BIGSOUND 2016 opened its conference stage for one of Australian hip hop’s most polarising acts to come through and, as Trials simply puts, explain themselves. For the Funkoars legend and Briggs, their 2016 collaborative project as A.B. ORIGINAL has woken the hip hop music community (and the wider music industry) up with some hard-hitting and unapologetic music that highlights crucial issues facing our Indigenous brothers and sisters still.
The music isn’t meant to be easily digested but then again, the subject matter isn’t meant to be either. Confrontational, presented without any sugarcoating or filter, A.B. ORIGINAL’s highly anticipated debut album Reclaim Australia is set to grab the public by neck and shake them down.
Before their keynote session at BIGSOUND this year, both Trials and Briggs sat down with us to go in further on what Reclaim Australia means as a body of work to them, and why they don’t care if this is the last album they make.
“We kicked the hive pretty fucking hard with every song we’ve dropped, especially “January 26″.” Trials says of their spot on the BIGSOUND program. “It’s exactly what we say in the song, we’re trying to start a big fucking conversation that’s been going on for ages. It’s one that’ll happen after us and way, way before us.”
“When we were making this record,” Briggs explains. “I really just wanted to start a fire. I just really wanted to burn some places down. …This record for me, when I was making it, was like, ‘Fuck this is the record I’m gonna make. If this is the last record I ever make, then so be it.'”
While singles in “January 26” and “2 Black 2 Strong” put A.B. ORIGINAL on the radars of many as a duo to be keeping an eye on, both Trials and Briggs agree that the hardest tracks are still yet to come. We should be ready.
“There’s a song on the record called “Report To The Mist”,” Briggs says. “It’s about police brutality, deaths in custody, things like that. That was one of the very first songs we wrote, so it wasn’t in response to anything except for the years upon years of mistreatment. That song for me, “Report To The Mist”, feels like the hardest shit that’s ever happened in Australian rap music, ever.”
“It’s hard as fuck.” Trials agrees. “We were going to lead with that and we’ve got a video idea for it which is equally fucking hard; if you think people are offended by the songs we’ve put out now, this is the least jovial song on there. This one is straight down the line, ‘Fuck this’ – I think as far as the whole record goes, “Report To The Mist” stands out for the both of us. This is the anthem for burning shit down.”
“A lot of the shit that’s gone on in the news now,” he adds. “We have a song for it and not purposefully. We didn’t write a song like, ‘This is the song for that,’ it’s just that we’re addressing the same shit that’s been going on for so fucking long. No one wants to have that conversation; it’s easy to wriggle out of a lot of the conversations we’re trying to have.”
Now that we exist in a music industry and music consumer climate where everything is so accessible online and indeed, younger hip hop fans now arguably are more impressionable than ever, having an album like Reclaim Australia come through at this point in time is more crucial than ever.
“We want to shake the shit out of it.” Briggs says. “It [rap] was birthed from the disenfranchised, you know? That’s where rap music comes from, it’s so DIY. Kids could bang on the fucking lunchroom table and make raps at school. I think that’s what has always appealed to myself and also young black kids who might not have the means to make music or whatever, but they can still rap. What we’re trying to create that world that we had; we had the Public Enemy‘s, we had Gravediggaz, we had Ice Cube, Ice T, Snoop. We had everyone. When we look at what the scene looks like here it’s like, ‘Who do they have?’. We’re trying to create that world, being the artists that we wish we had here.”
“As much as it puts us in the firing line,” Trials add. “We want to be there to take that hit so [for] the next generation, it makes it easier for them.”
Watch the full interview below!
Find out more about A.B ORIGINAL and the Bad Apples Music family HERE.
Header Image: Michelle Grace Hunder.