cabaret show, Goldsworthy took up the challenge. The result includes a playful piece of hip-hop that includes the lines: “I have a plank for your chasm, I have plasm for your spasm, If you bring the eggs, I’ll supply the jism. If you brings the org, I’ve got the asm.” Chorus: “Sex ism sex isn’t, Sex ism, sex isn’t.” (From Hip Hopera.)
Featured Ebony Williams at age 15.
“One local attempt to combine rap and high culture was ‘Hip Hopera’, an Australia Council-funded community project run in 1996 by the theatre group Death Defying theatre with young people in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. This managed to unearth a number of new teenage and pre-teen rap posses, including some of mixed Aboriginal and Lebanese origin, whose work was showcased on an album entitled Danger. The result was then toured around schools and community centres in the Western Suburbs. This was in many ways a synthetic project based on workshopping rap music with suburban kids, and had a community theatre orientation which conflicts with some local rappers’ concept of hip hop. ” – Tony Mitchell
“Chris Smith parted with DMC in 95 I took over the national agency and ran my first national comp in 96. We held the finals at the Entech trade fair in Darling Harbour, which was a stress and a laugh at the same time. That year K.C, Skizo and Brian A.S.K entered as a 3-man team and won. ” – Stewart Hanna
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.
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
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
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
Case, Illergic & Dj Maniak
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
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
“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.
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
“When Australian Hip-Hop breaks out, these chaps will be spearheading the campaign. No sill! y gimmicks, no wack beats, no nonsense Hip-Hop”
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.
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.
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.
This compilation was mixed by DJ Ransom, a veteran from the AKA Brothers.
Not since ‘We’re All In The Same Gang’ has a hip hop community
come together to produce something so beneficial and inspirational for the scene. zHipHop.Com and AKTIFMAG have gotten some of Australia’s best graffiti writers and rappers to settle their beef and come together on screen for “TAGGING LIKE A KING”.
It’s the emotional story of a graffiti wrriter who was wak but he defied the odds and trained to be better, until he was the best. He was forced to tag the hard way-through dedication.
The music and the film will make you laugh, cry and be proud of this little thing we call hip-hop. Just listening to it makes me want to put on my tracksuit, a bandana, sweatband, grab my markers a few notepads and start practising until I am a king”- David Stratton AT THE MOVIES
The new X-Perimental category was launched this year at the Australian ITF DJ Championships (HOME Sydney) and J Red won the category hands down with his ‘word first’ VDJ Routine. The introduction of this category this year proved that with the help of technology, this category can take this artform to a level never imagined. On Saturday 17th December J Red made history and took out the ITF World DJ Championships in Prague. There was more than 30 DJs from 15 nations competing in 5 categories: Advancement, Beatjuggling, Scratching, Experimental Class, and Teams.
In addition to the Aussie Friggin Hop Hop heats happening in conjunction with Detour, Channel [V] will broadcast a 12 part series called ‘Aussie Friggin Hip Hop – Busted’ from March 28 – April 14
Allegedly the first festival dedicated purely to hip-hop. The all-ages event, hosted by MASS MC and BOY TOM. The event ran from 12 midday to 12 midnight featuring a line up of over 23 Australian and international hip-hop acts and DJs.
Beginning with the year 1983, this volume depicts the rapid changes in styles in these early years as Melbournes graffiti changed from simple scrawls to intricate murals of astonishing complexity
I think rappertag is one of the most positives things to happen to the Australian Hip Hop scene period. It sounds kind of corny to describe it like this, but its sort of unified the scene and brought everyone together. It wasn’t about one particular style of rapper sticking to their own, it was whoever. It’s been great we’ve had all extremes. I love it. – 360