Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hilltop Hoods - The Calling


In Australian hip hop, there is no greater group than the magnificent Hilltop Hoods.  In fact, their significance is so profound, they set the standard for just about all hip hop that have followed in their wake in Australia.  But few have been able to come anywhere near the sheer passion for their craft (or the success) that the Hoods have achieved. And they’ve achieved a lot.  The Calling is the first Australian hip hop/rap album to achieve platinum sales and following albums sold similar numbers.

But this success could in no way be called ‘overnight’.  It took the band over ten years of dedication, hard work and touring before releasing this, their third full length album (and first on Australia’s premier hip hop label, Obese). Support for hip hop in Australia prior to the Hilltop Hoods success was very limited, with most of the industry viewing hip hop as more a novelty than anything serious.

Through the break through singles from The Calling, this view was turned on its ear.  And while the singles Nosebleed Section and Dumb Enough introduced the band to a wider audience through radio airplay and their relentless touring, this is not a two-single album with filler tracks.  In fact, the album is so strong and flows so well, I can imagine there would have been some heated discussions about which songs were going to be singles. 

I can’t really decide which tracks on this superb album are my favourites and there are quite a number.  My laundry list changes every time I listen to The Calling as I discover something new in this masterly produced album I like.  But the title track, The Sentinal, Illusionary Lines, Laying Blame, Mic Fenton and Walk On never fail to please.  At least, that's my list today.



The best Aussie hip-hop has me coming back for more - even with a huge 17 tracks on this album.  I'm all for giving the fans more, but often when I see that many songs on a CD I can't help wondering if the band's really engaged its critical facilities and only included its best material. 

But the Hoods put out a quality product - as this album attests.  It's a platinum-selling album here in Australia, and the singles The Nosebleed Section (samples Melanie Safka!) and Dumb Enough are genuine mainstream toe-tappers.

There's no mistaking the broad Aussie accent - which we've discussed on this blog before - and for me they make it work.  I don't often give hip-hop a high score, because I generally prefer to have it stirred into a mixed bag on the dance floor.  But I can listen to The Calling, end to end.


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In our collection we also have The Hard Road

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