Fierce? Check. Female? Check. Spittin’ Fire? Check. Sarah Connor flashes blinding light when she drops rhymes, and her recent win in the Briggs “King of the Town” competition goes to show that she’s holding it down for MCs everywhere and specifically her town, Sydney. With Summer on our doorstep and some holiday cheer and hopefully holiday cash lining our pockets, we caught up with Sarah Connor to take us through her top picks in Sydney for the local or visiting Hip Hop head.
567 King Street, Newtown.
Sydney’s art supplies, music, books, clothing and hip hop specialists. Sydney would not be Sydney without 567 King. What started out as a paint shop has expanded into clothing, books and music, including a vinyl collection. 567 has hosted many in stores from international artists including Charlie 2na, A.G, Jeru the Demaja, Celph Titled and local Sydney hip hop legends Def Wish Cast. I like 567 to browse through the latest clothes, and see first hand what new local music is out. It’s also been a place of a few shananigans, as you will often see them dragging the couches out onto the footpath and flaneuring with the passers by of what is the eclectic inner city, Newtown. 567 has been going strong for 9 years now and if your are out and about on King Street, pop in and chat to the fella’s behind the desk.!
Hustle and Flow Bar
People feel an affinity, pride and protection in places they feel a part of and connected to. Hustle and Flow is a simple little niche bar in the heart of Redfern– across the way from the train station and just off Redfern Street. Decked out in wall to wall graf and characters of your favourite hip hop legends including Tupac and Notorious B.I.G- Hustle and Flow may be small but mighty. A weekly cypher currently kicks off where you can come down, have a drink and kick it on the mic- or if it’s not your game- sit back and enjoy the atmosphere while many local hip hop heads do their thing.
I’ve been to Hustle and Flow a few times and I feel it is a place that represents us. When real hip hop continues to be pushed to the side lines, and often misrepresented or mis appropriated- Sydney reps hard with this little bar that keeps the music and the mic going.
The Jazz Club- Jazz Hip Hop Freestyle Sessions
606 The Foundary, Pyrmont
Like a true Jazz club it only starts late, after 11pm. Simple decked out tables and chairs- yep you got it, like a real old school Jazz club. This place is the place to go late at night after you’ve already been out. Sometimes a cover of $5- a small price to play for a full band and constant rotation of singers and MC’s. The way the JHHFS works is each week different artists take to the mic to flow over a live band. The musicians are top notch, the MC’s are killa and the ladies who often sing and hold it down are the cream of the crop. A place of great diversity, sometimes young and old, but most of all dope- the JHHFS is one of my fave little things I love about my city. Be sure to check it out on Friday nights…
King Street, Newtown
So you’re probably thinking this is the odd one out right? Well, maybe so, maybe not. Bloodwood is my favourite wine bar in Sydney. Situation King Street again – yep, I don’t stray far. Premium beers, premium spirits, top notch wine, old school cocktails that have never disappointed me and food prepared by two great Sydney chefs. But why am I telling you all of this? Because its the only joint in Sydney I have managed to get my mum into that plays 90s hip hop. Yes, this up market bar and restaurant has the dopest playlist on whoever’s iPod is in there. Its a place I get to meld a few of my great loves, great food, great liquor, great hip hop and all in my local hood. The place is eclectic and visceral, but most of all- the staff do it for me. Love the fashions, love the dude with the braces and the handle bar moustache that can tell you everything you ever needed to know about food and grog- while I’m head nodding away to the dopest 90s tunes. Bloodwood- Laugh drink eat and be merry, for today we live and tomorrow we die!
1 Speed Street, Liverpool
Part of the Ted Noff’s foundation, Street Uni is a cultural core- a youth centre focused on using hip hop to change lives. Its a place to hang, a place to break, a place to record. It has a line up of well respected older and younger Sydney heads teaching the art, preserving the culture and changing lives for young people in Sydney. Situated in Liverpool and Mt Druitt– Street Uni to me represents the past, present and future of hip hop. Born on solid foundations, places like Street Uni reassure the preservation of our universal hip hop culture. I was fortunate enough to see and meet KRS ONE out there a few years back and won’t forget it. All I can say is respect to the workers, leaders, participants, artists and everyone who make the wheels of Street Uni turn- you do more than you will ever be paid for, although hopefully you will be rightfully acknowledged for it.
Check out Sarah Connor’s winning entry here;