You know on election day when there’s a bunch of volunteers handing out pamphlets instructing you to vote for their respective parties? Well, imagine that, but instead of pamphlets they’re all carrying instruments, and you’re about halfway to comprehending the inspired chaos that is BIGSOUND.
From 6th-9th September, the long-standing music conference and festival returned to Meanjin’s Fortitude Valley for the first time in three years. More than 180 bands and artists played across dozens of venues during the three-day marathon. Here are Music Feeds‘ highlights of BIGSOUND’s hip hop programming.
Hip Hop at BIGSOUND
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On Tuesday afternoon, Brisbane crew No Money Enterprise came through with a mix of their usual drill sound with some extra R&B flavour thrown into the mix. They were many people’s first act of the whole festival, and the bar was set high early on.
Keeping the standard high was self-proclaimed “man on the go,” Agung Mango, who has upped his showmanship and converted his live show into a full band affair. The guy was no slouch to begin with, so just imagine where he’ll take it once his new EP drops later this year.
Also expanding, adapting and evolving is Bowraville’s finest son Tasman Keith, another performer who’s always brought it at gigs, but has recently ascended to another level. Backed by a keyboardist and drummer, Keith is operating at shark’s pace – if he stops moving, he dies. From the Phil Fresh-assisted R&B of ‘IDK’ to the bow-throwing ‘Cheque’ and the disco sizzle of ‘Love Too Soon’, Keith’s setlist verged on untouchable.
Agung Mango – ‘GUAP POP’ (w/Genesis Owusu)
Over at Summa House, Dallas Woods‘ rapid-fire verses over groove-heavy beats turned the outdoor venue into a sea of nodding heads and moving feet. The energy briefly shifted for a stunning a capella freestyle from Woods, in which he reflected on the suicide of his brother. It was one of the few instances at BIGSOUND where it felt like the Valley was at a standstill, and it’s a testament to Woods that he could command such attention.
Rounding out with an exceptional collaboration with Flyboy Jack, it’s clear that the hard yards Woods has been putting in since arriving on the scene almost half a decade ago are paying off.
Two exceptional hip hop sets took place at The Brightside across the week – one inside, one outside. The former was Melbourne underground king Teether, bringing producer and DJ Kuya Neil along for the ride. He wasn’t having any of the stand-offish industry bullshit, where attendees treat live acts like animals in zoo enclosures and gawk from afar. Fuck no. He insisted everyone get as close as possible, and with that barrier removed, the songs hit even harder.
Outside was L-FRESH the LION, returning to the live stage for the first time in a hot minute and making up for lost time with a passionate, energetic performance. “Why blend in when you’re born to stand out?”, he asked on ‘Born to Stand Out’. Why indeed. It’s a lesson Australian hip hop has certainly heeded as of late.