The Hilltop Hoods are an ARIA Award winning Australian hip hop group, originating from Adelaide, South Australia. Their members are MCs Suffa (Matt Lambert), Pressure (Daniel Smith), DJ Debris (Barry Francis) and formerly DJ Next. They have been at the centre of the Australian hip hop scene for the better part of two decades, originally forming back in 1991 and releasing their first EP in 1997. Since then they have released 5 studio albums, 2 DVDs and a "restrung" version of their 2006 album The Hard Road. They recently released their fifth studio album, State of the Art on June 12, 2009.
They are renowned for their live shows having toured extensively both in Australia and overseas, including playing gigs at music festivals such as the Big Day Out, Southbound, The Great Escape, Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Pyramid Rock Festival, Rollercoaster and Make Poverty History.
Formation and Early Years (1991-2002)
The group formed in 1991 when MCs Suffa and Pressure met at Blackwood High School. They joined up with DJ Debris through a mutual friend and formed the basis for the group. Early on in the history of the Hilltop Hoods DJ Next and DJ JP did all of the scratches and regularly competed in the local DMC tournaments. In the late 1990s DJ Next chose to pursue a different career path after the release of A Matter of Time and moved to Sydney. DJ Debris who was previously with Crossbred Mongrels & producer for Hilltop Hoods then became the main DJ. Prior to the release of Back Once Again, the Hilltop Hoods put together a demo entitled "Highlanders".
Influences include American hip hop artists such as Notorious B.I.G., KRS-One, Gang Starr, Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy, although the Hilltop Hoods rap with their native Australian accents.
Their name was given to them by pioneer MC Flak (from Crossbred Mongrels) and came from a suburb in south-eastern Adelaide known by the local youth as the Hilltop, where Flak, Suffa and Pressure were raised.
After over five years of limited exposure in Adelaide the Hilltop Hoods and others local groups began to draw attention. The group received two nominations for the Hip Hop Act of the Year Award at The Australian Dance Music Awards and again at the 3D World Music Awards in 2001 and 2002.
The Calling and commercial success (2003-2005)
The Hoods released their commercial breakthrough The Calling on 22 September 2003. The album went platinum in Australia, largely due to word-of-mouth, as it failed to reach any higher than #53 on Australia's ARIAnet album charts. It was the first Australian hip hop album to reach platinum status. It featured two hit singles, "The Nosebleed Section" and "Dumb Enough", which received places in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2003. This success proved to be a turning point in the Australian Hip Hop scene because it demonstrated widespread support for the genre that reached beyond an underground fan base.
The Hard Road (2006-2007)
The group followed up The Calling with their highly successful fourth album The Hard Road on 1 April 2006. It featured the single Clown Prince and guest verses from New York rapper Omni and British MCs Mystro and Braintax. The album debuted at number one on the ARIA charts, and was the first Australian hip hop album to do so. It also went platinum within a week of being released, another record for an Australian hip hop group. The track The Blue Blooded is a collaboration of Australian MCs featuring the Funkoars, Hau from Koolism, Mortar, Drapht, Muph & Plutonic, Pegz and Robby Balboa.
On April 27 of the same year, the Hilltop Hoods performed at the Bass in the Grass music festival in Darwin alongside fellow hip hop group, The Herd. This was also the day in which the Hilltop Hoods released their second single from their new album The Hard Road. The video clip features members from the Certified Wise crew, of which the Hilltop Hoods are members.
Following the success of The Hard Road tour in early 2006, the Hilltop Hoods began their second national tour for 2006 called The Stopping All Stations tour which travelled to more regional areas of Australia as well as the capital cities. They were supported by Koolism & UK MC Mystro.
In late 2006, the Hilltop Hoods released their third single from The Hard Road, the track "What a Great Night". The videoclip for the song shows the group at a club with camera shots panning up and down to reveal a new location. It used advanced special effects and is one of the most expensive video clips for an Australian hip hop group, mirroring the groups rise in success and popularity.
In late 2006 the Hilltop Hoods were announced as the winners of the Triple J J Award for best album of the year, joining the likes of Wolfmother and The Presets as winners of the highly prestigious award.
They performed the Homebake Festival and Falls Festival in late 2006.
The Hard Road Restrung (2007-2008)
On 12 May 2007, the Hoods released their new album The Hard Road Restrung which is a remix of their previous album The Hard Road featuring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Okwerdz. Like its predecessor The Hard Road, it took out "Best Urban Release" at the ARIA Awards, with the Hoods going back-to-back.
The first single released from The Hard Road Restrung is "Recapturing the Vibe". The video clip was on high rotation on rage & jtv for several months.
2007 also saw the group performing at the Southbound Festival (WA), The Great Escape at Newington Armory in Sydney over Easter, and embarking on a UK tour with a Sydney based string quartet. They finished off the year by headlining the Pyramid Rock Festival on Victoria's Phillip Island over NYE's 2007.
In 2008 the group performed at the Big Day Out festivals, the prestigious Glastonbury Festival and at the Islington Academy in London. The DVD City of Light was released and nominated as 'Best Music DVD' at the 2008 ARIA awards.
Today the Hilltop Hoods continue to enjoy their success, and even have their own shoe design sponsored by DC Shoes.
State Of The Art and the birth of Golden Era Records (2009-)
It was announced during a Channel (V) interview that the Hilltop Hoods were getting ready to start writing for their new album due to be released sometime in 2009. The Hilltop Hoods have subsequently left their long time home of Obese Records to start their own label, Golden Era Records, which will release the group's future albums. In November, 2008 they announced on Triple J's breakfast program that the new album would be called State of the Art.
We realised with this one after doing Restrung and having an orchestra that we were a bit less limited. So we're going to have some session musos come in on this one and stuff like that. -Pressure
The Hilltop Hoods' fifth studio album, State of the Art was released on June 12, with the first single from the album, "Chase that Feeling", released digitally on 8 May and as a physical single on 22 May, and featuring a return guest appearance by a quartet of members from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The album debuted at number one on the Australian ARIA charts and was certified gold within a week of being released. The album has since gone platinum and spent two weeks at number one before being overtaken by the Michael Jackson craze following the King of Pop's recent death
In early 2009 the Hilltop Hoods performed at the Groovin the Moo festival in Townsville, Maitland and Bendigo. They also recently performed at Triple J's One Night Stand in Sale, Victoria on the 30 May 2009, where they played several of the tracks from the upcoming album. To support the release of State of the Art the Hilltop Hoods are undertaking a national tour commencing on 18 July 2009 and with performances at most major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. The second national tour for the album launches on November 11th 2009 with tour support provided by Vents.
The 2003 release The Calling achieved platinum status in Australia, and two tracks ("The Nosebleed Section" and "Dumb Enough") received places in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2003, at 9th and 44th, respectively. The Hard Road was released in Australia on 1 April 2006. Their first single release from The Hard Road, "Clown Prince" was released in February 2006, and became their first top 40 singles hit on the Australian ARIAnet Singles Chart.
The Hilltop Hoods have received nominations for the 'Best Hip Hop Act' in 2001 and 2002 at the 3D World Dance Music Awards, won the APRA award for 'Best Up-coming Group' as well as receiving number one positions in independent charts all around Australia.
In 2006 the group won the prestigious J Award. They also were nominated for five ARIA Awards (the first ever for an Australian hip hop group), winning two awards; 'Best Urban Release' and 'Best Independent Release'.
On Australia Day, 2007, the Hoods claimed five spots in Triple J's Hottest 100 with "The Hard Road" reaching 3rd place. "Clown Prince", "What a Great Night", "Stopping All Stations", and "Recapturing the Vibe" placed 23rd, 41st, 56th, and 77th respectively. The Hilltop Hoods received the most entries in the Hottest 100 that year, and were only 1 song off equalling the record, held by Wolfmother the previous year.
In 2007 Hilltop Hoods won 'Best Urban Release' at the ARIA Awards for The Hard Road Restrung. The album was also nominated for 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Cover Art' (John Englehardt).
The DVD City of Light was nominated as 'Best Music DVD' at the 2008 ARIA awards.
In 2009 "The Nosebleed Section" was voted number 17 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of all time, the highest placed Australian song.
Hilltop Hoods Remix Shoe
The Hilltop Hoods and DC Shoes made a limited-edition shoe together called 'The Hilltop Hoods Remix Shoe'. It was released in stores on 1 February 2008. They are the first Australian music group to have their own shoe.
Hilltop Hoods Initiative
In 2005 the annual 'Hilltop Hoods Initiative' was established in association with Arts SA, made possible by a donation from the Hilltop Hoods.
Valued at $5000 (originally $3000), the Hilltop Hoods initiative helped young and emerging South Australian hiphop artists to manufacture and distribute a CD. The initiative also included two mentorship sessions with Hilltop Hoods' (previous)Manager, PJ Murton.
The initiative recognises the important role South Australian Government assistance played in the development of the careers of the Hilltop Hoods.
Recipients so far include
2 piece General Knowledge in 2005
Solo artist Subsketch, also in 2006
Solo artist Jimblah in 2007
Solo artist K21 in 2008
All Hilltop Hoods lyrics
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