Brisbane has always been considered a hot-spot for alternative rock bands, but it's developing a reputation for being the home of a different genre - rap and hip-hop.
We spoke to Brisbane musicians I Am D and Dameeeela to find out more about what makes Brisbane so special, and the artists people should be paying attention to that are coming out of Queensland - both the names you might already know, and ones that are set to be household names in the coming months and years.
Brisbane artists love to support each other, and now more than ever it's important to come together, which is one of Brisbane's biggest assets - they're always willing to go in to bat for each other, whenever they're needed. I Am D, a rapper from Brisbane, has been around the scene for a while and says that Brisbane went through a golden age a couple of years ago - and that it's still benefiting from that period. "During 2015-2017 Brisbane was definitely the hot spot and leading the charge of new hip hop in Australia.
"It was a really fun time where particular artists just got really serious about their art and craft and were making a name for themselves. That created a magnet people were attracted to, so naturally, the hype grew, the culture grew, more people started flocking to it and gravitating towards it, people really wanted to be a part of the movement that was happening."
Dameeeela, a Brisbane DJ, remembers when she first fell in love with the hip-hop coming out of Brisbane, and how she's always surprised by the sheer amount of talent that is coming from the city. "There was a shift in the music I was DJ’ing at some point, where I went from playing house music to electronic to beat-based hip-hop to straight hip-hop. At the same time, I had done announcer training at 102.1FM 4ZZZ and was welcomed with wide open arms to co-host the all Australian show The Amplifier.
"When I heard the Hip Hop show that was running was coming to an end, I banded together with two fellow hip-hoppers at the station (Dan and Liam) and we all brought together our completely different perspectives on the Brisbane hip-hop scene to make Pass The Aux which is Thursdays 9pm-11pm every week. Through having guests every week, I really felt I knew all of the hidden crevices in Brisbane’s hip hop scene but it’s growing at such a rapid rate lately it’s almost impossible to keep up with. I am consistently blown away with how much talent we have in our community."
I Am D says that Brisbane has the opportunity to be something special when it comes to hip-hop. "We have a longing for something special. It's a notoriously laid back vibe here, but there are certain people who think and dream bigger, who want more and better, and there's an opportunity to build something in a place that hasn't really seen the same heights or notoriety as other cities. Kind of like Toronto before Drake made it something special. Brisbane has that same opportunity to become bigger than it is physically. People here are just willing to support and be a part of something, they want to be involved, just not everyone is willing and wanting to spark something up, so it'll take a select few people to be the matches, the lighters so to speak, and the rest are the gasoline that keeps it burning."
Dameeeela agrees and says that the Brisbane rap scene always has each other's backs - no matter who is succeeding. "We have so many different pockets of our scene, but never ever do I see us 'competing'. I am so proud of how our city’s hip hop community see each other as allies, seeing each other as useful resources, never intimidated by one another. From the music itself to putting on events, to creating videos, selling clothes, all of it - we are never hesitant to expand our horizons whilst including one another. If I had to sum up our community in one word it would be - inclusive."
There's one moment that stands out for Dameeeela above all else to define what makes Brisbane hip-hop so great. "There is one particular night that I can’t even put into words, it was a FEMPRE$$ event (run by Hannah Bronte) at the Institute of Modern Art and I got to DJ the whole night, it was like a kinda fancy carpark party vibe, the crowd were so lovely - dancing away. Then one thing led to another and suddenly we had Jesswar, Kaylah Truth, Miss Blanks, GLNL and Aywin all rapping to create Brisbane's best ever cypher, FEMME-ONLY. LIKE WHAT." You can check it out below - and it's every bit as good as Dameeeela says it is.
So what rappers should we be keeping an eye out from Brisbane? There are a few names you'll hear again and again, so we've put together a list of some of our favourites, and what makes each of them so special.
Some musicians claim to be able to do it all, but in GLNL's case, it's true. She raps, produces, is a visual artist and owns a streetwear label among her many side projects. She's described herself as someone that can't sit still, and she manages to pull everything off with an ease that makes us extremely jealous. She's performed with the likes of Little Simz and Lakyn, and her live show is just as fire as her records.
NERVE has been around for a few years now, dropping music since late 2015. He's made his name as both a rapper and producer, having produced ChillinIt's debut album, and is an artist working hard to rep Brisbane, as well as hip-hop and grime in Australia.
Kaylah Truth has been around for a hot minute, and is the self-proclaimed 'First Lady of BNE'. She's toured with the likes of TLC and Lupe Fiasco, and continues to drop banger after banger - she's got old-school hip-hop vibes, with a touch of the new wave.
Sammy Mak's production is among the best in the country, and he's a rapper/producer extraordinaire. Much like many of his fellow Brisbanites, he's part of the No. One Network, who are looking to bring Brisbane hip-hop to the masses, while remaining fiercely independent. No. One Network features the likes of Nerve, Alex Jones and Shadow, and the quartet are some of the best rappers coming out of Australia right now.
Carmouflage Rose is one of the more successful musicians coming out of Brisbane, having appeared at the likes of Spilt Milk and Groovin The Moo. He's making music for house parties - so when we're all living it up in the future, you know whose music to put on. The Australian answer to The Weeknd, Carmouflage Rose is set to pop off in 2020.
Creed Tha Kid
Creed Tha Kid isn't even 18 yet, but he's dropping tracks that are getting the attention of everyone that's anyone in the hip-hop world. Proudly repping Brisbane (as well as the party lifestyle), if you like music that'll get you pumped for the weekend with a touch of childish innocence, then you'll love Creed Tha Kid.
Melding hip-hop and R&B, as well as putting all of himself out there in his lyrics, threebeds is keeping it extremely real, and it's refreshing hearing so much honesty in music. He supported WIKI at his Brisbane show on his most recent tour, and he's only just getting started.
No Money Enterprise
No Money Enterprise have barely got any music out, but they're already exciting a lot of people. Repping Logan City, their music is some of the most fun you'll hear - you can't help but get moving when it's on. If you're a fan of ONEFOUR or HP BOYZ, then you'll love No Money Enterprise.
Jesswar is coming for everyone's necks. One of the hardest workers in Brisbane, she announced herself in 2017, and hasn't let up since - touring and working on music relentlessly. She's a self-described savage, and tbh, it's hard to disagree with the moniker - she's earned it. She's supported the likes of Seth Sentry and Lady Leshurr, and she's on a trajectory to play some of the biggest stages in Australia.
Day1 is putting Brisbane on the map. He's featured the city in his music videos, and doesn't mind a Brisbane reference or two - after all, it's what he knows. He's worked with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie on a remix of his track Mood Swings and his track BOSS is making waves, and is set to make sure his name is on everyone's lips by the end of 2020.