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.