The scene thrived underground during this period, culminating in the landmark compilation CDs Obesecity and Culture of Kings I, II and III being released in the early ‘00s by Obese Records. Not only were these albums among the first to recognise there was a wealth of rhyming talent scattered across the country, (as well as a market to buy into it,) they were also a tantalising hint of things to come, with artists such as the Hilltop Hoods and Koolism making up the tracklist.
The transformation of Obese from a small record store in Melbourne’s Prahran to Australia’s first hip hop label was an important step for the development of the genre – especially when they decided to release an album by an up-and-coming group of two MCs and a DJ from the suburbs of Adelaide.
Melbourne-based Obese Records has gained a high profile as a recording label in recent years, following its beginnings as a hip hop record store in 1995. Its roster features 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. – Tony Mitchell