As an alternative music fan, you could expect that my review of a rap record would never be 100 percent positive. On an average day I listen to the falsetto stylings of Muse and the grungy guitars of the Smashing Pumpkins, so rap isn't something that often enters my realm of excellent music. Well, prepare to be shocked, because the NewTrishUs compilation CD was an enjoyable listening experience from the first track to the final rhyme.
The record itself has an interesting concept behind it: the nine artists featured on the album are all female Melburnians who rap about everyday occurrences with a sense of understanding and realism - mainly because they aren't overproduced stars, they are emerging artists who participated in a government-funded not-for-profit program run by The Push (new window).
The nine emcees met with experienced hip-hop artists Lotus and MzRizk, who acted as mentors and helped each artist to develop a track or two for the record. Over seven weeks each member of the group wrote their tracks before spending four weeks in an inner-city studio recording their efforts with sound engineer Daltron.
To discuss the record itself, it took me a couple of listens to grasp what was going on with the sound, but that would be purely due to my inexperience with rap. After three or four tracks I began to really hear effective lyrical talent from each MC, who showed a level of sophistication in their discussion of aspects of the inner-Melbourne life.
Looking to some particular tracks to watch out for, I thoroughly enjoyed opening track "Three Days Down" by Switch, which displayed a great instrumental side to rap music, a simple piano riff and an approachable vocal tonality. In a similar manner MC L utilises a melodic bass in addition to other instruments, and if she creates more music I think we'll see a breath of fresh air in Australian rap music, which I feel is somewhat stagnant at the moment.
On "Eclipse" Lupin displays a real ability to tell a story through her music. I wouldn't say it's quite at David Bowie's level yet, but with a bit of work we could see some great narrative rap coming out of her.
The final track, featuring the majority of the artists on the record, demonstrates the real talent coming out of this group. None of the artists dominate on the song, something that could be expected from a group track done by inexperienced artists, so kudos to them.
As a whole record I felt there was a real positivity in the music that is refreshing, as most rap music has a reputation for chauvinism and violence - something that does not appear on the record and which wasn't missed.
NewTrishUs has the Australian rap stars of the future rapping on it, and will no doubt be a great addition to any CD collection. If you're interested in hearing it contact The Push on email@example.com to find out about stockists. Go find it! You won't regret your choice!
3 and a half out of 5.
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