Photos By Julian Neil
After 25+ performances around the country, Drapht graces his hometown and local fans with his final show. As Drapht is mid-production on his 2018 album ‘Arabella Street’, he was touring the release of his new single ‘Summer They Say’. In the last decade Draphts name and fan base has grown massively; with several national tours and two nominations for the APRA ‘breakthrough artist of the year’ award, needless to say his shows have been selling out across the country. Tonight as I looked around at the people rapidly filling their local Rosemount Hotel, I knew they were anticipating a show to emulate the love they have for their homegrown hip hop hero.
The first support was new and upcoming rapper Knoe, who had just accompanied Drapht on his national tour. This Perth native casually took to the stage with an unsung confidence, understanding the pressure of opening such a massive night for Perth hip hop heads. Accompanied by his trusty lap top he aptly immersed the crowd in his slow jam, ambient vibe, with beats reminiscent of the New York sample based sound. His rap style was a smooth and uninterrupted flow that he projected with confidence, showcasing some of his more razor sharp fast rapping in his new single Kinetic. He interacted intimately with the crowd saying that the energy was beautiful and that he loved being back in Perth with the ‘Perth vibes’. Having released his ‘Reasons’ EP earlier this year, this is a name you want to keep your eyes on, definitely worth seeing again and a really subtle start to the night.
Next up was the far more colloquially Aussie hip hop sounds of Perths’ 5past. He grabbed the stage in a more aggressively enthusiastic way with the aid of ‘his bro’s’ acting as hype men. The crowd got involved from the get go, singing along to 5pasts cues and generally showing the rapper their love. His rap style was slightly reminiscent of the Perth legend Hunter (who founded SBX) as his Aussie accent resonated through his rap flow. Having a live DJ onstage spinning homemade beats also added to his authenticity. He played a few tracks from his 2017 album ‘Running Late’ which is a really lyrically diverse album, ranging from deep and meaningful to lighthearted and playful. After their energetic set the room was almost full to bursting and the heat was starting to set in, both supports had the crowd psyched and ready for more.
As a precursor to the third and final support act, the DJ came out to lively up the crowd a bit, playing some old skool bangers to get everyone in the mood and on their feet. He told the crowd “If you’ve got energy, we’ve got energy so show us some love!” leaving us screaming a welcome to Perths UK inspired grime rapper Shadow. The first impression you got was that this guy was a character who immediately got the crowd on his side with his new single Cream. Shadow’s already made quite a name for himself, signing with Golden Era Records (formed by Hilltop Hoods) in 2018 who boasts some of the most original hip hop in the country including AB Original, Funkoars and K21. After his first track he exclaimed “Damn it’s hot!”, bringing this up again later saying he was too hot and needed the crowds help to sing the chorus to the explosive track Shut It Down. Everyone got involved, fists in the air, feet stomping the floor. It was an electric set filled with heavy bass fueled grimy beats and a side of humorous crowd banter in between. Another Perth rapper to keep your eyes on and one that I highly recommend seeing live for his undeniable stage presence. The people were left panting and primed for their beloved main act.
The room was thick now with anticipation (and perspiration) as everyone crammed to the front of the stage. The crowd was properly pumped up and were getting rowdy waiting for the first glimpse of Draphts boyish face. I felt myself being nudged around a bit then suddenly every hand was in the air waving their appreciation for the man with arguably one of the most recognizable voices in Australian Hip hop. Emerging onto a stage surrounded by adoring fans he got right into it with his new tack Work It Out, asking fans if it was “ok if I bring out some buddies to help me out?”, on walks his live saxophone/flute player, Timothy Nelson with his bass and his beloved hype man/stage comrade Bitter Belief. With Dazastah (who is always such a pleasure to see live) already behind the drum kit smashing out live beats, his entourage was in place and ready to go. The energy in the room was amazing, coming from crowd and stage alike, his fans being able to recite his back catalog almost word for word. When he mused, “everyday is a holiday” not one person in the room didn’t know he was about to play Mexico, and when the infamous live sax sounds of Don Quote filled the room even the bar staff were singing and dancing along. With the live band vibe and intense energy and crowd support from Bitter Belief the room felt like everyone was moving as one with the coercion of their main man Drapht.
During his track The Come Down Is Real where Timothy Nelson accompanies him with his pitch perfect vocals, Drapht jumped onto the drum kit and reached his arms out to the crowd all singing along. Playing a mix of old and new, reinvigorating songs like Where Ya From, and bringing Knoe back onstage to fill in for Funkoars part in Take The Party With Us. Towards the end of his set he brought out the one and only Jimmy Ricard because if we’re honest, it’s not a Drapht set if he doesn’t play this all time favorite. When Drapht bade the fans his farewell and walked offstage, they weren’t having a bar of it, instantly starting to chant for an encore. Drapht did not disappoint coming out to play Bali Party appropriately dubbing the lyrics “we party Bali style” with “Rosemount Style”. Before leaving the stage he welcomed everyone to come say hi at the merch table after. I’m sure I was not the only person in the room who just felt the embrace that Draphts music gives you.
Once again another killer show from one of Perths favorite rappers. He created a really wholesome atmosphere where everyone felt they could uninhibitedly let loose and celebrate this unique Aussie hip hop sound. Can’t wait to see what he brings to the table next year!