The Australian hip/hop scene is entering a new era as a wave of talent is rising through the scene. This includes artists like Nerve, Triple One and most significantly, Chillinit. Raised in Hurstville, Sydney, Chillinit has no major industry backing, but instead produces and distributes his music independently through his own 420 Family label. After years grinding, his recent successes, namely 2018’s Women Weed & Wordplay LP, have seen him amass millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify. Now, he has released “Freedom”, showcasing his mainstream potential.
To call “Freedom” commercial or radio-friendly would be a disservice to Chillinit’s biggest strength, his authenticity. However, these terms are the best way to describe this comparatively brighter track. When listening to something like “One Breathe One Take”, his ability as a rapper and lyricist is second to none in the country. All of this and more is on display during “Freedom”, but there is a fun and upbeat tone that envelopes everything. It’s a throwback to the last generation of Aussie hip/hop artists, who pioneered the more universally accessible and appealingly mainstream conventions of the genre.
From the song’s opening call of “freedom!”, it establishes itself as an anthem. Trumpets boom in the background, harmonizing with the background keys, bringing the glorious uproar and clamorous fanfare required to properly introduce Sydney’s finest. This happy tone is maintained across the entire track through this hook, soundbites of Chill’s “whoop!” and an infectiously energetic beat. It is very reminiscent of 2000s hip/hop, when Bliss n Eso and Hilltop Hoods reigns supreme. However, the upbeat tone doesn’t make this any less of a Chillinit track.
From the first line, “I just wanna get rich for my brothers in the six, motherfucker this is freedom,” it’s clear that the playful vulgarity and genuine reality of Chillinit’s music is still present. Words can’t ever do justice to Chillinit’s verses, but it can be said that the radio-friendly sound lets some of Chillinit’s sense of humour as well as his blunt authenticity. For example, lines like “I made her bend her back like scoliosis” are contrasted to very real discussion of his family and the struggles he faced growing up.
For those who have followed his career, “Freedom” is an exclamation mark on Chillinit’s journey to the top of the Sydney rap game. For those unfamiliar with Chillinit, “Freedom” is proof that underneath the vicious bars and ballistic verses is a happy and free artist who can evoke the positive vibes of Hilltop Hoods, without compromising his authentic and genuine voice.