The Brisbane hip-hop scene is passionate, and tight-knit. Ask anyone involved, and they’d tell you: It’s not really about beefing and who’s got the the biggest watch. You can really tell those involved care about pushing the culture forward – and that was on show on Saturday’s installment of Crooklyn.

James Dub is the man behind the night. His passion for the local scene stems from friendships and a desire to push the movement forward. A bit of expertise goes a long way though – James’ prior experience running club nights put him in a position to bring Brisbane’s brightest together. “I started out working with Snitch and Thriller, which were metal shows,” he said. “I started out djing between the shows”. Sensing a gap in the market, James snatched the opportunity. “Six months ago I thought why the fuck  aren’t we doing this for hip hop?” he said. “Like some of my favourite people are in hip hop. Why are we doing this for other cunts when we could be setting up our own culture?”

Half a year later, established MCs like I am D are giving their support, and meteoric acts like Miss Blanks are happy to sign up. They were just two of the the talented locals lending their voices to the line up. Jesswar, Wayde., Kayla Truth, and APEman also made appearances.

All made an great impression, and I’m keen to explore their catalogues in more detail.

Headline act I Am D shone, as you’d expect. His take on hip-hop is infectious and enjoyable, which was easy to read in the crowd. D (Mr Daley? Thomas?) also has the enviable talent of getting the audience involved in a big way. Everyone was keen to get down to his hits, which is genuinely impressive for local acts. But then again, maybe I’ve just been to too many indie-rock gigs where the less interested you look, the cooler you are. Gang was easily my favourite track from Mr Daley.

Apart from Thomas, I’d have to say Miss Blanks was another highlight. I was pleasantly surprised she was added to the lineup, I’d been bumping ‘Clap Clap‘ for a while now and I was stoked to see it live.

Honourable mention to APEman as well, his friendship with producer tomtom was evident and their chemistry really showed through. Also stoked to see him pull some help out on stage with him as well, making his set a bit like his variety show, Banana vision.

It reminded me of something James had told me earlier that night: “Hip-hop brings people together.”

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Miranda Lidgerwood

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