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Mighty Big Crime is an Australian hip hop duo made up of Gumpy Phillips and Tricky J a.k.a. Justin Lodge. They are credited as having put out, in 1987, Australia’s first hip hop release, “16 Tons” b/w “Humber Mania Time”. “16 Tons” is a rap reworking of a Merle Travis country song “Sixteen Tons”. That single and the follow up, a cover of Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out”, both reach the top 10. Their video for “Dr. Dynamite” was nominated for a 1991 ARIA Award for Best Video. It was released by Virgin Records and Criteria Productions.
World Famous Producer David Courtney was in Australia in 1986 and after seeing 2 emcees on stage at a pub he gave them the name Mighty Big Crime and he secured a deal with Virgin Records. They recorded 2 cover songs, the classic 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Schools Out by Alice Kooper, both of which charted in the Top 10.
The single was a Beastie Boys derivative and the Melbourne based duo soon disbanded, in 1991 both were members of flower power group, Freaked Out Flower Children
This enterprising bunch of musicians/scene stealers appeared in 1991 playing dance music versions of 1960s flower power hits. Gumpy Phillips had previously been a member of mid-1980s Melbourne band Battle Happy along with Phil Ceberano (guitar). The band issued one independent single `Evil Donald'/`Decline and Fall' on the Rampant label in 1985 before disappearing. Phillips and Tricky J had also worked as a rap act and issued one single. Sophie Lee was a television presenter (Bugs Bunny, Sex) and actor (Flying Doctors).
The Freaked Out Flower Children's first and only hit was a reworking of Eric Burdon and War's `Spill the Wine' (#31 in February 1992). The band's debut album, Love In (December 1991), was full of syncopated beats and breezy melodies wrapped around tunes like Barry McGuire's `Eve of Destruction', Five Man Electric Band's `Signs' and Jimi Hendrix's `Purple Haze'. `Beautiful People' was issued as the second single. The retro-cabaret and day-glo focus of the ensemble, however, did little to foster a sense of longevity and the concept had run its course by 1993. Sophie Lee later appeared in the 1996 Australian feature film The Castle.
Mighty Big Crime were an early Australian hip hopduo, formed in 1986 by Tricky J (Julien Lodge) and Gumpy (A Phillips). They released one of the first hip hop recordings in that country with "16 Tons" (1987), a cover version of Merle Travis' country music song, "Sixteen Tons". Their debut album, Get Outta My Face, appeared in April 1989. By 1991 both were members of a flower powergroup, Freaked Out Flower Children.
Mighty Big Crime were an Australian hip hop duo formed by Tricky J (Julien Lodge) and Gumpy (A Phillips) (ex-Battle Happy) in 1986 in Melbourne. According to British record producer, David Courtney, he saw the pair MCing at an early performance in a pub, he got them signed to Virgin Records and provided their name. In 1987 they issued one of the first hip hop recordings in Australia, "16 Tons" and "Humber Mania Time". "16 Tons" is a rap cover version of Merle Travis' country song, "Sixteen Tons". "Humber Mania Time" was co-written by Lodge and Phillips; both tracks were recorded at Metropolis Studios and Pig Pen Studios, Melbourne with Courtney, and John Phillips producing. From March to July 1987 Tricky J also worked as a member of I'm Talking.
Michael Wellham of The Canberra Times described "16 Tons", "after listening to this it seems hard to believe that no one thought of doing a rap version of [it] before, no song was more deserving of the treatment. When you think about it Australia has been absolutely crying out for some rap artists of its own, and is now in the position where it can sigh with relief as the void is filled." Wellham's colleague, Stuart Coupe, reviewed Australian rap and hip hop in June 1988. He observed that Mighty Big Crime are, "the first Australians to make a record in this style... who seem to fancy themselves as the southern hemisphere's version of the Beastie Boys."
That single and its follow up, a cover of Alice Cooper's "Schools Out", both reached the top 10. Their music video for "Dr. Dynamite" (1990) was nominated for Best Video at the ARIA Music Awards of 1991. From 1991 to 1993 both Gumpy, on guitar and vocals, and Tricky J, on synthesiser, were members of Freaked Out Flower Children.
Melbourne Victoria, Australia