Performing as an Australian Hip Hop Artist over the last few years has taught me many lessons and continues to show me what it is I actually need to focus on.
I’ve made many mistakes, had huge ups and downs, grown as an artist, honed my craft, developed stage presence, made some lifelong friends and amassed some die hard fans in the process. Big ups to my people!
One of the best and most challenging experiences I had was when I was the front-man in a funk and soul hip hop fusion band.
This is the story of Future Primitive.
Let me begin at the beginning.
After work one night I went to check out an old work colleagues’ partners band. We rocked up to this small bar in Inner West Sydney called Bed Bar. The band were a dope 4 piece Aussie pop-rock band called Miss Uncle. Shout outs to Miss Uncle.
The guys introduced me to the manager at the time – Mack – and told Mack I was a rapper. Mack goes:
“If you wanna do hip hop nights here you are welcome. Just let me know. I’m all about supporting local music here and I’ve wanted to put some Australian hip hop on for a while.”
What a legend.
*This would set in motion the events that would ultimately lead to Exhibit Events Sydney, but that’s another story*
After Miss Uncle did their set, I asked Mack if I could rock some tracks and he goes:
“Yeah bro of course!”
I plugged my phone in to the PA – flight mode – and smashed out a set.
The crowd vibed hard. There were some random dudes dancing to my tunes and to be honest I thought this one guy was taking the piss because of the way he was dancing. After my set the guy comes up to me and goes:
“Bro you’re amazing! I love your stuff. Hey listen, I play bass in a 3 piece funk/soul band and we need an emcee. Are you down to jam?”
What a legend!
I was so stoked! This was a dream of mine to rock sets with a band doing Australian hip hop. The guy said his name was Rhett and we got talking. Turns out we knew some of the same people and he was in a band with my boi Matt Xander years before. Matt Xander is a dope emcee I know from the scene. Small world man.
in the zone - australian hip hop
So that all happened on a Friday night. The following Tuesday I was in the studio jamming with the band. There was guitar, drums, bass and your boi on on the lead mic. We gelled immediately. The guys were into doing covers of oldschool funk, pop and soul like Stevie Wonder, Parliment, James Brown, Michael Jackson etc. and I would spit over the top. It was fresh.
I told the guys about the hip hop gig I had been offered at Bed Bar the Friday before and the guys were keen. I made the call and locked in our debut for 6 weeks time.
The bass player – Rhett – was playing in a sick funk cover band at the time called The Funk Syndicate. They were tight. Rhett had this way of playing the bass where he would slap the shit out of it. Very entertaining.
The drummer – Meeto – was a dope drummer who could adapt to any style at the drop of a hat. He also had the electric drum kit – The Roland! – that he would load samples on to play in the cypher.
The guitarist was an absolute shredder that loved coke a bit too much. A demon on the strings but not the most reliable.
All we needed was a name. Rhett came up with the idea Future Primitive – named after an underground skate video from back in the 80’s. I agreed of course.
So Future Primitive would meet twice a week to practice in a studio in Marrickeville. Some sessions we would have a guest sax player from The Funk Syndicate and somewhere along the line we took possession of the lead singer and keyboardist. I would say we poached him but we had joint custody.
The night was fast approaching. Australian hip hop would never be the same – so I thought anyway.
It was funny when we realised that 3 out of 4 of us from the original Future Primitive line up lived on the same street. Meeto and I lived in separate buildings directly next to each and Rhett lived a 2 minute drive down the road. It was crazy. I thought it was a stroke of fate and would imagine being interviewed as rockstars and telling the story of how it all came about and then realising we were all neighbours…things didn’t pan out that way though.
I’ve had to split the blog into 2 parts as the Australian hip hop band saga will continue later this week.
Thanks for reading so far. Looking back on the time with Future Primitive was a really fun time. I learned a lot about myself and what my songs mean to me.
Part 2 is all about our debut gig, the politics of being in a band, creative differences and ultimately the band imploding.