Five To The Fore - Lou Lou, Lomas, Sarah Connor, Averie Harvey, and Nay
Five To The Fore
Lou Lou, Lomas, Sarah Connor, Averie Harvey, and Nay
OzHipHop.Com took the time out yesterday on International Women's Day to talk to five hip hop heads doing their thing, Averie Harvey, Lou
Lou, Lomas, Sarah Connor, and Nay, and they each share a piece of their knowledge and a story or two about their experiences
in coming forth in the hip hop scene.
Lou Lou, a regular on the battle and Sydney scene, shares a little about her perspective and experience.
“I’ve done a handful of those accapella battles, you know the ones *insert cringe here*. A lot of people take themselves way too seriously and I am
totally cool with exploiting that for a cheap laugh. What started as an excuse to go to Brisbane and party with Gab for a few days last summer has
turned out to be something that drunken strangers start conversations with me about.
While understandably not everyone’s cup of tea, the youtube battle scene has provided me with regular offers to jump on a plane and see friends
interstate, make new friends, promo whatever music I eventually release and get my drink on at little expense to myself. Being the ‘token chick’ is
somewhat frustrating as generic girl jokes go down a treat with the crowd, I suppose I’m a pretty easy target with my Beiber-like physical traits.
That said I can get away with a lot of penis jokes that would not be acceptable for my male counterparts to try. But I couldn’t care less if I win or
not, I’m there for the shits, giggles and the afterparty.”
Before Lou Lou got into battles her and partner in crime, Gabi, did the rounds. Lou Lou recounts how that all came to pass.
“When I first moved to Sydney I noticed Gabi holding her own in freestyle battles. I was impressed with her quick wit, wordplay and stage presence.
Out celebrating my 19th birthday at a hermitude gig, I was smashed and confident enough to introduce myself to Gab at a bar and I invited her round
for a jam. I figured I would impress her by mixing instro’s on my shitty old stanton decks and we would get wasted and freestyle and then she would
want to be my friend, right? Luckily for me, she fell for it and we’ve been good friends for years now. As Gabi & LouLou we have performed at stacks
of gigs (and battles) together, seen countless dope shows as spectators, gotten arrested together, been on roadtrips, had each other’s backs on
numerous occasions and somehow managed to make a heaps more friends during the process. Yay, Women’s Day.”
Gabi’s latest sampler is available here and you can check Lou Lou out rocking penis puns at the next battle league.
Lomas is doing something special, working a mixtape project where each song is a video, “Diary of a Mad Half-Black Woman” is a
personal journey through a project. Lomas speaks on her experiences and lessons learnt.
“My experience as an independent artist has taught me not to judge a book by its cover. Your never going to get anywhere in life, let alone music, if
you judge someone based on their appearance without listening to what they have to say first. Behind the roughest looking mug could be a philosopher,
that's the beauty of hip hop, everyone has a voice and that's where I've found mine.”
Sarah Connor, a name not known by all, but with the passion fired up, soon will be, speaks about the challenges faced and the
path to take.
“The reason I started rapping, apart from the obvious that I like it, was because I was disillusioned by several poor quality young dudes out there
rapping who were getting mad props despite being mediocre and carbon copies of every other dude out their with a mic in his hand and a home set up.
It seems as a woman in every element of hip hop, you dont just have to be good, but exceptional, in order to get anyone to give you the time of day.
It is too easy in hip hop to be written off as another young dumb slut, or, your ranking in the pecking order being established by what relationship
you hold with a male. However, in Australia, we have a long history of women who not only represent their element, but PROGRESS their element,
particularly in respect of Graf. While lots of dudes out there are spending their idle days doing what ever it is they do to represent hip hop, some
of our pioneering women, like Spice, also Maya Jupiter etc are internationally known and recognised, respected, and PROGRESSING this culture into the
future, while at the same time, working regular jobs and raising kids. As a wise person once said “Anyone can make music, but it takes something else
to really PROGRESS it in this country.” As I say in our "Mad Bitches" track by me and Averie "Respect to the real Queens, who are really running this
scene/ I mean, could you PROGRESS an artform, with kids to feed?" I admit that women can be their own worst enemies, but rather than fighting or
behaving like boys, we need to form our own alliances, and build on our own strengths, and combine our own mental and physical resources.”
If you haven’t been snapped by Averie Harvey, then you should question your success! Maybe not, as she’s still working her way
through an extensive list, but Averie is changing hip hop photography for good, and, she’s damn good.
“Its never easy being the minority but if you struggle for long enough it can be fruitful. I discovered a real love for hip hop, rap, spoken word,
poetry when I was about 15. My “friends” thought I was weird. I was a goth wearing those spiky dog collars around my neck complimented by outfits made
entirely of spiderweb lace. I’ve never wanted to be a stereotype so I was that goth kid rocking out to Outkast.”
“I always wished I had friends who shared my love for music. I always bought my friends CDs for their birthday and always felt a little heart broken
when I found the album was still wrapped in the plastic sleeve. Maybe I was buying them the wrong kind of music but fuck it I was just trying to share
the love. ... I spent alot of time on the the train between Newcastle and Sydney getting to and from hip hop gigs. I spent many early mornings with
black eyes and goosbumps in toilets keeping myself warm under the hand dryers whilst waiting for the 7am train, having had no sleep and either walking
around or hanging out with random people I met at shows to fill in the time and the fact I had no home to go to! Such was my love of hip hop and my
search to absorb as much as I could. I did this alone, and as a young 19 year old, it was both scary and liberating at the same time, trekking up and
down streets in Sydney I didnt even know and battling the joys of catching trains alone. I didn’t have anyone who would endure this with me. The more
I started meeting likeminded heads, the more my situation improved.”
Averie has had a similar experience with other females at hip hop gigs as many coming up in the last few years have had, not enough chicks, too
many dicks, but it’s a real different reason as why this is a bad thing for women, as why it’s a bad thing for then men.
“There’s not many of us. Lots of groupies or skeezers as Sarah (Conner) loves to call them who are more interested in what men think of them, than
the actual elements of hip hop themselves. There are so many dudes in the scene and I often thought if I had a penis I would have heaps of mates.
Beers, raps, joints more beers more joints and maybe more raps….Then I remind myself that I am a woman. It is hard in hip hop to stay true in our
identities as women. Fact is, I dont drink beer, suck back cones of pot and get in fights. I see alot of young girls getting lost in being one of the
boys rather than embracing what we are as women. Back when I first started making the trek down to Sydney I met Sarah Connor. She was always there
offering help when she thought I needed it, never wanting anything but to hang out, talk shit and spit raps. We were able to meet a few other girls
who loved hip hop, loved gigs, but at the same time had no time for the male politics. The best gift hip hop gave me was my best friend. When I moved
into Petersham and Sarah lived in Newtown, we spent many a night devising crazy raps listening to whatever we got our hands on and talking shit about
music. We drove around town spitting every single word to the Delta’s Lostralian, pushed our way to the front of the stage at his shows, laughed over
a lot of clueless girls and haters and partied hard too many nights into the daylight than I care to remember. And such, the era of Mad Bitches was
formed. We devised our own "crew" in response to every single little lad out there being part of a "crew" and talking about their "crew" and
everything being "crew" orientated. Fact is, Mad Bitches was never a "crew" but a group of inseparable strong women who stuck staunch and fought hard
to be here. I guess some would call that a crew, but with the way so many young crews exist out there today not even knowing whose in the crew I don’t
know if I really like the word crew anymore! None of us really fitted in but we had each other so we didn’t care. 6 years have passed since we first
met outside the Lansdowne at Battleacts and I can confidently say we have both found ourselves and our own space in this local industry. I started
taking my camera along to gigs and photographing people and my project has spread and opened up opportunities for me to photograph a lot of
interstate, and international acts, while Sarah is recording her own music.”
“What I really like to see is women finding their own feet in hip hop as opposed to being an extension of their partner or boyfriend. It is incredibly
easy to be written off as a chick in hip hop, but if one looks close enough, you will see that hip hop culture in Australia has a legacy of strong
women who were good at what they did, particularly when looking at the early female graf writers many of whom were not just good, but better than the
boys and owned it in their own right. If your weave through the bullshit you will find their are plenty of female pioneers out there to be inspired
by. Both Sarah and I now have purpose and reason but probably would not have got to this point without the support of each other. I’m looking forward
to seeing where this journey takes the both of us. I have a feeling there is a lot more to the local hip hop scene than ever meets the eye.”
Nay of The Last Kinection, with not only near death experiences under her belt, but a mean flow and rhyme book,
has been touring and rocking shows around Australia, and proves that the dark grimey pub venues that we are used too are going to have to move over!
"Greatest experience so far in my life on stage would have to be bringing a wide range of people together in one place enjoying our music without a
SINGLE FIGHT!!! hehe PLUS it was Survival day! (Australia Day). There were young and old blackfellas waving the Aboriginal flag, young and old white
fellas waving the Australian flag, hardcore oz hiphop heads, hardcore U.S hiphop heads, a crew of hippies, and the list goes on and on. When we first
formed the Last Kinection our main aim was to change attitudes in this country and although we may have a long way to go, drawing a crowd like that
gave me hope... and hope and each other is all we really have.
I say this all the time but I honestly believe that music can change the world, because it changed my world and to be a part of something that is so
much bigger than just doing gigs and writing these songs is very fulfilling.
Happy National Women's day Ladies!! ...and remember... We have the WOMB... we always have the POWER!!! hehe"