Photos by Damien Crocker
I am picky about what Rap and Hip Hop I like. I’ve seen Xzibit, Coolio, Eminem, Royce Da 5’9, Lauryn Hill and Nas perform before – that’s the extent of it. Not forgetting Aussie Hip Hop though, I’ve seen legends like Downsyde perform as well, and I have had their music on loop in my car. Who I just saw though? Hilltop Hoods. I know who Hilltop Hoods are. I have never really listened to them before until the week they hit Perth, and once I did I knew I’d be in for a treat at RAC Arena on 7 September.
Local act, Shadow, opened the night with an energetic set for the RAC Arena crowd. like a man possessed, he knew this was a big opportunity to play in front of this massive audience and he didn’t disappoint. That’s really what I like seeing. It’s always warming to me to see somebody take advantage of a platform that they have in front of them. Onya mate.
Mojo Juju seconded the night’s proceedings and warmed the audience up even more with her brand of hip hop. I really feel like she’s found a signature sound that I haven’t heard from any artist before! She’s got some great presence about her, and I hope this exposure served her well. It was a fairly low key performance, not as hyped and manic like a Hilltops set would be but it was powerful in it’s own way!
Hilltop Hoods stormed out it was immediately a big party. Hilltops have packed this place out and I was astounded at the sheer volume of people in the building, I mean this HAD to be sold out. Not even Alice Cooper had this many people here last time he came to Perth with Ace Frehley! Its just great to see an Aussie act be able to fill the RAC Arena to the rafters. Song after song, the whole pit were bopping and it was a sight to see from the seats I had. I knew a few tunes from my weeks research and they were absolutely electric on the night. Songs like ‘Exit Sign’, ‘Cosby Sweater’, ‘The Nosebleed Section’ – certifiably awesome mate.
Hilltops frontmen Suffa and Pressure were born to do this. This just appears to be ingrained in them. They’re the party hosts, and we are the party goers and the show just seemed to fly by. The live band did an absolute cracking job too and it really does wonders as far as I’m concerned seeing live hip-hop with backing musicians helping the show along. I can’t find their names anywhere on the internet but just know this if you’re reading this – I tried!
Backing Vocalist Nyassa had some tall tasks ahead of her, filling the shows of Sia on the track ‘I Love It’, and came through with the goods. She was great, a definite standout performer on the night. I’ll be looking out to see what she does next for sure!
There are times when ‘new material’ becomes a toilet break for people, but that did not seem to be the case on this night. They peppered some songs from The Great Expanse throughout the set and the tracks seemed to be just as welcomed and beloved as the hits. The show ended with a bang as local rap legend Drapht pounced out with ‘Shadow’ to help finish things off on a high.
I really enjoyed this show, as did my long haired rocker friend Clint who came along to see the show to try to understand what the appeal of Aussie Hip Hop is. It’s not his thing. He came out of the show though with a new perspective and I guess even appreciation for the genre. I was already there. It has it’s place – it sold out the RAC Arena – it’s been here for a long time now and with acts like Hilltop Hoods leading the charge with other acts like Drapht, Downsyde, Layla, Rob Shaker, Bliss N Eso, Bitter Belief and many, many others I feel it will only continue to rise in popularity for the foreseeable future.