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Hilltop Hoods  

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Now & Forever

The Hunter Lounge at Union Hall, Victoria University

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Australian hip-hop trio, Hilltop Hoods coalesced in the early 1990s in the city of Adelaide. Though it took a while for the group to gain traction (they did not release a full length album until 1999), they have established themselves as an important force within the hip-hop community.

The group is composed of MCs Suffa (Matt Lambert) and Pressure (Daniel Smith) and DJ Debris (Barry Francis). The beginnings of Hilltop Hoods can be traced back to Blackwood High School where Lambert and Smith met in 1987 and bonded over a love of intellectual rap heard from collectives like Public Enemy and KRS-One. The band additionally cites Notorious B.I.G., Gang Starr, Wu-Tang Clan, and the Beastie Boys as major influences. They would pay tribute to the Beastie Boys later in their career, covering the track “So What’cha Want” from the classic album “Check Your Head”.

The Hilltop Hoods made no effort in hiding their thick Australian accent. Along with their abstract lyrics and catchy beats, sounding as if they were lifted from a dusty 60s psychedelic record, they developed one of the most idiosyncratic personalities in the rap game. The ball started rolling after the two MCs were joined by DJ Next (Ben John Hare). Hare was not only a gifted DJ, he was also a well versed engineer and is credited for the majority of the production work on the Hilltop Hoods’ early releases. The group put out the demo “Highlanderz” (a cassette only release) before issuing their first official release, which was the 1997 E.P. “Back Once Again”. This release was made available only on vinyl and included a total of 6 tracks. The title track included a sample of Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”.

Two years later the group independently released their debut album “A Matter of Time”. This was the last output to feature DJ Next. Next moved to Melbourne after his departure and developed his own mixtape website in 2005 and additionally has gone on to act as a freelance web designer.

In 1999 Hilltop Hoods recruited DJ Debris of fellow rap group Cross Bred Mongrels to replace Next. With the new line up they released their album “Left Foot, Right Foot” in 2001. However it was not until their next release, 2003’s “The Calling”, that the group had their commercial breakthrough. The album exhibited a noticeably monaural sound, which Suffa attributes to the minimalistic way it was recorded, which was on his mom’s computer. Despite the album’s lo-fi production it was a major success. The album debuted on the ARIA Albums Chart at No. 53. By 2006 it sold over 75,000 units, making it the first Australian hip-hop album to reach platinum status.

The group seemed to be in a record breaking trend with the release of their next album “The Hard Road”. It reached No.1 on the charts, making it the first Australian hip-hop record to do so and also went gold within a week of its release. By this time the group seemed to have reached celebrity status and continued putting out chart topping albums. Their 2009 release “State of the Art” housed two of their biggest singles “Chase That Feeling” and “Still Standing”.

Their 2012 album “Drinking From the Sun” and their 2014 album “Walking Under Stars” also peaked at No.1 on the charts. The trio has since gained global recognition particularly in the States. Their album “Drinking From the Sun” features high profile American MCs such as Black Thought from the Roots and Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5.

Live reviews

The Hilltop Hoods are probably Australia's longest running Hip hop group, and are the undeniable face of the Oz hip hop scene. Their sound is an exemplar of Oz rap, firmly rooted in the jazz and deck-heavy sensibilities of the 90's. They first formed way back in 97, taking inspiration from Notorious B.I.G, Gang Starr, KRS-One and Wu Tang. They've since become the poster children for Australia's hip hop scene, setting up foundations to support other acts, and being the go to support act for big names on their Australian legs of tours. Their discography is an ode to old school, DJ-centric beats, and the fiery delivery of their idols. Their live performances as such, carry with them all the vitality and nostalgia of the era from which they derive their style. Oz hip hop is a tight knit community, as such performances often feature long lists of scene members, MC's and DJ's that brought the scene out from the small but staunchly supportive fan bases from where they first started, and out into the mainstream of Australian recording artists. The Hoods are one of those groups around which the entire scene orbits, championing the unique sounds of Australian Hip hop, for anyone keen on the genre, they're compulsory viewing.

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matthookuk’s profile image

Although hip hop may have originated on the coasts of the United States, there is no doubt that artists from other countries have adopted the genre successfully over the years. Trio Hilltop Hoods are perhaps Australia's most successful hip hop export partly due to the longevity of their career which now spans over twenty years.

Their music has reached global audiences and they have taken their live show around the world many times stopping off at a number of festivals. They are a fantastic band when it comes to hyping up crowds as they technically have three frontmen all of equal enthusiasm and intent. They make sure that everybody is equally excited before unleashing fan favourites including 'Chase That Feeling' and there is a real fun factor throughout yet this doesn't mean the group are not also here to demonstrate real freestyle ability. Sia is not on hand to help out for collaboration 'I Love It' yet it still makes for a fitting end to an incredibly lively, rambunctious live operation.

sean-ward’s profile image

The moment they appeared on stage the air became electric. Their energy was contagious and the crowd rocked that energy like it was in high demand on a black Friday. I brought friends who weren't convinced they liked the Hoods all thag much. But after being a part of such a passionate moment they quickly came to thank me after we left the venue.

One word:"addictive".

I can't wait for them to come back already. Hell, I might just move to Australia.

Go see these buggers if they're in town. You won't regret it.

nevlin-holvoet’s profile image

Seeing HH in concert was on my bucket list for quite some time. They did not disappoint and this concert was amazing. They played a lot of songs from their new album and even a few of the classics from the state of the art album. The show was high energy and good vibes from beginning to end. A special bonus was seeing Mally and Adrien Eagle as had not heard these artists before and they were also very talented performers and showman. Would definitely see all these artists again next time they are in town.

stephenhamre’s profile image

These guys are absolutely amazing, one of a kind. Great stage performance and presence. They interacted with the crowd, which most bands or groups don't do very often. Seriously if your a fan or you just like a song of theirs you're going to want to see them live no matter what!!! Highly recommend it.

courtz6219’s profile image

They were spectacular. Electrifyingly good. Definitely won't be using the exit sign. I would see them again and can't wait until they return to Melbourne in a few years.

Disregard this part of the review, I have to reach a 30 word minimum and don't know what else to write.

The show was amazing! The energy was fantastic and the band performed perfectly. The first opener wasn’t as good as i had hoped but Mojojuju really brought back the energy. Hilltop had so many guest artists that performed just as well as everyone else. 100% would go again.

pymage’s profile image

Hilltop has been killing it for a long time and keeps coming out with great music. Absolute blast of a show with amazing vibes, dope performances, crazy crowd energy. Can't recommend Hilltop Hoods enough even for people who don't know their music.

tyler-wilson-9’s profile image

They had such an energetic performance for a Tuesday and had Electric Brixtop topless and waving their shirts around like they just don't care!!! encore with Crosby Sweater was all time!!! great show from some absolute industry legends!

blake-edmunds’s profile image

Just immense. Huge energy, great interaction with the crowd, good set list that mixed up latest releases with crowd favourites. Support act (Briggs) was great as well. Great gig, try and catch them this tour.

MDKING04’s profile image

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Hilltop Hoods live.

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Hilltop Hoods live.

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  • Marco Antonio Solis (1952)
  • Hilltop Hoods (1953)
  • Tricky (1954)

Concerts played in 2024:

Touring history

Most played:

  • Sydney (21)
  • London (17)
  • Adelaide (15)
  • Melbourne (15)

Appears most with:

  • Briggs (Rap) (22)
  • Dizzee Rascal (19)
  • DMA'S (19)
  • Hermitude (18)

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Hilltop Hoods at Hindmarsh, Australia in Adelaide Entertainment Centre 2022

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  2. Hilltop Hoods ‘The Great Expanse’ National Tour

    Hilltop Hoods ‘The Great Expanse’ National Tour. Presale tickets available via VISA from 9am (local) Wednesday 15 May. General public on sale at 10am (local) Monday 20 May. Saturday, 10 August ROD LAVER ARENA, Melbourne Tickets: Ticketek. Saturday, 17 August ADELAIDE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, Adelaide Tickets: Ticketek. Saturday, 24 August ...

  3. Hilltop Hoods Tour Announcements 2023 & 2024, Notifications ...

    Find out when Hilltop Hoods is next playing live near you. List of all Hilltop Hoods tour dates, concerts, support acts, reviews and venue info.

  4. HILLTOP HOODS | Hilltop Hoods Official Website

    THE SHOW BUSINESS TOUR 2022. Hilltop Hoods Sold Out ‘Show Business Tour’ featuring A.B Original, Elsy Wameyo, DJ Total Eclipse and jayteehazard has come to an end. Check out some tour highlights at the link below! WATCH TOUR HIGHLIGHTS. Show Business Feat.

  5. Hilltop Hoods Full Tour Schedule 2023 & 2024, Tour Dates ...

    Hilltop Hoods is currently touring across 1 country and has 2 upcoming concerts. Their next tour date is at Showgrounds in Shepparton, after that they'll be at University of Wollongong in Wollongong. See all your opportunities to see them live below!

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    Find tickets for Hilltop Hoods concerts near you. Browse 2024 tour dates, venue details, concert reviews, photos, and more at Bandsintown.

  7. Buy Hilltop Hoods Australian Tour Tickets 2024 | The Ticket ...

    Hilltop Hoods have announced an arena tour for this August and September, with the trio – MCs Suffa and Pressure and DJ Debris – playing shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

  8. scenestr - Hilltop Hoods Are Humbled To Again Tour As They ...

    Hilltop Hoods 2022 Tour Dates Sat 20 Aug - MyState Bank Arena (Hobart) Sat 27 Aug - Brisbane Entertainment Centre* sold out Sat 3 Sep - Qudos Bank Arena (Sydney) Sat 10 Sep - Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne)* sold out Sat 17 Sep - RAC Arena, Perth Sat 24 Sep - Adelaide Entertainment Centre* sold out

  9. HILLTOP HOODS | SHOWS

    SHOWS. For the latest touring news sign up to our newsletter here. Sorry, no events matched your criteria. Hilltop Hoods are a three piece Hip Hop act from South Australia.

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