Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

Hip- hop heavy­weights de­liver

HIP- HOP fans ex­pect big things from the Hill­top Hoods and the crew never fails them.

This ARIA- win­ning Ade­laide act is seven al­bums deep, yet they still come out swing­ing like it’s their de­but out­ing.

The mu­sic on Drink­ing From the Sun is dense with com­plex­i­ties and de­tail. Cou­ple this with in­tri­cate word­play by the MC duo and guests and you’ve got a butt- kick­ing for­mula.

The record starts with an in­tro but we will come back to that.

The first proper song is the ti­tle track, and it is a clas­sic Hoods tune with rapid­fire strings and rhymes build­ing to­wards a silent pause be­fore an ex­plo­sive beat, bass melody drop. It sounds pur­pose­built for ig­nit­ing a fes­ti­val au­di­ence.

Next up is chart- smash­ing, mul­ti­plat­inum sin­gle I Love It with Sia on the hook. That is an amaz­ing one- two punch.

Ever heard of a three- four punch? Me nei­ther, but the Hoods man­age it with Liv­ing in Bunkers and Speak­ing in Tongues. These two joints could be the key to shift­ing units over­seas, they over­flow with cross- over po­ten­tial.

Bunkers goes for the jugu­lar with heavy beats, pos­si­bly ex­pen­sive old­school sam­ples and a griz­zled Black Thought of The Roots drop­ping by to de­liver a cameo verse.

Then the guys do their best funky Juras­sic 5 im­per­son­ation with a lit­tle help from Chali 2na. These songs will make heads spin. Bril­liant.

Other stand­outs in­clude the low- slung, gui­tar- heavy Good for Noth­ing; The Un­der­ground with some thought­ful lyrics about the act’s hum­ble be­gin­nings; Rat­tling the Keys with a very cool style; and, fi­nally, the gen­tle, melodic Shred­ding the Bal­loon which takes its foot off the gas to­wards the al­bum’s end.

Now back to the start, the al­bum kicks off with The Thirst Part 1, a moody ‘‘ we are back’’ in­tro with sweep­ing strings, no beats, plane noises, mur­murs and ap­plause. Mid- al­bum comes Part 2, an in­ter­lude with pi­ano loops, strings and spo­ken word snippets about the sun and an ex­pla­na­tion of the al­bum’s ti­tle as a metaphor for where the trio comes from. Part 3 re­calls the same pi­ano and strings re­frain un­der shout outs to Hoods’ mates and some riff­ing on where the act is now.

Not many rap acts could muster this sort of sto­ry­telling, but the Hoods man­age it with a self- as­sured ease.

Re­cently, the Hoods signed their first Amer­i­can dis­tri­bu­tion deal.

While break­ing into the US is of­ten a hard slog that leaves Aus­tralian acts bat­tered and bruised, the Hoods seem primed, con­fi­dent and well placed with yet an­other crack­ing al­bum that should ap­peal to the US palate.

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