21 October, Oxford Art Factory
In an age of streaming and constant social media click-baiting, it’s easy to forget there is such a concept as a music subculture capable of generating a real sense of community and togetherness. Sydney hip hop collective Big Village has used their music and camaraderie to create not just an impressive label with talented artists but also a community for fans of hip hop that gives people a good time.
Big Village started seven years ago with artist Rapaport and P-Smurf steering the ship, and over time they have added more talented Australian hip hop artists to their roster growing an even bigger community and creating awareness about great talent that deserves to be noticed. Each year all the artists from Big Village come together to do a national tour; this year was no different as they announced ten locations on their tour schedule.
The Big Vacation Tour also included a stop in Sydney, where the label initially started. The Oxford Art Factory has always been a spiritual home for great local and international artists but Big Village can almost call it their real home as they perform there as a collective and as individual groups and artists so frequently.
The line-up of the Sydney show included ten of the label’s best-known artists and groups. Kicking the night off was Tenth Tan, Soul Benefits and Vuli, all getting the crowd warmed up with their emphatic music. Next, Billy Rose, Mathas, Omar Musa and Rapaport presented their hip hop credentials and infectious beats and to close off the evening P-Smurf, Be Ready and Suburban Dark brought their A game and closed the show with a mighty bang.
It’s a very tasty menu that the Big Village artists have to offer, they all brought something to the table. Soul Benefits gave us an old school hip hop crew vibe. Vuli took the listeners into African rhythms and tribal beats mixed with jazzy and soulful saxophone playing. Mathas brought a sense of the bizarre with a performance and showmanship that was captivating including jumping into the crowd and rapping amongst the people. Omar Musa conveyed passion with poems that addressed the toxic political landscape in Australia, telling the audience to put a middle finger up to Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton.
Rapaport was the only MC of the night that rapped and played electric guitar at the same time and rather than a DJ supporting him he had a live drummer performing the grim beats that he loves to rap over. P-Smurf also knows how to spit rhymes the quickest and is a master at the art of freestyling along with his talented DJ Cost who supplied the hip hop jams throughout the night, showing off his turntable skills. Suburban Dark’s graveyard shift was also a hypnotic dance-like affair that conjures haunting images of ghosts and goblins, they have to be without a shadow of a doubt some of the most innovative electronic/hip hop producers coming out of Sydney presently.
In seven years Big Village has managed to cement themselves in Australian hip hop culture. Their loyal supporters are not just your typical obsessed fans, they are a community of like-minded people who don’t just enjoy good music but are always friendly to chat to and create the positive vibes that makes a Big Village tour so special. It’s an ever-growing family and the village just keeps getting bigger and bigger over the years; if you want quality hip hop that gives you real food for thought and will make you value hip hop as an art form, then do yourself a favour and listen to their music.