From a young age, Gumbaynggirr man, Tasman Keith has been compelled to continue the great traditions of his people by telling stories through music. As the son of Aboriginal hip-hop pioneer, Wire MC; Tasman brings forward the next generation of delivering a powerful message through a unique sound of hip-hop, R&B and ‘new-wave’ funk.
His new single My Pelopolees steps up to the plate and heralds the arrival of a real contender, an uncompromising track both lyrically and musically.
In its most raw form, My Pelopolees is an ode to my grandfather, William Jarrett (better known as Billy Jack) and my uncle Mark Ballangarry, who was better known as Uncle Spits,” said Tasman. “Uncle Spits originally coined the term ‘Pelopolees’ (meaning people) long before the early 2000s but it wasn’t until then that my Grandfather pulled inspiration from the word and recorded a song, which told Uncle Spits’ story. Sadly, Uncle Spits passed away in 2016 and in 2017, I began to write my version of the song, now titling it My Pelopolees.
“The song itself speaks on personal triumph, overcoming odds that Aboriginal people face in today’s society. It also holds reference to ‘our spirit living on after we’ve died’ – which is the exact inspiration that I held from Uncle Spits’ passing and many relatives before him. Although the word itself is dope, it really hooks you in for an amazing chorus but it also gave me a chance to introduce Bowraville slang whilst speaking for my people and conquering these ideas that society places on us.”
2017 marked a major milestone for Tasman; bursting on the independent hip-hop scene with his debut studio single ‘Might Snap’ which followed multiple underground mixtape releases since 2014. ‘Might Snap’ went into rotation across several community radio platforms including FBi Radio and received critical acclaim on triple j Unearthed. Shortly after, Tasman teamed up with ARIA nominated producer James Mangohig and Bad Apples Music’s Nooky to begin the process of compiling his debut studio EP.
Tasman has since shared the stage with renowned artists such as A. B. Original, Briggs, Birdz and Caiti Baker and performed at the Blue Mountain Music Festival and the Bad Apples Music House Party. Tasman had also collaborated with renown writer, poet, and rapper Omar Musa for the lead single ‘Assimilate’ on his album, ‘Since Ali Died’.
Tasman echoes the powerful message he presents in his music, using his platform to be a powerful voice for social justice and Indigenous issues. He was invited by lauded UK hip-hop artist, poet, writer, and activist Akala to sit on the Sydney Ideas Panel during which Tasman spoke passionately about the importance of using hip-hop as a medium to shed light on important issues facing his community and society at large.
2018 is set to be a big year for Tasman Keith, with the now Sydney-based artist’s debut EP due in the second half, embodying a sound that will rattle the music scene and cement him as a future face and voice of hip-hop in Australia.