THE MOMENTS THAT MADE LAUNDRY BAR A MELBOURNE HIP-HOP INSTITUTION

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If you’re a hip-hop head who has ever set foot in Melbourne or just someone who has heard about the scene in the 3k capital, chances are you’ve come across Laundry Bar. Established in 2011, the venue located on Johnston St in the heart of Fitzroy has become a staple in the local underground culture. Often a right of passage for emerging emcees to get their first stage experience, the two-story space has a special place in the hearts of many artists both domestically and internationally.

Laundry’s regular club nights showcase the city’s premier selectors including Juñor, Jerry C, JC King, Ben Mia, and Sadgirl 69, as they fill the dancefloor to capacity with the latest Hip-Hop, R&B, Trap, Drill, and Afrobeats from across the globe. A popular intimate spot for touring acts to connect with their most fanatic fans, recent months alone have seen the stage graced by the likes of Shadow and Wombat with Onyx, Dizzy Wright, and Mason Dane all headlining upcoming shows. There’s never a quiet weekend at Laundry Bar.

We’re honestly so proud of what Laundry has become over the last twelve years. We’ve put our heart, blood, sweat and tears into building a home for hip hop in Melbourne and keeping it going despite the lockdowns. Most importantly, we’re proud that Laundry is such an inclusive and safe space for lovers of the music scene and culture. Laundry is a platform for up and coming artists getting them in front of a supportive and encouraging crowd, for established artists wanting an intimate audience packed with true fans, and LGBTIQA+, POC, femme, fashion and art communities to host parties, events or fundraisers, to showcase and celebrate their talent, creativity and identities with people who share the love.” 

Dave & Tina Barrett, Laundry Bar founders.

To honour the Melbourne Hip-Hop institution, we’ve rounded up some of the most legendary moments from across the last decade. Maybe some of them you were at? Definitely some you have heard about. Either way, see you at Laundry this weekend for another night to remember.

360 v Kerser Rap Battle (2011)

One of the most iconic moments in Australian Hip-Hop history, the endlessly quotable 360 v Kerser battle in 2011 helped propel both artists to the upper echelons of Oz Rap and was one of many notable battles held at Laundry Bar; the home of battle rap during the peak of the era domestically last decade.

Australian DMC DJ Championships (2012 onwards)

Since the early days, the country’s best scratchers would venture to Fitzroy to test their vinyl skills at the annual DMC DJ Championships. The venue has a long, proud history of helping birth the careers of many of Australia’s best DJs.

Action Bronson (2013)

Long before he was the household rap name he is today, Queens emcee Action Bronson, off a recent signing with Paul Rosenberg and a spot in the 2013 XXL Freshmen class, played to a packed house upstairs at Laundry. A night spoken about fondly even today, those in the room maintain there was an energy and buzz circulating unlike any other. They knew they were witnessing something special.

DJ Snake (2015)

During the midst of the EDM Trap boom of the 2010s, French producer DJ Snake was one of the biggest names on the planet. Not one to let status affect him, Snake partied long into the night with the overflowing Laundry crowd in 2015, playing the then-recent surprise Drake drop ‘Worst Behaviour’ on repeat until well after what was meant to be the venue’s curfew. Legendary.

AJ Tracey (2017)

While just last month he packed out The Forum, prior to having ever released an album, West London President AJ Tracey blessed the Laundry stage in 2017. Tightly packed with the raucous crowd singing every lyric from one of the UK’s finest, it was another intimate moment that the crowd knew they would never be able to replicate.

Posseshot with Born Free (2021)

In amongst the chaos the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns caused to Melbourne, Laundry managed to pull together a night to remember for the local underground culture with the renowned local rap duo Posseshot linking with hardcore band Born Free. With uncertainty hanging over the ability to host live shows; the venue staff, performers, and crowd united to party like it was the end of the world.

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