From a young age, Gumbaynggirr man, Tasman Keith, has been compelled to continue
the great traditions of his people by telling stories through music. As the son of Aboriginal
hip-hop pioneer, Wire MC; Tasman bring forward the next generation of his family,
delivering a powerful message through a unique sound of hip-hop, R&B and neo-funk.
“Tasman Keith represents the strength in talent pushing the wave of Australian hip hop
into new territory” – Sosefina Fuamoli, The AU Review
2018 exhibited a big year for Tasman with the release of his debut studio EP, Mission
Famous which was recorded in Skinnyfish Music’s Studio G. Teaming up with ARIA
nominated producer James Mangohig and Bad Apples Music’s own Nooky, Tasman
was able to present a coherent story inspired by his community of Bowraville. Collectively
racking in over 165k streams on Spotify, the lead single My Pelopolees became staple
hit, along with Divided being featured on Apple Music’s hip-hop playlist The New
Australia and Mission Famous earning a high-rotation spot on triple j and Spotify
playlist All Aussie Hip-Hop.
“Tasman's EP is powerful, and this is a fantastic moment off of it” - Nick Findlay, triple j
Between the release of his EP, Tasman managed to make major prominence in the scene,
co-headlining the Sydney Opera House with fellow Indigenous rapper Dobby. He also
found the time to travel along the east-coast of Australia on his first headline tour, The
Mission Famous Tour, and appeared at Barunga Festival in the Northern Territory.
Previously sharing the stage with renown Australian artists such as A.B. Original, Briggs,
Birdz, Omar Musa and Caiti Baker, Tasman was lucky enough to end the year opening
for Royce da 5’9” (Bad Meets Evil, Slaughterhouse) at Manning Bar.
Tasman echoes the powerful message he presents in his music, using his platform to be a
powerful voice for social justice and Indigenous issues. Using hip-hop as an important
medium, Tasman gears up for bigger opportunities to further his music in 2019. Venturing
into sounds that will rattle the music scene, this will lead Tasman Keith to be cemented
as the future face and voice of hip-hop in Australia.
Meet this week's triple j Unearthed Feature Artist, Indigenous rapper and rising star, Tasman Keith. He's got a way with words and a flow to follow.
Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?
I guess it started simply by growing up with a father as a rapper, a mother as a singer and a bunch of uncles that could play guitar. Being constantly surrounded by music I along with my older brother would always be performing or writing, from as early as 10 my brother, cousin and I had a rap group. At fourteen a lot of my cousins and I were squeezed into a tiny room just to spend hours writing and recording every afternoon. I feel like these things mixed with the study that I put into the music and the greats of the music over time are really what has helped me develop my sound so far. That, keeping my pen sharp and working with great producers.
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
For me, anything can be a source of inspiration. But the greatest would be my community, Bowraville. These stories and feelings that I share, either come from a personal point or draw inspiration from what my people go through. Knowing that I have a voice that can not only be one for my community, but one people outside of my community can relate too is something that constantly pushes me to remain locked in.
What can punters expect from a Tasman Keith live show?
A lot of energy, a lot of truth and a bunch of mission references.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
There has been a lot. But either when my father told me that when it comes to business and music, never show your full hand, keep a few tricks up your sleeve. Or when my great-grandmother told me to work for it. Simple as that.
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
Tasman Keith - My Pelopolees.
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Birdz - Testify.
If that doesn't make you feel a way, I don't know what will.
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
Tasman Keith - My Pelopolees. Everyone yelling CRB (Cemetery Road Bowraville) is the key to a great party.
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
Barunga Festival. At the start of this year, I lived in Darwin at Studio G for two months so it's local enough haha. But yeah, Barunga was amazing. If you are reading this, that festival is a must. Shout out to the Skinnyfish fam.
Tell us about the bands or people in the Sydney music community that inspire you.
To be completely honest, for the past 6 months I’ve been so focused on finishing this project that I haven’t been looking anywhere else. But I’ve always appreciated that there seems to be an overall general respect that the Sydney scene has for each other, that and the work ethic a lot of artists here have is inspiring and keeps me motivated.
What are your plans for 2018?
Watching the current single ‘My Pelopolees’ do its thing, which we have some visuals for as well. The project I’ve been working on with James Mangohig and Nooky is in its final stages and we have already begun to roll that out, so the release of that is a major part of 2018 for me. More visuals for the other singles I have on the way, and a bunch of shows as the music comes out, and of course working on the next, staying one step ahead.View Profile Hide Interview