MC Yallah [supplied], Walkerboy [supplied], T Breezy by Tamati Smith, VV Pete by Dayvis Heyne
Have you ever thought: Damn, life is really boring right now, I wish there was a freaky-fun raucous event with eminent international rappers and upcoming local rappers and DJs in a sweaty, steamy club where I could feel something… where I could lose my mind dancing ‘til my skin sheds off and my mind is blown to smithereens in seconds and reassembled just as disturbingly fast and I am born anew…?
Yes? No? Either way. This event is for you.This weekend, Melbourne’s club of clubs is hosting an evening of genre-twisting reconnaissance between two scenes, seemingly disparate yet not-dissimilar: rap and “left-field experimental club”. Uganda-based Kenyan rapper MC Yallah, a core force in the East-African underground hip-hop scene, and her co-collaborator, Berlin-based French producer Debmaster, will join a supporting lineup of Sydney’s rising rap stars as well as a string of local Melbourne DJs to evoke a “very big rap show”.Brought to you by Mutations, Cool Room, Local Knowledge and Trackwork, Miscellania’s dance floor will be broken down and reassembled by this extraordinary collision of worlds.
MC Yallah’s career in hip-hop began in 1999, and her debut album, Kubali, was released on Uganda’s Hakuna Kulala in 2019. Hakuna Kalala and its sister label, Nyege Nyege Tapes are highly praised labels pushing East African and Congolese experimental dance music to collaborations with international producers. Due to hit the doof stage at Inner Varnika in April, this will be MC Yallah’s only Melbourne show.As event organiser and Cool Room officiate Anuraag Bhatia said, “She spits in four languages, has been MCing for over 20 years, and is just an incredibly dextrous rapper who can spit on the most fucked up beats and make it sound cohesive.”
For Bhatia, MC Yallah’s sound is “completely unique, in touch with tradition and deeply grounded in place, very true to its location and the spirit of championing the local, but in conversation with the freshest club sounds from around the world.”“To me, the label Yallah has predominantly released on, Hakuna Kulala (and Nyege Nyege Tapes), is the most important label in the world currently. It's at the vanguard of club music, forging collaborations from artists in the label's home country of Uganda with producers from around the globe,” they told VICE. Supporting MC Yallah and Debmaster is a showcase presented by Sydney-based independent label Trackwork – a platform with a focus on bringing local artists to international audiences across rap, dancehall, drill and beyond – including VV Pete, T Breezy and Walkerboy. Trackwork’s founder, Sydney producer Utility – aka Austin Benjamin – will be on the decks mixing both old and new unreleased material he produced with the MCs.VV Pete “is gonna be big”. Hailing from Western Sydney, her tracks Bussit and Frauds are shit hot… explosive… fun. With witty delivery supported by hard bass, her music compels one to shake ass. It’s her first interstate show, coming off the back of winning FBi Radio’s SMAC Award for Next Big Thing in 2022, and live performances at the Oxford Arts Factory & the Sydney Opera House.
“It's really exciting to see a Sudanese rapper breaking into spaces adjacent to the club ones I operate in, it's obviously a community which is viewed in a very complicated and at times problematic way by mainstream 'Australian' society,” Bhatia said. “To put a local African diaspora artist in conversation with a fully developed beast of a rapper (Yallah) based in East Africa feels really special, and doing the first interstate show for VV feels like an honour. She'll be on tour supporting Denzel Curry in April and carving her own visible and unique path from there.”Sydney-based T Breezy is a rising star in Sydney’s hip hop scene. Inspired by artists like Lil T Jay, Young MA, and fellow Gamilaraay artist The Kid Laroi, T Breezy’s hard-hitting rap paints a compelling landscape of his upbringing in Inverell, NSW. “I think the most exciting thing about Australia’s rap scene at the moment is how much we’re growing as an industry,” T Breezy told VICE.“We’ve got so many different artists with different styles and different backgrounds coming through onto the scene and I think it’s just awesome to see everyone out here doing their own thing and killing it too.”“All the Trackwork releases feel particularly relevant and important to me because they are telling stories that are not told in mainstream music, and the production really lets the rappers speak for themselves (which to me is a big contrast to most of the overdone production in 'Australian' hip hop),” Bhatia said.
“There is an immediacy to the tracks that particularly shines in Walkerboy (who is Breezy's cousin)'s music. These MCs are so committed to their work, their vision, and telling their stories in a real way.”T Breezy’s cousin, Walkerboy, is an artist to watch in his own right. His recent single, On A Roll was placed on A list rotation on FBi Radio and gained Triple J airplay. After a big feature on T Breezy’s debut EP, 2360, Walkerboy will release his own EP this year.Ok. So what to expect? A considered medley of international, interstate and local, the lineup has been curated with a vision to present an idiosyncratic mix of genre, spanning diasporas, cultures and states in a format that forsakes high-brow for fun and intrigue.Aside from the core acts, you’re in unassailable hands. Cool Room core organiser-slash-beloved-community-icon Anuraag will open up the evening, Tawana, i.e. the inimitable Caucasian Opportunities, will be MCing, while local favourite C.FRIM is on DJ duties between sets. No single vibe will go astray on the night.It’s gonna be very, very good.Follow Arielle on Instagram and Twitter.Read more from VICE Australia.