Best Australian Rap 2020

If you can cast your mind back, you might recall that 2020 was a bit of a shit year. Thankfully, 2021 is here and everything is better now, so we can reflect fondly on the best Australian rap songs to drop during those 365 god-forsaken days.

Australian rap is in a good place, but it could be in a much better one. There’s still a lack of original bars and ideas, far too much biting and a drought of interesting beats. For every great rapper, there are thirty who say nothing interesting, cool or funny in their raps, have zero personality or style in pursuit of sounding like someone else or whose music just straight up does not sound good. A weirdly negative way to start a best rap list, I know, but the sea of mediocrity just makes all the great songs stand out that much more.

Some people like Hooligan Hefs, ChillinIt, Sampa, Nerve, Nooky, Kwame, Manu, Lisi, Nter, Triple One and Skem should probably be on here but I just wasn’t really listening to them as much. I’m sure they’ll be just fine without the coveted Dog Scraps co-sign. Spare a thought for all the drywall that’s gonna get a hole through it when Wombat fans see he’s not on here.

Don’t trip on the order, it doesn’t really matter. I hope this list can serve as some sort of document of the great year in Australian rap. I haven’t heard even close to everything, this is just what I liked. If you think the list sucks, please let me know who I should be checking for so it doesn’t suck next year. Put me on, don’t put me down.

Much love to the other folks on the media side trynna spread the good word and help us learn more about the music. Shoutout to Centrepoint, Last Call, Sauti Systems, Acclaim Mag, Filter Zine/Kev, 2K, Mahmood Fazal, AUD$, DME, Pass The Aux, Snacc Pacc, Bloodjuice and all the rest. Biggest shout-out of all to Hauie – an invaluable O.G. of Australian rap and just an absolute treasure of unparalleled knowledge, wisdom and passion for this scene that deserves his flowers. 

Ok, now that I’ve got my complaints, shoutouts and “pweaze don’t b mad at me” shit outta the way, here are the best Australian rap songs of 2020:

One song per artist rule. All choices political, all omissions personal. Click the album artworks to go to the songs on YouTube. Otherwise listen along via the playlist. Artists names are linked to their IG.


(Prod. Nerve)
Get It (feat. Smak & Nate G) [Explicit] by Chiggz on Amazon Music -

“If this doesn’t get you nodding your head within the first ten seconds, turn it off. You don’t deserve it.” I wrote this in April and the shit still takes control of my neck muscles anytime I hear it. Nerve deserves an ARIA for the beat and Chiggz deserves to smoke big blunts of the good buds and dance in the moonlight with his family for the rest of his life for this song. I’ve been spinning it like nothing else to sprout from Australian soil last year so it feels only right I give it the top spot.

ECB, which stands for ‘East Coast Brotherhood, are a fraternal crew of Gudjinburra brothers hailing from Tweed Heads in Bundjalung country made up of JK-47, Chiggz, Nate G and Will Paulson. They inherited the name from their father, who would paint Indigenous art all over the East Coast. When their father passed, they formalised the ECB movement to carry the torch.

On this track, Chiggz is the main artist and is appropriately the main attraction. He’s got a natural rap voice – unique, husky and moulded by his geography – he rides the beat effortlessly and supplies a catchy, anthemic hook. Brisbane rapper Nerve is one of the hottest MCs in the country in his own right but he’s the other star solely for his beat here. So simple – an infectious, warped guitar(?) sample and a nice bassline – but it keeps you bouncing the whole song. Chiggz & co. aren’t reinventing the wheel but have a playful skill to their rapping and sound really cool while doing it, partly cause they seem so sincere.

Nate G is a bit more gee’d up in his verse. His voice and attitude make simple stuff like ‘Get older bruz’ sound great and has the perfect similar-but-different level to be Chiggz’ rap partner. There’s no frontin’; they’re mostly talking about making dosh selling weed and chilling out smoking weed. The video is a perfect havin’ fun with ya homies and showin’ off the area rap video. You can see the brotherly love, one of the building blocks of a truly great rap group (e.g. The LOX, Outkast, Migos). Now, group album in 2021 please, ECB.

(Prod. DoloRRes)
Image result for little bum agung mango

On ‘Little Bum’, Agung Mango and producer Dolorres have created a banger bursting with enough energy that any stage he performs it on may just launch towards the stars that Agung Mango has his eyes so intensely fixated on. Mango wants to be above the top – he wants to be “the milky way master” – and this face-melting smack deserves to take him there.

Dolorres’ beat opens on a familiar note, clearly inspired by The Neptunes’ production from the turn of the century, but comes alive and takes off right as it starts to feel familiar, with sharp violin stabs that rise to meet the life-or-death stakes that Mango creates in his hook. The beat then refreshes and upgrades multiple times after, moving as nimbly as Mango does. Mango continues to prove himself as the master of his lane, exploring the valleys and peaks he can take his voice to, moving smoothly from suave slick talk to deranged squawk raps within thirty seconds. It’s the type of song that feels made for a huge crowd, or at least one to help Agung Mango bring the energy of an arena show to the small venues he’s tearing down in his already notorious live sets.

(Prod. Tkay Maidza, Dan Farber & Roger Schami)
Tkay Maidza: Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 Album Review | Pitchfork

Having first turned heads with her single “Brontosaurus” in 2013, made the Hottest 100 in 2015 with “M.O.B.” and dropped her debut album in 2016, Tkay Maidza is somewhat of a vet of the game at this point, but it feels like she’s truly come into her own after a few years of musical soul-searching with her tape “Last Year Was Weird Vol. 2”. She’s moved away from the kind of over-produced dance sound that defined her early success, allowing space for more smooth and soulful sounds while still excelling in the realm of high-tempo house-hop and off-the-wall bangers.

“24k” is a warm, dance-floor ready bop that appeals for privacy. The faint guitar sample – shared with Nujabes’ “Sea of Clouds” and Mac Miller’s Vince Staples-assisted “Rain” – creates a hazy, carefree atmosphere where Tkay – as if encompassed by a forcefield – can bounce along the beat, talk her shit and celebrate herself with no regard at all for those who might be watching. It’s a perfect synthesis of her rapping and singing abilities.

(Prod. Jay Orient)
Image result for jk-47 album cover

ECB figurehead JK-47 had possibly the biggest year of anyone on this list: dropping his phenomenal debut album “Made For This” and taking out the Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year Award. He first previewed “Abandoned” – the album’s intro – as a show-stealing verse in an Illeqwip X No.One Cypher, where the energetic beat brought a little extra fury to JK’s verbal assault on the colonial monstrosity that decimated his culture, land and people (and still does). On the album cut, the beat is slower, more poignant but hopeful. It makes the song feel more like the internal hatchings of a grand plan to take back all that was taken from his people, which then gradually morphs into a frontline war-cry as he raps – with the passion of any of the greatest political rappers – that “he’s coming for the whole cake, taking no breaks till it’s done.”

(Prod. POOKIE)

Shockingly, “Tuesday” is Melbourne rapper Pookie’s first officially released song. Yet, she displays such a profound confidence and effortlessness as an MC, the type of presence that rappers with years of pen-and-paper experience can struggle to master. Similar to Tkay, the general sentiment of the song is “mind your business”. Pookie says the song “is about quality over quantity in your circles. It’s about solitude, the hustle, self- guidance and even offers some advice on how to deal with time wasters.” As her intensity level steadily rises and she finds new pockets in the heavy but fuzzy piano-based beat, she captures the energy of someone who wants to walk through the club just to make everyone get out of their way, knowing she has that power.

(Prod. Hamza)
Hamza – Scarface Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

South-West Sydney rapper Hamza has a total of eight songs (on streaming) and every one of them is dope. ‘Scarface’ is a smooth but gloomy self-produced song where Hamza is embracing his role as the ‘bad guy’, but, from the first line about “Suss looks in a blacked out Honda”, he’s detailing the day-by-day struggle and paranoia that comes with it. Far from Tony Montana, he’s the shadowy figure moving through the flats, serving sticks and rearranging his weed crops with a perpetual eye-out for the red and blue lights.

He’s slick with the pen in a way that makes possibly esoteric, sometimes mundane Sydney street shit sound cool, with lines like “I cut the murder and feed the needy/I plant the seeds and make a four-pack easy”. It’s the moment after this line, when Hamza brings in a haunting sample drawn from his South-Asian roots just as he flashes back to his Green Acre flats, his parents struggling with bills and his friends who took the wrong path, where Hamza puts a spotlight on a part of Australian society that few others are showing and carves out a unique musical lane for himself. His other song from last year “OG + Guava” was also great. Expect big things in 2021.

(Prod. ?)
Image result for huskii surfin

As far as I’m concerned, Huskii is the best rapper in Australia and has been for a few years now. If you want to know why, do me a favour and go read my long review of his Recalled EP (it’s good, promise). My favourite song changes with the days of the week but the one that’s had the most longevity for me is Surfin’. Over an airy but tough beat that shares an opera sample with OneFour’s ‘Home and Away’, Huskii is back to non-stop play-making, cheffin’ and rawtin’ to stack funds after he’s put his daughter to bed. It’s one of his best blends of the fun bars and the desperate street tales (e.g. Deadlines got a brick of the loose shit/Stepped on it twice, and her friends said it’s nice so she calls every night tryna do biz).

Beyond the vivid, unique lyricism that punches you in your gut, the true testament to Huskii’s songwriting is how easy it is to miss the technical skill that underpins his evocative raps. He stacks complex rhyme patterns and switches up his flows in such a natural way, scratching that traditionalist rap fan itch without ever sounding like he’s trying to.

(Prod. Isaac Puerile/FakeFlex)
Image result for isaac puerile 2012

Isaac Puerile is a Blacktown rapper who sometimes makes you cry and sometimes makes you wanna rob your own mum for her Nikes. His “2012” video was a masterpiece of eshay realism that further proved him as one of the most interesting and gifted rappers in the Australian scene.

On ‘2012’, Isaac is channeling the carefree swagger of his 14-year-old self and reflecting on how far he’s come. It’s one of the many tracks Isaac produces himself and it kinda sounds like a distorted music box sample over a spacious but bumpin’ beat. He comes in effortlessly – like he’s barely trying – with a simpler opener that situates us in Blacktown, with a flow that suits the beat perfectly and the detail comes eventually. Pepper it with some pig-latin, throw in a catchy hook delivered in his unusually appealing singing voice and you’ve got a sick song, but not one that reflects his full range.

The standout of his “Last Year” EP from January was “She Said“, where he raps a lengthy verse from the perspective of his fed-up girlfriend to paint the picture of a relationship on the verge of crumbling. The beat is light and dreamy with a fuzzy oomph and the hook is another example of his weird but satisfying singing voice.

*These words are taken from the very lengthy review of the “2012” music video and Isaac’s career up to this point that is very much worth your time.

(Prod. GASZ)

F.T.N.” by Melbourne rapper Mulalo opens with the line: “First things first, I’m the hottest bitch alive.” There really is no better introduction to the otherworldly confidence that is found in every single line of every single Mulalo song. That same song’s references to Meg The Stallion and the City Girls make very clear her place within a long lineage of bad bitch rappers who bulldoze the patriarchy and make the rubble pay their rent. Mulalo is charismatic as fuck, a natural born shit-talker – like a pissed-off Diddy in his shit-talking prime – and a hilariously brash lyricist who sounds ever-ready to smack the shit out of someone, even when she’s rapping about dropping down on the dick and giving him thirty.

Her only song to make it to streaming services is “Check”, but on BandCamp it was released as a single with my favourite of her’s “30”. Cover art is fire too. The trio of singles on her SoundCloud are just as good. With great beat selection and personality in spades, Mulalo should be blaring in clubs and everywhere else in 2021.

(Prod. DJ Atro)

Slim Set‘s producer DJ Atro, when describing their music, has said he just wants people on caps to like it. Well, this song could definitely send a well-cooked passenger to another dimension but it also feels like it could give someone an existential crisis in the middle of a day rave, staring up at the sun and wondering how soon the inevitable collapse will come. The song, though still providing “sunburnt UK Garage vibes” consistent with the duo’s “non-stop energy” philosophy, finds Kal reflecting on the impending doom of global warming, the melting ice caps and our failure at our one job of… y’know, stopping that. But by the time DJ Atro unleashes his euphoric synth line that would best accompany a magic carpet ride through a neon cosmos, Kal has forgotten all about that mess and is back to comparing himself to Passion Pop, shouting out Western Sydney suburbs and talking about going for a swim to top off a big night. Kal’s fixation with the sun ends on a romantic note, more concerned with the beauty of the sunset rather than the impending doom that it’s beating rays will bring.

The Gotenks of Australia, Slim Set’s fusion of DJ Atro’s amazing, club-inspired production and Kal’s animated, Western-Sydney-to-the-core raps are a true blessing and a one-of-a-kind phenomenon in the global music landscape. I gushed about their 2019 single “Warrang” in the same way if you care to read it.

(Prod. Andrew Klippel)

If there exists another song that sounds like this, I have not heard it. It rises and falls in a swirling mania, like Genesis is trying desperately to keep up this intense, obsessive energy to avoid confronting the scars that we see hidden by bandages on the cover of his upcoming album “Smiling With No Teeth”. It’s accompanied by a very cool video that continues to build a visual world around the bandaged character seen first in the video for “I Don’t Need You”. “The track explores the internal struggle between a hopeful spirit of endurance, and a gnashing black hole of ugliness,” he says. “One is me, and the other is also me.”

(Prod. MRVLS)
Image result for rops 1 don 2.0

Rops, more than anyone else on this list, feels like the natural progression of the gutter rap of years past that was pioneered by artists like Kerser and NTER. So, the type that would scare the shit out of the Daily Telegraph. It’s uncompromising West Syd street shit infused with the grime and drill influence that’s swept through Australia in the past few years.

Rops most popular song to date “D.O.N.“, a flip of Nas & the Bravehearts’ “Oochie Wally” that shares none of the classic track’s insane horniness, landed on his excellent debut album “Youngest In Charge” despite being officially released in October of 2019. Two months after the album release, he dropped the sequel to D.O.N. where he is once again pissed off at fake rappers and celebrating his status as the reigning Prince of Campbelltown. The beat is weird, fidgety and kinda cyber-sounding – someone in the YouTube comments said it sounds like something from a kids cartoon – and Rops rides it with typical confidence and a nice level of detail in lyrics.

(Prod. DoloRRes)
Image result for dolorres fluffy dice

I feel like this could be the theme song to a Turkey-set spiritual sequel to Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift if those movies were less about cops and driving fast and more about sound systems and smoking weed. Just a thought.

Just as he did with his production on Little Bum, DoloRRes never lets the beat sit still for too long, bringing in new sounds and letting others fall away to keep you gripped as he raps, sometimes frantically, about his car, what goes on inside it, backgammon and eating so much za’atar that he’s started to see it in his sleep. The raps about a humble Toyota Aurion and smoking weed are almost reminiscent of the classic shitbox dedication “Lacville 79” by Devin the Dude. It’s full of energy, the bars are funny and unpretentious and the beat is just dope as fuck. Agung Mango pops up for a smooth lil cameo/interlude. Best consumed via the excellent music video.

Image result for jaal paradox

Jaal is smooth. Just a fly dude. I could really have put any one of the songs on his mixtape “PARADOX” on here because it’s such a strong, cohesive project front-to-back with a consistently warm and joyful vibe. Since he curiously only puts his shit out on SoundCloud, I can’t pick one song for the playlist so I’m just gonna recommend the whole tape. 

Coming out of Melbourne’s South-East, he reminds me of Saba in his seamless transitions between smooth rapping and breezy, low-key singing that doesn’t try to exceed his voice’s abilities. It’s ironic that this album was mostly made while JAAL was locked down because it just makes you want to go sit outside in the sun with your friends. Or ride around smoking in the summertime. It’s a reminder to take it easy and keep it pushing; a radio transmission from a heart that’s overflowing with joy and ambition and a head that has found a comfortable home in the clouds.

(Prod. AKWA & Yung Deano of Done Digital)
Image result for double O member

Drill music, even moreso than rap music general, feels like an exercise in conciseness.* It’s about quick words, knowing when to rap and knowing when to stop. Because of that it can often result in nothing being said at all or something being said that is basically indistinguishable from a million other drill lines. In the best cases, drill artists can put together tight and energetic bars that perfectly fit into the pockets of booming beats.

On Double O Member, Young6ix and Skenzo aren’t trying to reinvent drill; just doing their own spin and thankfully resisting the urge to sound like straight-up UK rip-offs. The hook is catchy, made to be shouted along to like the best drill hooks and the member-slender-enter-endless rhyme flows beautifully. The highlight of Skenzo’s verse is: “The cops locked up my n**z, I’m on visits trynna grant that wish”. A two-act short story packed into a 13-word bar, an example of the great writing that the drill formula can produce.

One interesting thing about this song is that the bassline is basically just one short 808 that repeats every bar until the signature drill wub-wub comes in and does a lil dance before going away again. It’s a nice way to make that kinda overdone bass sound more satisfying. 

*An ironically long-winded blurb. I shouldn’t talk about drill; play it and don’t think too hard. The song is good because it sounds good.

(Prod. Celestial Celebrum)

There are some rappers whose appeal seems to be, at least partly, how they evade sounding Australian. There are others who are dope because their raps are so Australian, cause it’s easier to sound fresh and say cool shit when your channeling your own unique experience and culture. Perth’s Skeeny is one such rapper, one of the most clever and creative lyricists around who packs his bars with so many references to Australian shit that actually serve what he’s trying to say rather than just an excuse to reference some shit (like REDACTEDIt at his most referencey). It also leads him to say simple shit in a cool way – e.g. “bubble the bill” instead of “smoke a bong” – and help listeners come away with a clear sense of who he is.

On his “2 Much EP“, Skeeny broadcasts from his shed, where the weed smoke blends with the stink of DMT and Skeeny talks to the tin four-walls like they were his therapist. The video-accompanied “Charger” is one of the standout word play-packed sessions where he gets some shit off his chest over a beat that the YouTube anime girl would probably enjoy studying/relaxing to. On “Nicotine“, he tells a powerful story of his fractured relationship with his father who used to get him to collect second-hand ciggie butts. After cursing him out, he raps:

Been a minute since you and I have spoken
You probably don’t have my number but I’ve been busy growing
Been working to finish my music, feeling like I’m chosen
My mothers been showing me your drawings and old poems

It displays an emotional maturity and skilful songwriting that you don’t see too much. I really don’t think you could name many Australian rappers not named Huskii who are sharper with the pen than Skeeny is on this tape.

(Prod. Jayteehazard)
Image result for deadly hearts

Kobie had a very solid year with a handful of singles that continue to flex a gift for storytelling and a conceptual approach to songwriting. One of his songs that flew under the radar a bit was his contribution to the latest volume of Deadly Hearts – a series of compilation albums featuring covers by Indigenous artists. Kobie did a cover/remix of “Long Way Away From My Country“, a cut from the Bran Nue Dae soundtrack originally performed by the legend Ernie Dingo. “The song is about being away from his country,” Kobie said, “and for me growing up on Bidjigal land in Sydney and my country being Gomeroi in Moree, I always related to the song which is why I chose to cover it.”

It’s cool to see him bridge that gap between rap and the Indigenous country music that was once the most prominent musical genre for tales of dispossession, rebellion and heartache that faced Aboriginal Australians. Over a country-tinged guitar beat, he raps beautifully about the bright lights of the city making him miss the starlight of his country, showing his daughter where her ancestors roam once she’s grown and affirming as always that everything he does is to uplift his people.

I’m a young Black man on Bidjigal land
But these Gomeroi hands turn a brick wall to sand

(Prod. HAAN & Lau)
On Me (feat. Carlito Hendrix & T Kingston) [Explicit]

This song could really be OGM’s Carlito Hendrix saying “Whole team looking for some Big GUAP! and you know wedon’treallywannastoopp” for two and a half minutes and it would be pure ear candy but there happens to be two pretty nice verses to go along with it. “Guap” is one of the greatest words in the English lexicon. Other than that, Carlito Hendrix could be rapping the words of an instruction manual for all I care, cause he just has a playful way with melodies that keeps his flow moving and evolving, pushing himself to the higher edges of his vocal range, rather than settling into something obvious.

(Prod. Utility)
Image result for bayang sugar cane

Rapping about kicking back, chewing sugar cane is dope – straight up. Never heard that before. Delivered by a Tisoy Filipino rapper who, on the same song, says: “swear my spirit been at war since before born”? Exceptionally dope. This expansion of lyrical territory is exactly what Australian rap needs. Beatsmith Trackwork provides some foreboding keys and a generous rumble to bolster some truly epic bars that reflect Bayang’s history as the vocalist for anti-colonial metal group Dispossessed. He’s not so much angry as he is calmly awaiting the fall of the rotten system that’s allowed the apocalypse to knock on its door. The ad-libs from Sevy – delivered in his signature deep croak – are a perfect crunchy garnish.

(Prod. KID)
Image result for solochulo beast mode two

It starts with a typically lively Spanish guitar sample and some some autotune crooning. Then, when it starts to feel almost too familiar, the guitar falls away and we hear the same melody played on what sounds like a xylophone inside the great hall of a haunted castle. Then Solochulo (+ co.) just does the damn thang, gliding over the beat in his soft-spoken, melodic style.

2020 was a huge year for African-Australian rappers and Solochulo is one of the leaders of the Sydney scene, which is marked more by an affinity with and resemblance to the music of the broader African diaspora than to the sounds of Aussie rap. Mandem really got a Wraith in the video; must be eatin’ good off that Unearthed money.

(Prod. Teether)

Teether is at the forefront of a wave of musicians (such as Cousin Temi, Chef Chung and his fellow X Amount Records compatriots), predominantly coming out of Melbourne, who make the type of lo-fi*, non-commercial rap music – often built on hazy, warped or stretched samples that can border on avant-garde – that’s heavily influenced by the underground movement of artists like Earl, MIKE, Slauson Malone, Akai Solo, ELUCID, Pink Siifu etc. and the almighty villain who inspired all those artists: DOOM. Because of this, his album “Desert Visuals” is home to some of the most interesting production to come out of Australia.

Every beat on it is self-produced and super dope and Teether accompanies them with dense, stream-of-consciousness raps that look inward – sometimes finding doubt, other times affirmation – as much as they look outward – sometimes cynical, sometimes hopeful. I think the finest rapping is found on “Sweet Tooth”, where he thinks back on childhood memories of his father while trying to centre himself admist the chaos and the loops of life. The psychedelic love song “Wish I Knew U” with his life partner nini is another standout, as is the chopped-soul intro “Gauze” with musical partner Realname, whose skittish energy is a great contrast to Teether’s calm.

Also, only Australian rapper with a Billy Woods feature. Hard to think of a bigger flex. His latest EP with Kuya is also great.

*An imperfect label not appreciated by many who are labelled with it, but used by enough fans for me to feel like it’s helpful.

(Prod. Colcci Irankunda)
Image result for hp boyz loyalty

May be the most soothing drill song you’ll ever hear. Like the HP Boyz are waking you up with a soft kiss on the cheek.

Their best song, in my opinion. Heavenly beat and great verses all around. Hardest bars of 2020:

“Aula de la cha cha, cha cha ay, cha cha ay
Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta, chanda chanda la, ay”

(Prod. Hancoq)
Image result for kvka no lackin

KVKA, who was born in Zambia, grew up in the UK and started his music career in New Zealand, pulled up to the shores of Melbourne like an undetonated grenade. On his first single of the year “No Lackin”, we heard him explode. The punchy stabs of the beat from Mirage Records label partner/co-owner Hvncoq feel like something you could box along to, and KVKA and Lenaic ride it lightly, four syllables at a time, as if trying not to get too close, until Kvka flicks a switch and turns all the way up, shouting over the beat which, in response, turns it up a bit itself. It’s a brief, bouncy dose of energy that showcases the incredible dynamism of KVKA’s voice, which is utilised in all sorts of ways on his recently released “Cupid’s Revenge” EP.

(Prod. Korky Buchek)
Image result for lil spacely soju

This beat sounds like it belongs in a Baz Luhrmann movie. Yet it bangs. Mind you, I have not seen many Baz Luhrmann movies, but I imagine that Lil Spacely would perform a burlesque routine when he does this song live. Soju is a great drink and this is a great song. Lil Spacely says “I’m deep in the cunt” and is presumably actually referring to a vagina. He also says “I keep my mind on my money and my money in a shoe box/ No mechanic but we rolling with the tool tucked.” It’s a cool song man, Spacely is very charismatic and is wearing an outrageously cool shirt in the cover art.

(prod. Willstah, Iamsolo, KhaledBEATS & Chunkyluv)
Image result for onefour against all odds

OneFour have said time and time again that they don’t want to box themselves in the drill genre, despite being the pioneers of the sound in Australia. Their solid debut EP “Against All Odds” featured a few strong drill tracks like “Home and Away” and “Better” but none that quite stack up to their game-changing hits like “Spot The Difference”, “The Message” and “In The Beginning”. The standout cut was “Heartless” where YP and J-Emz show off their singing chops, still sending out threats to their opps as they reflect on the scars that their battles have left. Beautiful moments like J-Emz singing “P was speakin’ ’bout/ All of the things he wants to do the day he gets out” show the soulful street music these guys can put out by not restricting themselves to drill.

(Prod. PA Beats)

Swish Music are a 12-person music collective/label out of Ipswich. Here, CEO Dau Dau and matriarch Unami link up with Hoodzy and Nerve for a remix to their drill inspired “Showtime”. It’s just a sick, no-hook, super energetic posse cut – the type to spark arguments about who had the best verse. You can just imagine them all having so much fun in the studio making this. Unami and Hoodzy probably had the best flow (the “gang, gang, gang” bit is marvellous), judging by the YT comments Dau Dau had the most iconic line of the song with “you not light skin, that’s bleach” and Nerve supplied most of the runner-up most memorable one-liners. But the song reaches it’s highest heights when they start passing around the mic, each firing off four-bars like bullets in a revolver. Back-and-forth-type rapping like this is always the best part of any song that has it – need more of that. 

Hoodzy saying “on mums” is something I will never get tired of hearing – such a unique charm to her voice.

Image result for gravy baby 10 toes on the road

Just a typically great Huskii verse basically. Gravy Baby is serviceable, some decent wordplay but overall just sounds kinda clunky. Credit to him, he’s an O.G. and has one the funniest rap names going.

(Prod. Luchii)
Image result for jose halftime lesko

Jose Halftime rhymes with the impossible nonchalance of the late, great Guru of Gangstarr. It’s a resemblance that’s hard to ignore once it dawns on you but Jose, a Perth rapper with El Salvadorian and Niuean ancestry, honours Guru’s legacy with a commitment to slick, uninterrupted bars and good beat selection that favours the old-school boom-bap style without sounding stale.

(Prod. Posseshot)
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Posseshot’s music feels like it was placed into a time capsule 20 years ago. Only because of how rooted they feel in the traditions of Australian hip-hop culture, which adopted graffiti writing much earlier and than it did rapping, plus the references to 90s artists like Pac and Big L. Their bars are raw, have that unique Melbourne graff-crew flavour – “I loved the hand signs, the way the arrows loop-de-looped” – and they have consistently dope sample-based beats.

This one. Buzzing undergound Sydney artist. Hard-hitting BARS and some serious VIBES. Could be one to watch.

If you’ve never had your heart broken, you probably won’t be able to properly appreciate his music. Girls can be so mean…

Sollyy – Life Is Good (Remix)

Always found the O.G. kinda lifeless, Solly fixes that. The beat on Future’s half is extremely dope. Cop the full “SPLIFF LORUSSO’S AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL JAMZ, VOL. 1 & 2” tape on Bandcamp.

Hawkrada – Sloppy #3 (Abba Zappa Slappa) [feat. Buddy Ryan]

Like a transmission from an extraterrestrial civilisation that’s much cooler and funkier than our own. Hawkrada is one of the most creative producers out and Buddy Ryan kills it.

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