Hip Hop

With Jimmy Hall

One producer that has been flying under the radar is Pete Rock. He is perhaps one of the most underrated and influential producers currently in hip hop. For those unfamiliar, he has worked with the likes of Run-Dmc, Nas, De La Soul, and the hard spitting Wu-Tang Clan. You have likely heard his work even if you can’t recall the name.
2016 saw Pete Rock release three albums in seven months and collaborate with some with very big acts. The first release was NY’s Finest which included appearances from Redman, Raekwon, and Papoose who all supplied verses on different tracks. He followed it up with an instrumental album NY’s Finest (instrumental), featuring just his beats. To cap off the year, Pete Rock teamed up with New York rapper Smoke DZA to release one of the best albums of 2016 Don’t Smoke Rock.
Pete Rock now finds himself in Melbourne to play a set at Prince Bandroom on Wednesday March 8. He is playing with the rapper that launched his career, C.L Smooth.
Keeping in the vein of producers doing big things, Dros released his very first album Hieronymus Dros last week. It is a funky ten-track instrumental with a very charming jazzy undertone to it. Dros has self-released this one and it is worth a listen. You can find it on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
If Pete Rock and Dros have you digging the instrumental vibes, make sure you head on over to Nevermind Bar on Thursday March 9. They are hosting Mind Vibes, a monthly set for producers and performers looking to show off their instrumental tracks. The lineup for this one has Walla C, Ra Ra Raj, BryZone_ybp and ColDrip strutting their stuff.
Moving from producers and instrumentals to lyricists and MC’s. Urthboy has two shows lined up for Melbourne this weekend as part of his Crushing Hard national tour. Urthboy released the single back in December.  For those in the know, Urthboy has been a corner stone of Oz hip hop since 1998, when he helped form the legendary Elefant Traks label. He then joined forces with various Sydney artists to form supergroup The Herd in 2001. He has released five albums with The Herd and a further five solo albums, establishing himself as one of the southern hemisphere’s best rappers.  He is playing at the Corner Hotel on the Thursday March 9 and Friday March 10.
Hot off the back of his chart topping album Two Degrees, Melbourne born Illy is touring to celebrate his first ever #1 on the ARIA album chart. With his single Catch 22 going double platinum, and Papercuts going triple platinum, it is no surprise that Two Degrees is considered a wild success. You can catch Illy on Saturday April 1 playing at Festival Hall. He will be supported by Sydney duo Spit Syndicate.
Ending a rather lengthy hiatus Butterfingers are set to release their new single Big Night Out on Friday March 10. Frontman Evil Eddie has been experimenting with solo work and with the punk band SpitFireLiar in recent times so it is nice to have the Brisvegas rhymer back in the hip hop fold. Butterfingers are playing at the Gasometer Hotel on Sunday April 16. If it hasn’t already, it’s sure to sell out.