Joining the likes of Nicki Minaj, Elton John, Lars Ulrich, The Weeknd, St. Vincent, Joshua Homme, Stormzy, Major Lazer and Drake, Briggs’ own show launches today.
The New Australia on Apple Music’s Beats 1 celebrates emerging local hip-hop talent, from Kwame, to Jaycee, to Baker Boy, Briggs’ radio show will break down geographic barriers and place Australian hip hop in all the right rooms across the globe to Apple Music’s 50 million subscribers in over 115 countries.
Speaking to TIO, Apple Music’s Zane Lowe said that while Briggs was already well and truly on his radar, the Beats 1 Creative Director collaborated closely with the team at Apple Music Australia to get Australian hip hop at the forefront.
“We thought where do we begin because we have to come at this from being on [Australia’s] side, we can’t pretend to know what we’re talking about,” he said. “We needed to really trust the guys [at Apple Music Australia] and they came through.”
Discussions really kicked off last November when Briggs joined Zane Lowe onstage for a Masterclass during ARIA Week. The goal was to bring The New Australia playlist to life, and to share Australian hip hop with a global audience. Naturally, Briggs and Lowe bonded over their love of hip hop, or music, and according to Lowe, their sense of humour.
“For me in a weird way, I understand to some degree the challenges for Australian hip hop […] and the kind of backbone it takes to develop,” he said.
Lowe grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and before he made one of his career-defining moves to the UK to host XFM and MTV, he was a rap artist. Speaking to TIO, Lowe said Australian hip hop, along with all hip hop is having a moment.
“I don’t think [Australian hip hop] is necessarily breaking out here, I think hip hop is breaking all over the world,” he said. “We realise now that it’s decades old and ultimately now a really significant genre of music that’s in existence.”
Lowe said hip hop itself it truly starting to resonate on a global level.
“[Hip hop] is now just starting to find its audience and its own noise, to tell its own truth. Australian hip hop really now has its own foundation – and its own platform to a degree – to tell its stories,” he said.
“I think that on a global level hip hop is finding an audience all over the world,” he added. “I think hip hop from America, outside of America, will always have a more challenging journey because it’s such a fertile ground for talent but its foundation has come from this country.
“When you’re an originator, when you’ve created something, out of necessity to tell your truth and tell your story… he continued. “Even if you’re open to exploitation of that creative process so other people can do the same thing all over the world, you’re going to be inclined to lean toward your own environment.”
Briggs is undeniably the person to lead the charge for Australian hip hop overseas.
From taking out the APRA Songwriter of the Year Award last year with Trials, to his work for First Nations Australians, (he’s curating the First Peoples SongHubs coming up in Melbourne), not only is Briggs consistently putting a spotlight on Indigenous rights, he’s putting a spotlight on the music to come from hardships only a rap artist living in Australia can understand.
When Lowe was asked whether, as a seasoned and in-demand radio and TV host, he offered Briggs any advice, he told TIO:
“We’re always willing to offer any kind of feedback […] but we’re far more into the idea of artists really doing their own thing. I was more blown away by the identity that a lot of hip hop artists have developed and by the way R’n’B and soul artists have developed to create something that’s really uniquely Australian and I think that’s all you should be striving for.
“[I’m] happy to be joining the Beats 1 squad to host The New Australia which is breaking ground by showcasing artists to the world,” said Briggs in a statement.
Check out ‘The New Australia’ playlist HERE on Apple Music.