Started in Year
Koolism is an Australian hip hop duo originating from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
The members are lyricist Hau Latukefu (born Langomi-e-Hau Latukefu, 1976, Queanbeyan, Australia) and producer/DJ/musician Danielsan Ichiban (born Daniel Elleson, 1975, Auckland, New Zealand).
Hau is Fatty Boomstix
appeared on the compilation Culture Of Kings Volume 1
Koolism’s sound is far from being formulaic but it is consistent and always quality
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 (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award for their album Part 3: Random thoughts. The duo, made up of Tongan-Australian MC Hau and DJ Danielsan, had previously released a number of distinctively Pacific island-inflected tracks, including a track in Tongan, with MC Hau name checking his Tongan ancestors on the group’s 2003 EP Blue notes. 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
Koolism’s tape is peppered with Aussies references from Shane Warne to John Howard to Crocodile Dundee to Dawn Frazer – who are all dissed or criticised – and Boomstix’s accent in unmistakably Antipodean, but there are ethnic undercurrents here which take it beyond a self-conscious celebration of Australianness. And it’s unlikely that this Canberra group will be heard in Cleveland, Coventry or Cologne, since only 50 copies of Koolism’s tape have been released, and Australian hip hop is still a distinctly underground phenomenon, both in terms of its oppositional stance towards mainstream Australian and the way it is ignored by the Australian music industry. Koolism shows how the black ethnic identity markers of much US rap have become brown ethnic identity markers in Pacific Islander rap. This is something which is much more predominant in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where rap was much more easily absorbed into Maori and other Polynesian rhetorical traditions – like patere in Maori, which means a form of abusive public discourse – one Maori dictionary even translates it directly as ‘rap.’ – Tony Mitchell
Featured on Culture of Kings Volume 1 released in 2000 on Obese Records