How Kwame and The Kid Laroi represent the peak of a bursting rap scene
Both sharing new music today, Kwame and The Kid LAROI show how Australian music is bursting on an international scale.
It would be a near-crime to admit that this year hasn't been a break-out year for many pockets of Australian music, especially for the country's local pop scene - where musicians including Ruel, Mallrat and Cub Sport are thriving - and in the worlds of indie and rock, where some of the world's leading musicians come from Australia. However, it would be equally dismissive to say that hip-hop wasn't the biggest of the bunch; a localised explosion of high-tier rap and R&B the result of a dominative wave sweeping the greater global music scene.
It's something we've talked about endlessly this year, but for those in the back that might've missed it the first few times: regardless of what niche pocket of hip-hop you're talking about, there's an Australian striving in it amongst the international scene, and a collection of those underground - awaiting their break-out moments - ready to jump into place. This year, we've had amazing records from the likes of Sampa The Great - the Zambian-born, Melbourne-based musician whose The Return may be the year's best record - and an endless list of brilliant singles and EPs, from the likes of REMI, Triple One, Jesswar, Baker Boy and the list goes on.
Kwame and The Kid LAROI are two artists most certainly within the package of Australian rappers to make 2019 their year, even if no-one had heard of them at the turn of this decade. The former, from Sydney's western suburbs, has completely transformed from a cult-favourite to a hip-hop visionary taking the local rap market into worlds otherwise unexplored, introduced as the inaugural signing to Def Jam's AU/NZ imprint - a huge moment, for one of rap's most visible labels of all time - with his single STOP KNOCKIN' @ MY DOOR! which showcased that exact forward-thinking prowess Kwame highlights in his music.
The latter, meanwhile, is amongst rap's youngest names, but that doesn't mean you should look over him. The Sydney rapper initially emerged with his debut single Blessings a while ago, but the year since has been dominated with high-tier collaborations and spottings alongside some of music's most influential and defying names - Drake, Skrillex, JuiceWRLD and the list goes on. Even though his career only spans a handful of tracks, it's clear that The Kid LAROI is next up - a bright light that's sure to define the brightness of Australian rap's future and how it continues to throw us off.
Together, Kwame and The Kid LAROI represent two different sides of Australian hip-hop's future. Kwame is an artist of now. That's not to say that he's not going to be an artist of tomorrow as well - it's clear that Kwame is sure to be amongst the future's big stars - but it's also dismissive to not place him amongst the country's most visible names in rap, whether it be locally or internationally. LAROI, meanwhile, is most certainly an artist of tomorrow. He hasn't even begun to peak and it's clear that he may even be amongst rap's future international heavy-hitters - something even the scene's biggest names agree with.
The reason we're writing this, is that today they both shared music which seemingly reinforced this. Kwame's latest offering - the E^ST-assisted Nobody - is a sparkling gem that takes nods from hip-hop's past in the same way as STOP KNOCKIN' and incorporates with mannerisms of the genre's future, intertwining one of the country's best pop vocalists in E^ST for an all-class track that's sure to be a highlight point of Kwame's forthcoming new EP - expected sometime next year. "The track itself is a huge reflection of the years I've had thus far, seeing many people come and go," he says.
The Kid LAROI, meanwhile, today shares Let Her Go. Out through international mega-label Columbia, the track is a bursting two-minutes of hip-hop fury that presents The Kid LAROI at his most focused thus far; a thick, quick-paced rap emerging strong and attentive above a strumming production that links it with the future, a clear display that LAROI has something remarkably great going on in the future. For LAROI, however, this is just the start - it's clear that he's got plenty more in the tank, and it's clear that he's bound to define the next few years of hip-hop with whatever he has in store.
Dive into the two tracks, and keep an eye on both of these forces as they continue to represent the bursting Australian rap scene on an international scale, and continue to defy how the country will change and grow with its relationship with hip-hop in the years ahead.
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Follow The Kid LAROI: FACEBOOK