Sky'High is a scary chick. Growing up in Sydney, listening to hip hop, being in the scene as they like to say – myself and my girlfriends watched her at gigs, from a distance, with trepidation, fascination, and a lot of curiosity. I suspect the boys were a touch frightened of her as well. I've only seen her perform live once, many years ago, in the middle of nowhere, and I have to confess I don't remember a lot about that gig in general. Other than this we knew she rapped and we knew she was rough as guts.
This was back in the days when hip hop in Australia demanded that we hit the streets in our Nikes with the obligatory hoodie on top. When the only kind of movement at a show was the up and down of a raised right arm. When after a few beers – why do we seem to get more drunk at hip hop gigs than anywhere else? Are those plastic tumblers bigger than regular schooners? – boys in garish combinations of striped polo shirts beat each other up while boys in t-shirts with graff prints emblazoned on the front stood around in a cipher.
Most of this has changed now. Sure the ciphers still exist and the beer still gets you drunk but the striped polo's are rarer (or gig-specific), girls in frocks dance in the front row, and the sense of menace has generally been replaced with happy vibes. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm saying it's one of the reasons why the release of Sky'High's debut album Forever Sky'High is – for want of a better phrase – fuckn' siiiiiiiick.
A lot of people aren't going to dig it – it's distinctly Australian. And with the general middle class-ness of local hip hop, her commission house-ness could frighten a few of those girls in frocks. But this is a wicked album. She is rough, raw, and completely unabashed about the kind of woman she is, the kind of life she's had and the things she's done. She's also super cheeky at times and full of feeling at others. Tracks range from classic battle style, party pumpers, to slow and serious. Beats come via NZ's P-Money and she's got proper flow so accent haters better shut their traps or you could quite possibly lose them.
Personally I have a mad girl-crush on her. It's been a long time since I've heard anyone speak in pig-Latin, let alone rap in it. This album makes me want to cruise the streets with “my hoodie and my Nikes on”. Eshay braaaa.
This week's new sets include the return of UK's Foals plus local acts Last Dinosaurs, The Snowdroppers and The Paper Kites.