Today will see the much-anticipated album drop for Adelaide hip-hop outfit Hilltop Hoods, and it is well worth the wait.
The latest offering since 2012’s double platinum Drinking from the Sun, is Walking Under Stars and it’s all about soul.
The group’s seventh studio album features collaborations with rising star, Maverick Sabre, New Zealand songstress Aaradhna, the legendary Brother Ali, ARIA Award winning soul rocker Dan Sultan, and fellow Best Urban ARIA winner Drapht.
Recovering momentarily in Adelaide after touring Europe, New Zealand and performing at Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay, Suffa (Matt Lambert) is loving being back on the road again.
“We’ve been off the road for so long; it’s just been nice to be on the road again, playing to people. Europe was amazing, New Zealand was amazing, Splendour was crazy. It’s just been mad fun,” he said.
The group are off to America and Canada next month before returning to Australia to tour Walking Under Stars.
“We’ll be performing in Adelaide in October or November. We’re trying to announce it as soon as we can but we have to get all the details of the Australian leg first. We’re doing a lot of dates. We’re going to slam it here,” Lambert said.
But until the Aussie tour starts, the album is available from Friday August 8th with the new single ‘Won’t Let You Down’ (featuring Maverick Sabre) already available.
Hilltop Hoods are renowned for their melodies, smooth raps and the ability to reinvent themselves with each release, making each album totally unique.
Walking Under Stars is no exception and Lambert said, the soul element reflects what the band was listening to at the time along with an album’s tendency to evolve on its own.
“We were listening to Maverick Sabre’s album, Dan Sultan’s album and Aaradhna’s album but I’ve got this theory that albums start gathering momentum and making themselves in a way, and I guess that’s what happened.”
“What we ended up with was something a bit different and a lot more soulful for us but we’re super happy with it because we love that sound,” he said.
Tracks like ‘Cosby Sweater’, ‘Art of the Handshake’ and ‘’I’m a Ghost’ are particular stand outs on the album, even if Lambert had to explain the concept of the Cosby Sweater to us at Glam Adelaide.
“You remember the Cosby Show? The Huxtables? Bill Cosby used to wear crazy colourful sweaters, so all those sweaters had the term coined ‘Cosby Sweater’,” he laughed.
“They’re actually made by Melbourne company, Coogi, and Notorious BIG, one of our favourite rappers of all time used to rock them in the 90s. It’s just a device we used to have a fun hook.”
But amongst the fierce grooves and soulful vocals, lies the same energy and honesty fans love about the South Aussie group.
“My favourite track would have to be P’s [Pressure, aka Daniel Smith] solo ‘Through the Darkness’ because it’s jus t so heartfelt and so well executed,” Lambert said.
The Australian Hip Hop scene is constantly evolving and growing, mostly owing to the groundwork by Hilltop Hoods.
The group, who formed in 1994, have inspired a new generation of rappers who are willing to take risks and morph the culture of the genre.
Lambert, also a producer, is a committed supporter of new and local acts and said there are a few records to look out for at the moment.
“One Day, a new group with members from Horrorshow, Jackie Onassis, Spit Syndicate and MC Joyride have just brought out their album, and I think that’s going to be really big, and our guy Briggs is bringing out his album in September,” he said.
“I’m super excited for him and I’m super excited about it. I think it’s going to be killer. I can’t wait for people to hear it. Also, Illy’s killing it at the moment – he’s just been touring with us and his album has just gone platinum. Alldayfrom SA is doing really well too.”
Walking Under Stars is set to be massive and, even if you’re not a fan, it’s worth a listen because it will change your mind about hip-hop.
The single, ‘Won’t Let You Down’ is already available so check it out today.
Interviewed by Libby Parker