Big Swell was an exciting, adrenaline-filled celebration of local hip hop

A host of influential young rap artists met at Ding Dong lounge for an exciting, adrenaline-fuelled celebration of hip hop. The WVS label showcase destroyed rivalries between cities, as emcees from all over the country bonded over their mutual love of music.

Kick starting the show was newcomer Poppy who dived into a seamless wave of rapid-fire raps, surprising the crowd with a sharp tongue and poetic lyricism. Melbourne artist Reiis erupted onto the stage with his crew, channelling a furious energy that turned the dancefloor into a moshpit. With high-energy and a rock star demeanour, his performance set the tone for the night ahead.
The quirky antics of rap duo Cult Shøtta proved to be an impressive colourful display of raw talent and charisma, seducing the crowd with a medley of trap and acid-rap. Sophiegrophy slayed her set, dominating the room with her fierce flow and sassy raps. The audience went wild for Mike Wang and Phantom’s banger What a Time, reciting lyrics word-for-word. Cylo’s distinctive blend of hip-hop and neo-soul was a welcome change to the lineup, and their stage presence proved live performance is just part of their nature.
The ‘Duke of Burn City’ Petero Thony bellowed No No (Hennessy) from within the wild moshpit. Juve took his place on stage and drummed up spur-of-the-moment beats that sounded polished and complete. Transporting the room with his trippy auto-tuned vocals was DJ and emcee Juñor, who astonished with a solid set of hip hop bangers, before bringing special guests Midas.Gold and Ivan Ooze onto the stage.
HVNCOQ’s mellow vibe was a refreshing twist to the night, with an intimate session that had the rapper in complete control of the room. It was time for the WVS roster to flex their skills. With charismatic delivery the masked I.E smashed his set, hypnotizing the crowd with down-tempo track OMW!
Kwasi x HFNR lived up to their trash style, bringing the party up a notch during their single Trash Out (No Tradition). Fans swarmed to the stage for their final song Bandito, which saw Kwasi stage-dive into the feverish crowd before hanging from the roof in the most thrilling moment of the night.
Travy P tore up the stage, belting out an array of fire tracks with unbelievable energy, before 360 made a surprise appearance during Sleepover. The veteran rapper roared unreleased tracks and blessed the new generation of rappers, encouraging the electric atmosphere and supportive environment.
The final act of the night was Lil Spacely, who turned the showcase into a party as rappers mingled with fans. Although exhausted, the room felt empowered as the fully charged night emitted a powerful shockwave through the community, celebrating the success of the hip hop movement in Australia.
Words by Vanessa Valenzuela
Image by Justin Macawili
Highlight: 360 jumping on stage with Travy P to spit unreleased tracks.
Lowlight: Overpowering vocal backing tracks for some artists.
Crowd Favourite: Kwasi rapping Bandito while hanging from the roof.