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MCs Joelistics and Pip, turntablist Paso Bionic, and producer Yeroc

That there is Melbourne hip-hop foursome TZU. Just recently they have released their debut album, Position Correction.

It shits on most of the other stuff that passes for Australian hip-hop.

Let me begin explaining why by addressing the rest of this paragraph to the vast bulk of Australian hip-hop artists. Just because you have some stupid middle-class, white-boy political agenda to push in your lyrics doesnt make you any better then the idiots that don't know how to rhyme about more then their ganster exploits. When you replace petty battle rhymes with "I hate George Bush, you love him, im cool, your gay" your not really pushing the bounds of the genre. It's not that hip-hop can't be about politics, because it can, god only knows that if hip-hop is not the music of social progress then nothing is. I'm just sick of hearing hip-hop lyricists who think that the burden of writing meaningful lyrics is an excuse for lyrics that don't rhyme. Or worse, lyricists who think that the burden of rhyme is an excuse for lyrics that do not mean anything.

Maybe I am being unfair. No doubt Australian hip-hop cops a fair bit of criticism it doesnt deserve. Australians have a tendancy towards cultural cringe where hip-hop is concerned. We can't help but look at Australian hip-hop through the distorting prism of its America counterpart. Which is not fair. Australia doesn't have the significant gun culture that America does, which puts the kibosh on rapping about gangster antics. Australia does not have the engrained apathy for politics that America does, which means we (Australians) are more inclinded to rap about politics. Perhaps most tellingly, while in America hip-hop was (is?) the domain of the poor and disenfranchised in Australia it seems to have been taken up mostly by well educated, middle class, white kids. So Australian hip-hop ends up being the music of childhood nostalgia, left wing politics, and clever word play.

And what is so wrong with that? It is unrealistic to expect that the hip-hop that took off in America would be the same species of hip-hop music that is now taking off in Australia.

Now. Here is the nub. People are starting to realise that Australian hip-hop doesn't have to sound like American hip-hop in order to be good music and in an effort to make amends for past injustices have invented the closest we have political correctness in the music industry. Suddenly Australian hip-hop is the flavour of the month and any criticism of Aussie hip-hop is made to look like cultural insensitivity. Where once criticism failed to see the effect of cultural differences, now it sees TZU - Position Correction differences in culture where there is naught but bad hip-hop. But soon we will reach equilibrium. That happy place where we understand that while Australian hip-hop can't really be compared to American hip-hop, ALL music has to stand up to the scrutiny of being compared to its peers.

So yeah. TZU. Good stuff.

"Like Moses, I'm going to part MC's"
      - TZU

Posted by ExistAngst at 10:30 PM April 27, 2004

Good post, good choice of band and good selection of songs. But i can't download them, is it possible that they weren't uploaded or something similar?

Comment posted by: joe at April 28, 2004 03:13 PM

cant download them either.
plus if you want some quality aussie hiphop check out hilltop hoods.

Comment posted by: Inept at April 28, 2004 03:40 PM

Curse of dialect > TZU > Herd > Hoods.

Comment posted by: joe at April 28, 2004 04:59 PM

By the way, i'm downloading them now. Going a little slower than normal, but thats all.

Comment posted by: Joe at April 28, 2004 05:00 PM

Yeah i have no problems at all downloading them.

Perhaps the server was down for a while. I cant complain too much since i am not paying for it.

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at April 28, 2004 06:51 PM

Ozweb down

Surely not

I'd like to say that downsyde are cool too, I don't like how all their new stuff samples some chick, but they gave me a good lunch

Comment posted by: Belter at April 28, 2004 11:02 PM

Don't lynch me but, having heard American hip-hop or not, i still think Aussie hip-hop is the biggest hunk of crap to come out of this country. Good post, but i don't think i'll ever be converted...i have noticed triple j playing a shedload of it lately though.

Comment posted by: cally at May 2, 2004 06:30 PM

Hi Kids

Ive seen TZU live a few times and these kids have skill. I think i would rate them as the best hip hop act in australia at the moment

nice post angst.

Comment posted by: Re[x] at May 3, 2004 08:22 AM

i recently saw 2up live, excellent show, little dissapointed in there ep though. hopefully the lp will capture more of their live spirit

Comment posted by: inept at May 5, 2004 03:49 PM

Come now Cally.... i think you are being way too harsh. What about All Saints?

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at May 7, 2004 03:33 PM

heh..."my flows are gelatanous"? please!

Comment posted by: cally at May 7, 2004 04:16 PM

I dont hear anyone complain when Thom Yorke sings of the "unborn chicken voices in my head".

Comment posted by: ExistAngst at May 12, 2004 06:28 PM

i can never tell the lyrics of radiohead songs anyway, i enjoy it purely for the melodies and guitar..of which aussie hip hop lacks

Comment posted by: cally at May 14, 2004 06:01 PM

Also, Thom doesn't actually WRITE his own songs. Aliens transmit them to his brain from outer-space.

Comment posted by: mr. gast at May 15, 2004 08:07 AM

naturally...

Comment posted by: cally at May 19, 2004 10:47 PM

my favourite groups right now - radiohead, coldplay, muse, hilltop hoods - hhmmmm - isnt that wrong? not at all - different music for different parts of the week. Lets not get into lyrics at least they are not singing about "getting back together forever etc"

Comment posted by: rick at May 22, 2004 11:54 AM

A Tribe Is Fomring are a MAD aussi hip hop band. if you are talking about live shows, then these blokes are the BOMB!! They are an adelaide group, and i saw them last week at the Espy in Melbourne. The place was going crazy!! Whilst i admit their lyrics arnt the deepest, they sure know how to get a party started! One of the best Hip Hop acts going around at the moment..and VERY underground!

Comment posted by: mikey at June 1, 2004 05:57 PM


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