Australian hip-hop is at a turning point in 2019. The old guard of Hilltop Hoods and Bliss N Eso has stepped down, and the next generation is rising up. On Easter Sunday, Sydney’s Ivy was host to this, with the main indoor stage bouncing into the night. The line-up was a showcase of the new wave of Australian hip-hop artists. Shantan Wantan Ichiban, Joyride and Raj Mahal set the tone for the night, before Triple One, Chillinit and B Wise capped things off. In a single event, Ivy presented nine hours of the best hip-hop Australia has to offer.
Beginning at 1pm, the day took time to get going. Shantan Wantan Ichiban was the first artist to draw a notable crowd, his 3pm set teasing what to expect for later. With a wide courtyard atrium surrounded by overhanging verandas, no matter where the patrons were in Ivy, they were part of the audience. This inescapable set up lent itself particularly well to the next act, Joyride. This DJ set ignited the show floor, which landed somewhere between an energetic EDM dance floor and a raucous rock mosh pit. This became even more evident during Boston’s Raj Mahal, who’s aggressively authentic American style established the tone of the night. His music was intense, with enough raw attitude to inspire the rowdy pit to raise their middle fingers in the air and bounce up and down.
While these sets were popular, the large open courtyard space was only half full until Sydney’s hottest hip-hop prospects took the stage. Unsurprisingly, Triple One stole the show. With every release, their popularity climbs to something more indicative of their talent. Everything from latest hits ‘Butter’ and ‘Showoff’, to releases off their EPs, like ‘Tarlo’ and ‘Breaking Dawn’, to their early songs, like ‘Doozy’ and their best and oldest track ‘That’s My Money’, went off. They also showed off two unreleased tracks off their upcoming EP, ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Handyman’. Whether because of their diverse and genre blending sound or their genuine connection to the hometown crowd, Triple One’s set was dynamic, entertaining and memorable.
The difficult task of following this set fell on Chillinit, who made sure no-one was forgetting his set after stage diving off the Ivy courtyard awnings. If Triple One added fuel to the afternoon fire, Chillinit was throwing pipe-bombs. The bold audacity and assertive confidence of the Sydney rapper perfectly kept the crowd’s momentum going. The crowd was violently moshing, looking from the upper floor like an ocean of people, folding and bending against the riptide.
The final set was B-Wise, who mightn’t have been as wild or crazy as the previous two, but was the ideal way to cap such a night off. With other artists on stage, he sent a clear message of inclusivity that represented the Sydney hip-hop community.
Australian hip-hop is undergoing a change. The popularity of these acts sold out the Ivy on Easter Sunday. As a reward for this, both the artists and the community they represent were treated to an unforgettable day of music. The average Sydney hip-hop fan, with their freshest Nautica trackies, bum-bag and Air Maxes on, were treated like kings because the home-grown talent they’d seen at pubs, warehouse parties and underground festivals had finally made it on a stage that was as big as they deserved.