Hip-Hop For Humanity

This will be the second incarnation of Hip-Hop For Humanity, after its debut at the Evelyn in 2016. What initially inspired you to create this event? I took the year off uni and I had a bit of time on my hands. I started telling everybody that I was putting on the show, even though at the time it was just an idea. That way, I was forced to pull through, because people were expecting something. Organising what was pretty much a party for charity, with some of my favourite Melbourne hip hop acts was a pretty appealing idea for me. Getting started was easy because I was so excited about bringing the idea to life.
Tell us about how you got together this year's lineup? Audrey, who’s been helping me on the event, suggested we speak to Dom from Man Made Mountain about playing. We’d both seen him play a few times. He’s so kind and lets off the coolest energy, we were stoked to have him on board. The Stranger Suite, who played last year under the name Black Molasses, had such a loaded dynamic and sound. The crowd really got around them, so having them on the bill again was a no brainer. Azzy is really cool too. At the start of planning, it looked like we’d have about thirty performers and not a single woman, which didn’t sit well with me. I was thrilled to have a female MC join the bill, and even better – a female of Ethiopian heritage, the focus country of our chosen charity Ethiopiaid. Lastly, Moses Carr and Lucky Pereira are some of my oldest friends, and I really wanted to provide them with a platform to show off their insane talent. They’ve got a fresh project in the works.
The first Hip-Hop For Humanity was a massive success – the show sold out the Evelyn and you raised $4080 for Ethiopiaid. What did you learn from the experience that you've taken through into organising/preparing for its sequel? It’s hard to know exactly what made the first Hip-Hop for Humanity so successful. We put in a lot of hard work and hyped it up as much as we could. Audrey and I were chewing everyone’s ear off about it, spreading the event on social media, and spending whole days putting up posters. I’ve been trying to replicate what worked last year for preparing for this show.
How did you first get interested in Melbourne's hip hop scene? Since first developing my own music tastes, I’ve always loved Aussie hip hop. One of my first CDs was Hilltop Hoods, The Hard Road. I was part of a rap rock band in high school, and as soon as I was old enough, I was going to hip hop gigs and starting to get a taste of Melbourne’s hip hop scene. The thing I love most about Melbourne hip hop is the multicultural element. Everybody seems to own their own background, and I think it’s reflected so strongly in their sound.
What does the future for Hip-Hop For Humanity look like? I think that I’ll run with Hip-hop for Humanity for a while and see where it takes me. It's too much fun to let go. It’s a dream of mine to one day have Sampa the Great play, but that could be many years down the track.
Pictured: Man Made Mountain

Hip-Hop For Humanity will take over The Gasometer Hotel on Thursday February 23.