The Best Australian Hip Hop Songs from January 2022

There's more Australian hip hop out there than ever before. To help you handle it, we're giving you nine tracks to add to your playlist right now.

The Best Australian Hip Hop Songs from January 2022
Complex Original

The Best Australian Hip Hop Songs from January 2022

The Best Australian Hip Hop Songs from January 2022

Australian hip hop is thriving. It feels like there’s more local hip hop being released now than ever before and, we get it, it can be overwhelming. With Australian hip-hop flooding the streaming services, we enlisted our social media manager Victor to help you navigate these wild waters. Here’s nine tracks to add to your Best Of 2022 playlist with the quickness. 

Triple One x Nerve x Lil Golo x Cult Shotta x Mulalo – "Mr Whippy"

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You know it, I know it, we all know it, it’s the theme tune for most of our childhoods. You always heard it in the distance, and you were drawn to it like a mosquito to a light. Except this time subtract the ice cream and add in an Aus hip hop supergroup we never knew we needed. Only Triple One & co. could get away with flipping the Mr. Whippy tune and creating a summer banger that hits you harder than Bam Bam Tuivasa hits a shoey after letting some poor fella taste the canvas. The production here is already iconic, giving Marty Bugatti, Nerve and Mulalo a chance to flex their individual styles on a beat most would struggle with. Special shoutout to Nerve here, the man was having a casual game of hopscotch all over this beat. The hook is delivered the only way Obi knows how to; with energy, conviction and a pair of speed dealers on. The master stroke on this track is the additional features from both Lil Golo and E11even from Cult Shotta. Without the addition of their unique stroke, this track may not have hit the way it does. Overall, “Mr Whippy’’ is fun, loud and exactly what we needed to kick start 2022. I hope we get to see this supergroup join forces again sometime but, if not, I would like to leave all those grieving with some parting words. “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened” – Dr. Seuss.

Tasman Keith, "5FT FREESTYLE"

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“5FT FREESTYLE” is something straight out of Top Dawg Entertainment’s catalogue. You could take Gumbaynggirr rapper Tasman Keith, and put him in that star-studded lineup of artists alongside Kendrick Lamar & Isaiah Rashad and no one would blink an eye. Completely not a totally biased view from myself, but Kendrick is a God, and anyone that can successfully execute a style he made so popular, without sounding like a carbon copy, is not one to be overlooked. Tasman is that man. He has managed to stay true to his own style, effortlessly turning himself into liquid and melting into the boppy west-coast-inspired beat, playfully adding in flow switches, beat cuts, and even an alphabet rhyme scheme for your candy asses, what else do you want?! The way Tasman delivers the hook on this track should be considered stalking, because it’s everywhere I go! It’s catchy, its professional and its sticky as fuck. This track is excellent, and I can hear it making it to radio stations all over the country. I’m excited to see what else we will get from Tasman this year, but he’s off to a great start. it’s called “5FT FREESTYLE” but it’s more like 6’3” with the right shoes on, nahmean?

KAHUKX, "Due Time"

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So just quickly, I gotta ask, who the fuck said drill was dead?! With this debut single, Sydney rapper KAHUKX has seemingly come from nowhere and blessed us with what he can bring to the table. Not only is this track turning heads in the drill scene, but it’s already gaining wider recognition with over 100,000 views (and counting) in less than a month.

KAHUKX draws on past experience with this one, reflecting on the tribulations that come with young love. The story he’s telling, the message he’s trying to convey, and the beat from producer ME13 align perfectly. Billie Eilish & Khalid”s “Lovely” is sampled widely on the track and, I can confidently say, it might be one of the best flips I’ve heard of this sample. The sweet Eilish vocals floating around in the back act as a counter to KAHUKX’s deep, raspy tone. The unique combination of these vocals and styles allows the track to stand out among the sea of Australian drill. With only one song, KAHUKX has already put himself in serious contention for 2022’s best new talent. With KAHUKX already teasing new music coming soon, keep your eyes on this space right here.

Smak, "Purgatory"

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Brisbane rapper Smak has entered the chat for 2022 with a certified banger. Cue in the banger alert sirens and lights, party poppers, sandwiches cut into triangles, you know the vibes, issa party. Smak has jumped on his Kanye West Ye experimental bullshit and the outcome is “Purgatory”. At only 2 minutes and 3 seconds, or 20 minutes and 30 seconds if you listen to it on repeat like I did, it’s definitely a track that deserves multiple listens. With those repeats you’ll get to appreciate the production which has giant, hectic, bigger than anything else energy and I am wholeheartedly fucking with it.

The distorted vocals go hand in hand with the chaotic atmosphere of the beat. At times it feels as though you’re drifting through space with Smak sprinkling in a little melody before you’re violently pulled through a black hole as soon as he starts spitting again. It’s one hell of an experience. There’s been a lot of noise coming from the northern part of this country. The 4K Has a lot of talent putting on for their respective areas and, with this track, Smak is making his place in the city known. If this is any indication of what we might get from Smak for the rest of year, I’m on board, and you should be too.

Babyface Mal, "Smog"

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I need to start this one off with an admission. I have a soft spot for Mal and genuinely think he’s one of the best young talents we have. Is it because he’s from Melbourne? Yes, but no. It’s because there isn’t a single person in the scene that sounds anything like he does. That right there is special.

Mal’s relaxed, somber, effortless flow blends so smoothly with the Caribbean-inspired drum beat, filled with distorted bass hits for good measure. “Smog” oozes charisma from start to finish. When you listen to “Smog” you’re transported to Mal’s world, and its chill as fuck over there. “Smog”, and really the entire ‘The Crib, Vol.1’ for that matter, feels like an entree to something much bigger down the track. I don’t speak for all, but I think I speak for most when I say we need a full length album from Mal this year. Anyone still snoozing on him needs to wake up, because this year could be a big one. But don’t just take my word for it, go listen to  ‘The Crib, Vol.1’ and see for yourself, they’re all bops, no questions. 

Adam Koots & Tenth Dan, "Space Shuttle"

When you pair Adam Koots & Tenth Dan you get Beugs Brothers, makes sense? Cool, now the math’s out of the way let’s talk “Space Shuttle”. This is the second-last song on their ‘Beugs Brothers’ album, and for me it is the standout track. The track makes constant references to The Beatles and overall psychedelia with their use of hypnotic looped vocals, mentions of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and, of course, their “Yellow Submarine”-inspired ‘psychedelic space shuttle’ which is a crucial element to the hook.

Koots & Dan’s zooted, flora-powered flows are always peppered with plenty of wordplay. The pair have displayed an undisputed connection with not only “Space Shuttle” but the whole ‘Beugs Brothers’ project. This is just one of those feel good songs that you definitely want to add to your Sunday chill sesh playlist, and if you don’t have a Sunday chill sesh playlist, go make one, then add this song to it.  Koots & Dan have given us a really strong, sticky and fun project here, with nuggets of musical gold like “Protest Song”, “Beugs” and “All Spaced Out” not to be missed either.

Flowz Dilione, "Behind Bars"

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Let’s get one thing straight right from the start, Flowz is the only rapper in Australia who can deliver a 5+ minute track without a hook and keep us zoned in the whole time. I can’t tell you how many times he’s done this, but with “Behind Bars” he further proves that point.

Flowz is a storyteller and can paint a vivid picture with his words. On “Behind Bars”, Flowz reflects on the past mistakes which still haunt him, starting with his infamous appearance on Channel 9 News. Mistakes are a given, and they’re what make us who we are, but learning from them is not always guaranteed. With “Behind Bars” Flowz tells us he is done with the life he once lived, he’s now wiser and knows what’s important in life. Referencing his family and loved ones throughout, and drawing back to friends who are no longer with him. Flowz’ innate ability to deliver a bar that sends a nasty shiver down your spine, is what makes this track – and Flowz as an artist – truly special. I can’t wait to hear the next story Flowz shares with us, but until then I will have “Behind Bars” on repeat.

Nooky feat. i.amsolo, "Run Dingo"

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January 26 is a painful day for First Nations people. In 2022, Nooky flipped that pain and created progress, using the day to the launch of his new platform We Are Warriors – a celebration of Indigenous voices and excellence – and debut “Run Dingo”. 

Conceptually, this one is inspired by Black Allan Barker’s “Run Dingo Run”. Barker’s 1983 song tells the story of rural dingo cullings, with his haunting vocals warning “Run, dingo, run / there’s a price upon your head.” In his updated version, Nooky applies that same warning to the next generation of Indigenous kids, while i.amsolo’s hook utilises the same melody from Black Allan Barker’s original. Inspired by his young daughter, Nooky expresses his concern for the future, and the muzzle applied to Indigenous voices when the talk gets too real. The lyrics are raw, and the video moreso, but the message is clear and important as ever. 

Complete, "The Only Reason I’m Writing This"

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Complete has this amazing ability to make his listeners feel as though they’re in an empty room, and all that’s inside is; Complete, a microphone and us, a fly on the wall, lucky enough to be present while he indulges in his form of self help. “The Only Reason I’m Writing This” is everything that makes Complete a one in a million performer; his style of self-aware story telling paired with what may be the best multi game in the scene, is what sets him apart.

Complete has never shied away from letting us know his struggles, his vices and his demons, and as a fan, I respect that most about him. We are told this song was written a year ago, after Complete had relapsed, and we can hear the frustration in his delivery; he’s tired, scrap that, he’s exhausted from allowing his demons to win another battle. The paradox is that those demons holding Complete back, are the same demons that enable him to reach deep down within, and pull out something so authentic that it gives you chills from start to finish.

Complete’s delivery puts the listener in that same dark space he describes, allowing us to walk in his shoes, even if only for a short time. I am glad to have Complete back, as without him, the scene doesn’t seem so… Well, you know what I’m gonna say. 

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