Australia’s fastest rising indigenous hip hop outfit, Yung Warriors are wrapt to announce their second single, Prey For Better Days, from sophomore album Standing Strong. A national tour in support of the new track (which features Egoz, Diafrix and Little G) has been announced and Prey For Better Days was added to full rotation on triple j Wed Oct 24th. Hardly surprising though since first single, and title track, has been enjoying high rotation on the station since its release.
This latest run of dates, and the release of Prey For Better Days, comes after a stellar trajectory supporting the likes of American hip hop heavyweights D12, Akon, 50 Cent, The Game and Outlawz, as well as local hip hop pioneer Urthboy; two sets of showcases in the New York and L.A. in the past twelve months alone. That’s without even mentioning a 2012 Deadly for Best Hip Hop Act (Yung Warriors played Standing Strong at the ceremony with feature artists Dizzy Doolan, Sneake 1, Dubbzone and Karnage and played the after party with a live band), a Best New Talent gong at the first Indigenous Hip Hop and R’n’B Bump Awards and a nomination for Best Independent Hip Hop Album at last month’s Jagermeister AIR Awards.
Yung Warriors have in-fact been paying their dues and honing their art for 7 years though it’s certain their artistic upbringing was facilitating creativity years before they chose a moniker for their music. Their maternal grandfather is revered Australian Aboriginal artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, D-Boys parents, too, are both artists, and as a youngster Yung Warriors’ Tjimba often accompanied his father Selwyn Burns (Coloured Stone, Mixed Relations, Blackfire) on stage first getting an opportunity to control the mic at the age of 15.
Coming across TZU around that time woke Tjimba up to the idea that Australian’s could write hip hop – in fact TZU’s Joelistics invited him onstage at his own shows – and from there his skills as a musician on guitar, bass and keyboard started getting a serious work out. Producing beats and strengthening his power as a lyricist was just one of the creative outlets Tjimba was able to share with his brother D-Boy, who as a formidable beat maker in his own right, has also developed his own distinctive sound within Yung Warriors: specifically, his smooth vocal style, organically developed through his love of reggae, jazz, alternative rock and of course, hip hop.
Though they spent their childhood’s separately – as Tjimba explains: “D-Boy went this way and I went that way,” – they never lost their kinship; when Tjimba played his beats and rhymes to D-Boy, the latter knew “this is what I want to do.” Starting life in the Northern Territory, moving to more urban cities for schooling, or their parent’s work commitments, not to mention travelling extensively for the past five years through both inner city and outback Australia in support of their music, the brothers admit to seeing “a lot of struggle through our people, and a lot of people wanting to succeed” but realised they had a unique vantage point as “urban blackfella/bush blackfella.”
We’re both sides of the fence,” says Tjimba. “Put that together; we could do something with that. I just [thought I’d] put my culture into hip hop culture and see what I could do.”
With Standing Strong released on Payback Records [the indigenous label founded by prominent indigenous AFL player Nathan Lovett-Murray], and produced by Momo from Diafrix, Yung Warriors knew they were in a comfortable, mentoring, environment. Of the collaboration with Momo, Tjimba reckons not only was Momo “just an awesome brother to hang around with,” but he “teaches us a lot about beats…and about putting music together. We were all the same level.”
Standing Strong marries hip hop flows and beats, smooth r’n’b stylings and pop hooks with universal themes of culture, pride and family, growing up, trying to understand the fairer sex and discovering marijuana and nightclubs. While Yung Warriors are proud of the way they can connect with their own indigenous community, and offer encouragement to those who need to be reminded to hold their head high, ultimately, says Tjimba, “Music brings people together. To see people smiling and having a good time: that’s what I love.” The added dimension? “We’re finding ourselves, too.
You can catch Yung Warriors on the Hip Hop Corroboree Tour on the following dates:
Fri 23 Nov – Amplifier Bar, Perth, WA
Sat 24 Nov – POW, Bunbury, WA
Thu 29 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Fri 30 Nov – Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW
Sat 1 Dec – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Fri 7 Dec – Sand Bar, Mildura, VIC
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