24 Karat Kev tells us his top picks for homegrown hip-hop in 2016

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24 KARAT KEV has a lot on his (probably diamond encrusted) plate. An already established music journalist, Kev released his debut single ‘Chinatown Champs’ a couple of weeks back. Exploring the nuances of growing up Asian in Australia, the musician knows how to create vibrant videos and saucy rap. Amongst it all, he found the time to talk Purple Sneakers through his top picks for 2016’s best Australian Rap songs.

SPIT SYNDICATE – 2042 COME UP

As a music journalist, I have been lucky enough to work with Spit Syndicate on a handful of occasions over the past few years, and you can always rely on the One Dayers to provide some engaging content. Their raps are no different – and while ‘Know Better’ and ‘Inhibitions’ might be the smooth summer jams that you’ll have on repeat while you’re sipping on a mojito, the more assertive ‘2042 Come Up’ has my vote as their premium 2016 jam. It’s more Inner-West braggadocio where Jimmy Nice sounds like the coolest fucker on the planet without even trying, and Mr. Lupi confirms his CEO status with finesse.

MANU CROOKS – BLOWIN’ UP FT. MIRACLE

Oh boy, Dopamine and Manu Crooks really cooked up one hell of a beat for ‘Blowin Up’ – I could happily listen to this instrumental from now until the day that I die. While Manu Crooks’ previous single ‘Everyday’ was a certified club banger, ‘Blowin Up’ takes some of those anthemic elements and dresses them in a slightly more subtle glaze. Miracle joins Manu Crooks on the hook – and while both of these strapping young lads have been doing the hip-hop rounds for a while now, it really seems like the stars are aligning for their movement in 2016. Throw in a cameo from JOY in the video and a premiere from The Fader, and we have an absolute doozy on our hands. Speaking of…

TRIPLE ONE – DOOZY

I rave on about Triple One for at least 13 minutes each day, maybe because the video for ‘Doozy’ features yellow speed dealers, but also because their sound largely untapped in Australia. This song is just four guys in a dimly lit house drinking lots of beers and trying their hand at rap, and hey – it bloody works. It’s refreshingly DIY and unashamedly grubby, with brash raps eased by soothing melodic hooks that could lull you into a siesta. Triple One also dropped The Libertine EP in 2016 which amped up the indie/emo influences even further, and as someone who owns Jimmy Eat World records, I am definitely not mad about it.

FORTAY – ALL THE WAY UP (REMIX)

I have always respected West Sydney emcees for the way they have cultivated their own rabid fan bases and rattled the Australian rap game – and the region has no prouder ambassador than Fortay. The evidence? He’s about to release an album called West Syd Story, just in time for your workplace Secret Santaand earlier this year he put a spin on Fat Joe & Remy Ma’s colossal comeback single ‘All The Way Up’. Fortay has an authoritative boom in his delivery that just demands respect, and the last line in this track gets me every damn time. Oh yeah, in 2016 he also added glow-in-the-dark bongs to his merchandise line. Huge.

REMI – SUBSTANCE THERAPY

I first saw Remi back in 2014 at the Independent Music Awards. He took out the $50,000 grant and strolled onstage to accept his prize in Nike trackpants. It was an audacious move and from that moment on, I knew that he was destined for greatness. In 2016, he fronted a Foot Locker campaign and made a song called ‘Fuck The Judge’ with Baro – power moves. Teaming up with Sensible J, Remi also dropped another vital full-length in Divas & Demons filled with moments of soul, groove, funk and melancholy. ‘Substance Therapy’ is one of the albums more direct singles – shouts to Sydney’s own Numb Supply in the cut.

ANFA ROSE – THIRSTY

We spoke about Miracle for a second before – in 2016, he’s established his new WVS imprint, and the first signee is none other than Anfa Rose. Once again, ‘Thirsty’ was produced by Dopamine and you’ll be surprised that this joint came out of Australia: It’s moody RnB for late-night sexters and contemporary romantics, laced with lingering keys and patient hi-hats. Put this song on for your Tinder date and dim the lights – we’re sure that this will get plenty of replay value around Valentine’s Day. With the WVS crew diversifying their roster and putting out a consistent stream of tunes, 2017 is sounding large.

A.B. ORIGINAL – JANUARY 26 FT. DAN SULTAN

A.B. Original have created something special on ‘January 26‘ with a track that’s effortlessly catchy and irresistibly bouncy – but simultaneously holding a crucial message that needs to be heard nationwide. With Dan Sultan lending his rich vocals to the hook, Briggs and Trials trade unapologetic verses about the country’s long-standing Australia Day controversy – and the terrifying rhetoric that’s dominated politics proves that these voices are more necessary than ever. The single is taken from their Reclaim Australia album, which gives a voice to the Indigenous experience with compelling spirit.

Keep up with 24 Karat Kev on his socials here.

Words by ABBEY LENTON

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24 KARAT KEV GOES VIRAL IN ‘CHINATOWN CHAMPS’

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If you ever spot a girl daggy dancing her way around Sydney's dirty D-Floors, you can bet your bottom dollar that girl is Abbey Lenton.