This year at BIGSOUND, there was no doubt that there was an undeniable energy for homegrown hip hop. With more hip hop/R&B/rap artists than ever slated in to perform at the festival, each performance was packed to the brim with punters as well as music industry executives keen to jump on board one of this decade's fastest growing genres.
Venues like The Wickham in particular were heaving with pounding beats and quickfire rap, so here are a couple of rappers we caught that we think you definitely should check out. And hey, it goes without saying that other genres nailed it too, so we've also chucked in a couple of artists whose styles are hard to pinpoint but we vibed with hard.
With a face like Halsey and blistering bars like Cardi B, Gold Coast-based, Sydney-born Lauren. absolutely blew our minds. Part of the Western Sydney-based Bodega Collective crew, Lauren. used her short set to prowl the stage like a lioness and even jumped down into the pit to front in people's faces, twerk and joke around with the crowd. She's fast-paced, energetic and totally magnetic, with a DJ who still killed it despite losing two toes in India recently (respect for still performing!). Get around songs like Move That (which was produced by Kwame), Sushi and You Broke.
BIG SOUND IS HERE !!! cannot believe how many talented friends I have in my home town performing this week! I will be down at @thewickham this Wednesday & Thursday 8:50-9:20pm and will be bringing my sis @melbails on stage to perform a spicy new song we made the other day. First time performing with mellly so don’t miss it xoxoxo love u be safe
Another member of Bodega Collective, Raj Mahal is a Boston-born, Sydney-based rapper that brought aggravating industrial beats and gravelly DMX-esque vocals to his BIGSOUND set. He had a throng of fans moshing at the front of his pit to tracks like No Suckers, making it clear that the dude already has a fanbase frothing on his tunes. Jump on the Raj Mahal ride before everyone else discovers him!
Sydney's Kymie leans more into the trappy R&B side of things with her playful, feminist jams and positive stage presence - she's also got her fits downpat, wearing a matching white tracksuit with fluro braids in her long hair one night and another completely orange look the next night. With her DJ Naomi Salim behind her, one of the best things about Kymie's set was how much fun she and her girl Naomi were having up there. Get around songs like Can't Relate before she drops a Kwame-produced EP this October.
Ayyyyy @bigsound DAY ONE complete!!!! thank you to everyone who came out to @thevalleydrivein to see me and my hype bae @naomisalimm we’re back at it tomorrow - 3:45pm at @thefoundrybrisbane for @mtvaustralia @callandresponseaus and then my final @bigsound performance at @ricsbar 9:10pm come and say heyyy! Live photos by @absow_ || hair by the amazing @hair_by_jools || makeup by the talented @makemeoverartistry fit styled by @nadia_thgxrs @thugxurious and whole look / show creative directed by @connor.oconnor #bigsound
BIGSOUND this year had a huge Indigenous contingent and flying the flag for hip hop was Tasman Keith, born from a hip hop family and now ushering in a new generation for Aussie rap. Songs like Move Up absolutely went off at Ric's Backyard, with Tasman never shying away from political statements, supporting his family through his music and fly, fly beats. Absolutely everyone important was at Tasman's set at BIGSOUND and we now know why.
While hip hop was big this year at BIGSOUND, it wasn't all that caught our attention. Milan Ring brought a unique blend of hip hop, dark indie pop and electric guitar shredding to the stage, which were adorned with huge paper fans that looked like big mythical seashells. She writes, produces, mixes and masters, and runs her own label and has got vocal chops by the spades too. Her Chinese/Indian/Australian background also makes its influence in her music through Middle Eastern/Indian-sounding vocal runs and gorgeous harmonies. Take a listen to songs like Step Back and please understand why we're totally smitten by Milan Ring.
Another genre-bending artist, Japanese-born to a Taiwanese mum and an Australian dad, Brisbane-based Jaguar Jonze brought fuzzy indie guitars, strong haunting vocals and a manic stage presence to BIGSOUND's Family stage, bending over backwards, writhing, crab-walking and altogether looking like she's possessed by some sort of musical devil. Beijing Baby is her newest track and with a full band and killer visuals behind her, it came to life spectacularly.
A female-fronted neo-soul band? Sign us up. DVNA (pronounced 'Dah-na') brought Anderson .Paak vibes to BIGSOUND with her band of "three boyfriends", warm vocals that reel you in and playful organs. She's already got great command of the stage and songs like Sushi In Tokyo and Looking Like A Snack (apparently she loves writing songs about food, we're all about it) went off with punters moving along to her chilled back grooves.