The Players: Suffa, emcee, producer; MC Pressure, emcee; DJ Debris, DJ.
Material: What do you get when you mix the swag of Run-DMC with the persona of Crocodile Dundee? You get Australia’s very own Hilltop Hoods. Two emcees and a DJ, this independent rap trio embodies the spirit of hip-hop. From samples to breakbeats to jazzy instrumentals, these funky homo sapiens get down like James Brown. Their songs are original, provoking thought that gives the listener a unique perspective from the inside looking out.
Musicianship: With seven albums deep and independently grinding, these three musicians understand their potential and mass appeal. Their production sounds orchestral, with live instrumentation comprising piano, strings, cello and booming bass. MC Pressure and Suffa are sonically in sync, and DJ Debris colors the music over their voices.
Performance: At this show, Hilltop delivered a remarkable set. Suffa gave a solo a cappella that had MC Pressure adlibbing, transitioning to the reflective “I’m a Ghost” where they delved into certainties of their future, and how they must come to grips with death. Consistently engaging with their audience, the trio performed hits such as “I Love It,” “Cosby Sweater” and “Rattling the Keys to the Kingdom.” The crowd was amped and tuned-in––and a little long-winded––but it did not deter the Hoods from giving a balanced performance worth the price of admission.
Summary: It’s no mystery that Hilltop Hoods are the underground kings of Australian hip-hop music. They are visionaries, philanthropists, businessman, but most of all, organic artists, taking an indie approach, delivering their services to those who care to embrace them. They are role models and a guiding light to up-and-coming artists, worldwide.
– Adam Seyum