Hip-hop was once something of an outcast in the Australian music industry, but the success of artists such as SA’s Hilltop Hoods has helped the genre gain mainstream recognition.
Jimblah (James Alberts) is an Adelaide artist who is keen to pass on his experience to others as the organiser of a series of hip-hop talks and master-classes being held at Carclew this weekend.
He got a big boost himself after being awarded a grant through the Hilltop Hoods Initiative in 2007, and has managed to stay strong to his roots and values.
“I’ve come to experience there are a whole lot of shady people within the industry … [but] there is a whole lot of beautiful people who actually do care about the music first and foremost,” he told InDaily.
Jimblah has released two albums, Face the Fire and Phoenix, receiving critical acclaim for his blend of soulful song-writing and rhythmic flow.
He acknowledges that there is pressure in the industry for performers to concede their own style to fit a certain mould – or “sell out”, as it is known.
“It’s sad because it’s so much of a business now, and the focus usually tends to shift in that direction rather than the beauty of it all, ya know; what we’re here for in the first place – the art.”
The Back to Basics event at Carclew offers a chance for young SA musicians and enthusiasts to learn about music production, lyric writing and live performance from artists including Jimblah, Solo (NSW), Jane Tyrrell (Victoria), Omar Musa (ACT) and Candice Monique (Victoria).
A member of respected hip-hop crew The Herd, Tyrrell echoes Jimblah’s comments about the need for performers to let the music, or art, speak for itself rather than defaulting to sex appeal or “tough guy appeal”.
“I find nothing more grotesque and off-putting than a woman trying to make her impression in hip-hop by overtly being sexual.
“Your instrument and performance should engage the viewer or listener on its substance alone.
“Using a tough guy approach will only take you so far … artists should use words, not intimidation, to gain attention.”
The rapid growth of hip-hop in Adelaide, and the mainstream recognition it now receives, is largely credited to home-town group the Hilltop Hoods and the opportunities they have given to many artists through their label, Golden Era Records.
Jimblah says Adelaide’s hip-hop scene has always been strong, with a tenacious group of rhymers including up-and-coming artists such as Prime, Vents, Purpose and The Funkoars.
“I think we owe a whole lot to artists such as the (Hilltop) Hoods for paving the way in that regard. They basically opened up the door so we could all get a foot in.”
Jimblah says workshops run by youth-based organisations are a useful resource for artists passionate about hip-hop.
“We’re touching on things like access to opportunities, how to remain inspired and hungry, and what some of the basic things are that many artists are unaware of when delving deeper into the industry,” he says of the Back to Basics event.
Although applications to be a part of the one-on-one artist meetings and hip-hop master-classes at Back to Basics have closed, people can still register to attend a free public talk by artists such as Jimblah, Solo and Jane Tyrrell from 1-3pm on Saturday. To register, visit the Carclew website.
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