If Sowdy was based in Sydney, he’d be one of the biggest names in the country right now. 

A key player among Perth’s ensuing takeover of the scene, Sowdy has firmly solidified himself as the 6k’s most ambidextrous artist. A student and a fan of the craft first and foremost, he’s also an extremely well-rounded emcee, elite producer, engineer and label head. Over the last few years, he’s steadily expanded his catalogue both in size and sound, proving he’s more than capable of handling himself across boom-bap, R&B/soul samples and trap-heavy instrumentals.

The last time I spoke to Sowdy was in early 2021 for the release of ‘Schmoney’, his international link-up with The UnderachieversIssa Gold. At the time, Issa was near completion of his album Tempus, and Sowdy’s own project was beginning to take shape. Despite being one of the most active AU rappers in recent years, the collaboration and Issa’s attention to detail taught him to take his time. 

“If you’re on to something, don’t feel the pressure of dropping it without being 100% happy with it.”

– Sowdy on AUD’$ (2021).

Far from leaving listeners hanging, he released Picture Show later that year, a collaborative mixtape with producer Macks Martin. Originally intended to be the B-side of his latest album, the sample-centric and soulful project instead became the debut release under his independent label collective Shine! Records

Born out of their shared love of hip-hop and the desire for creative freedom, the label’s core members include Sowdy, Macks Martin, K Tha Sovereign and dimslim. While still dropping music last year with a handful of singles and features, Sowdy’s role as label head took precedence. 

Shine! Records proudly and actively pushes against industry games and hopes to fill a glaring void in the Australian scene. For most of us born before the mid-2000s, they grew up listening to and experiencing the rollout of full-length projects. With the rise of TikTok marketing and the changing nature of how listeners consume music, it’s not nearly as prevalent in today’s landscape – especially for Australian artists. Regardless, Sowdy and his team believe in the value that albums offer both the listener and the artist.

“Albums just last longer and it’s what makes an artist an artist in my opinion.” 

– Sowdy on AUD’$ (2023).

The long-awaited album Paint The City Purple is a culmination of the sounds he’s mastered, and a celebration of the 6k and the talent that resides there. While previous releases like ‘Schmoney’ and ‘Out Of Sight’ with Baltimore rapper Butch Dawson are present, the 16-track project otherwises boasts a heavy WA presence including features from K The Sovereign, GHO$TMAC®400, Lil Ducky and Kayps

Similar to artists like Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies, Sowdy appeals to the traditional bar-focused approach of the golden-era while blending this with an innovative and new school sound. Sonically taking inspiration from the out-of-pocket nature of Detroit rap with a refined level of musicality, he also fills the album with high-energy adlibs and vocal inflections reminiscent of Baby Keem and Young Thug.

If Sydney can be compared to LA, and Melbourne to New York, Perth’s position in the scene right now can be likened to Atlanta during the 2010s. There were far fewer opportunities available and it was often overlooked by the masses before its artists quickly dominated the genre and turned it into the hub for a new era in hip-hop.

Comfortably positioned as a young OG in the scene, he believes it’s only a matter of time before the city’s music is known on a larger scale. With himself at the helm, tracks like ‘Globetrotters’, ‘Stay Safe’ and ‘Really Tho’ support this forthcoming takeover and showcase the city’s exciting talent.

“Perth is slept on, I think everyone realises that. We’re not as popping as we should be but because of that we’re making music without any creative boundaries.”

– Sowdy on AUD’$ (2023).

Despite its grandiose feel, PTCP is also his most personal and transparent offering yet. Although it’s an undeniable celebration of life in the 6k, it’s also a detailed exploration of his upbringing and connection to the city. Known to often allude to his traumas in previous works, tracks like ‘Joy’, ‘twothousandneight’ and ‘Godfather’ find him addressing these issues head on. 

These moments of solemn reflection enhance the complete picture of PTCP, adding context to his lows in life and making the highs feel all that more triumphant. The deep cuts were late inclusions, with ‘Joy’ being made only three days before he uploaded the album for distribution, and now one of his (and mine) favourite songs on the album.

“I’m glad I did but it was one of those last minute moves. I think it definitely helped the album for the better.”

– Sowdy on AUD’$ (2023).

Paint The City Purple is just the start of a busy year for Sowdy, with multiple projects already in the pipeline for Shine! Records. Dimslim is planning separate collaborative projects with K, and Doss and Nino Pa’Piu, and Macks Martin is gearing up to release a full-length production project with a range of different rappers, as well as a follow-up to Picture Show with Sowdy.

To celebrate the album launch, Sowdy will be performing on February 24th at the Rosemount Hotel. Every feature artist from Perth will be making an appearance, as well as the extended members of the Shine! family including Charity, Mokonzi, Doss and Nino.

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