Hilltop Hoods: Pressure in the Hilltop Hood

With a career spanning well over a decade, the Hilltop Hoods can lay claim to being one of Australia’s most highly renowned hip-hop crews. The trio, consisting of Adelaide MCs Pressure, Suffa and DJ Debris have supported and promoted the sound since its infancy in 1992.

“Back then there was basically no live hip hop shows and very few open mic nights to freestyle at so, we had to pretty much put on our own nights if we wanted to play live.” explains Pressure. “Getting started meant creating our own scene in Adelaide along side several other crews and DJs who where around back then – it was a lot of work.”

The crew spent over five years producing bedroom demos and freestyling before moving into the studio and establishing their reputation. Since then they have been riding the road to success. The group received two nominations for the Hip Hop Act of the Year Award at The Australian Dance Music Awards and again at the 3D World Music Awards in 2001 and 2002.

Their original style of combining funky beats with the experimental ethos of jazz is now recognised across the globe. Atak Worldwide in San Francisco describes their sound as ’…an impressive mix of raw beats, tight cuts and solid lyrics- what more can you ask for?” While Hip Hop Connection Magazine in the UK calls it, “No silly gimmicks, no wack beats, no nonsense hip-hop.”

The successful trio have already released three critically acclaimed underground LPs ‘Left Foot, Right Foot,’ ‘Matter Of Time’ and ‘Back Once Again’ in addition to six compilations. Now they are about to unleash their highly anticipated follow up album, ‘The Calling.’

“The Calling is set to be a full length LP featuring around fifteen new tracks,” says Pressure. “It’s due out in September, with several interstate guests featured – it’s on a bit of a rougher tip than our last instalment ‘Left Foot, Right Foot’”

As far as Pressure’s lyrical contributions go, the MC does not rap about continuous themes or messages in his rhymes. Instead, he prefers to be less specific and more creative, taking his local viewpoints track by track.

“I think an MC has to have diverse topics to stand the test of time. We do however try to include tracks in every album that have some meaning or topic other than the typical drink piss and run amok, or battle type stuff. But there is a time and place for everything.

“I think I have lyrically progressed with each album though the style in which I bring my rhymes to the table hasn’t altered so much. Perhaps a little more mellow than it used to be,” he says adding, “Maybe I’m slowing down in my old age or something.”

Although far from being considered ‘old’, Pressure does have a long history in the scene and says things have changed considerably since the early days.

“The amount a people participating in creating the music itself and getting involved in other aspects of the culture has risen and the standard of the music that is being produced Australia wide is of much higher quality now than early to mid nineties – so this can only lead to a stronger scene in the future.”

Pressure admits the crew’s approach to music is also becoming more professional nowadays. “It has to be if ya wanna actually get somewhere with it. The quality of Australian hip-hop is improving rapidly to the point that established artists are having to work harder to stay on top from the massive amounts of younger people getting involved and coming up.”

As far as marketing our local hip-hop to a global audience, Pressure is hopeful, having received positive feedback from internationals such as Company Flow and Foreign Legion.

“I sometimes get the impression that international acts come here not knowing what to expect of ‘down under’ and are always surprised by the standard of the support acts and shows,” he says.

The Hilltop Hoods will embark on a national tour to after launching the album but for now they are busy performing live at the QLD, NSW and SA state finals and the Australian finals of the 2003 DMC Technics World DJ Championships. So what can we expect from the crew at the upcoming competitions?

“Apart from three stupidly handsome men making fools of themselves on stage? A rowdy live show with plenty of energy, crowd participation and some new tracks from the upcoming LP.”

Be sure to check out Hilltop Hoods at the following DMC Comp heats and finals:

QLD – 26th July @ The Arena
SA – 1st August @ Traffic
NSW – 7th August @ The Gaelic Club
ACT – 9th August @ Green Room
WA – 9th August @ The Globe
AUS FINALS – 22nd August @ The Metro (Melbourne)

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