There's a lot of hot new music coming out of Western Sydney, and it's shaping to be the next big music region of Australia. No matter what genre you're into, Western Sydney is producing that sound.
Just last week, Spotify hosted the first ever A1 Live gig in Sydney, bringing to life all the rap heavyweights of the A1 Hip-Hop playlist such as Hooligan Hefs, One Four, Kwame, Jess B, Sophiegrophy and Manu Crooks. Packed to the brim, it was clear that Western Sydney hip-hop is not going away and Australian audiences are craving the real sound of Australia, led by the Pacific Island communities who have recently found their voices in the genre.
Here are some of the artists from Western Sydney we're digging, and who you should be keeping an eye on in the near future.
OneFour are Australia's first drill crew, and they've already made a huge name for themselves across the globe. After all, it's not often that UK grime legend Skepta shouts you out, but for OneFour, he's just one of their many fans.
They've just announced their first headline tour, and given the huge shows they're playing, as well as the massive amount of streams they're getting on Spotify and YouTube, it's clear people can't get enough of the real-life experiences that they put into their music. OneFour are putting Western Sydney on their backs, and it's not long before they're among the elite in Australian hip-hop, if they're not there already.
Lauren. grew up in a family of musicians, so it's only right that she turned to hip hop. While she doesn't focus on genre, speaking to Pilerats, she expressed that "women in hip hop show a lot of strength and power while also expressing their feminine side in their music which is something I definitely idolise." Her music conveys emotion in a powerful yet natural way, and will stay with you long after the song is finished.
Having worked with producers like thatboykwame, Domba and Korky Buchek, she's tapping into a sound that sounds unlike one we've heard before, and is hard at work carving out her own lane. She aims to show people "that I am going to create my own path and succeed along my journey and I encourage other people to empower themselves and reach their full potential". She's doing a great job of that so far.
Hailing from Doonside, Hooligan Hefs might only have a few songs under his belt so far, but each of them have been a hit. Traversing between techno, EDM and drill, he sounds excited and urgent on every song so far, recalling his lived experiences growing up in Western Sydney.
Hefs was inspired to start rapping after his brother posted one of his freestyles on Facebook and it got a lot of love. Hefs tells Filter Zine he's passionate about repping Western Sydney on a global stage. "I'm trying to do rap and techno, EDM, dubstep, all of that. Hopefully, this is the new Australian sound. All of the area is getting behind us, Western Sydney. This music is slowly starting to pop off in Australia. I'm thankful for everyone that's come through and showed love."
A.GIRL is from Western Sydney, and she's proud of it. Speaking about her debut single 2142 she says that it was all about writing with a "storytelling vibe". The song hooks you in from the get-go, and the music video is equally as captivating.
It's a song about her area, and in an interview with AAABackstage she says that wasn't her intention, but she's happy it came out that way. Writing about where I’m from was never my intention when walking in the studio that day, but I’m glad I did. Our area needed a song to jam to!
She also uses her music as a platform to highlight the highs and lows of Western Sydney. "What I’ve been through and what I’ve seen has made me who I am as a songwriter and helped me write real, authentic music. The reason I wanted to incorporate the audio of the girl being arrested by police is because I knew that girl and the people in the situation when it happened. These things aren’t happening overseas, they’re happening in our own neighbourhoods and that’s something I wanted to shed light on when I added the audio."
The Kid Laroi
The Kid Laroi isn't even 18 yet, but he's turning heads everywhere. He's opened for Denzel Curry and Juice WRLD, and might just be Australia's next rap superstar. Inspired by his mum playing the likes of Erykah Badu, Tupac, The Fugees and of course, Kanye (his biggest influence), he was always drawn to expressung himself through music.
Earlier this year, he dropped WINNING, and given the producers on the track (DOPAM!NE and JOY.), it's a sign of what he's been cooking up during the year he wasn't releasing music.
Clarissa Mei grew up going to piano and singing lessons, so she's always been in and around music. Speaking ahead of the GRID series, she said "I grew up learning music from a young age, so I have vivid memories of always being at this music school which was almost like my second home at the time."
Drawing from soul and rnb, she's someone that exudes confidence when she wants to, and expresses vulnerability when she needs to. Comparisons to SZA have been forthcoming, and they're not undeserved at all.
Manu Crooks has one of the best live shows in Australia. Sounding more like he's from Atlanta than Western Sydney, Manu manages to always keep ahead of the curve, and always sound fresh.
Speaking to Red Bull, he says he got into hip hop "At a very young age, I suppose. There was always some sort of hip-hop music playing around the house I grew up in, that I would dance to and what not."
Having played Rolling Loud in Miami earlier this year, it's clear he's making waves internationally, as well in Australia. After listening to the energy in his music, it's not hard to see why.
Mirrah often performs alongside L-Fresh The Lion, but is a powerful MC in her own right. She's been around for a few years now, and she loves performing - her energy on stage is second to none.
Speaking about the Sydney music community to Pilerats, she says, "My Sydney music peers have become my extended musical family, as have the audiences I get to meet after each performance. It means the world to me as an independent artist that people take the time to acknowledge my creative passion and musical commitment to preserve the art of hip hop."
Mirrah is arguably the embodiment of hip-hop in Australia, and she's inspired countless performers around her.