OneFour aren’t so much the scourge of NSW police. They’re enemy No. 1 to a force that is taking unprecedented measures to take down the hip-hop outfit.
That’s the picture painted by a new ABC investigation, which explores the hype and hate surrounding the Sydney rappers, and the unorthodox means police have used to shut them out.
In the expose, the Corporation reveals law enforcement are leaning on laws designed to target outlaw motorcycle gangs and terrorists, and confirmed the group’s national tour was cancelled following coordinated police intervention.
Officers from NSW’s Strike Force Raptor have even approached streaming music services to have OneFour’s music scrubbed from their catalogues. None have obliged.
Watch OneFour’s ‘Spot the Difference’:
For the first time, NSW Police admitted it forced the hand of venues around the country. “We are shutting down their concerts, but it’s to stop the violence. We haven’t had it since the concerts have been shut down,” Sergeant Trueman, an officer with NSW’s Strike Force Raptor, is quoted as saying.
Trueman likened the drill act to a biker gang. “If the Comancheros started singing a song and trying to call out and provoke the Hells Angels, and they wanted a concert, the public would expect us to shut that down,” he reportedly said.
Ten years ago, after a motorcycle gang kicked off a fight at Sydney Airport, NSW Police initiated Strike Force Raptor, a specialist taskforce targeting outlaw gangs and “associated criminal enterprises.”
Now, Raptor is working with the newly-created Strike Force Imbara to probe the war between greater-west and inner-west groups and their links to hip-hop artists, OneFour included.
Watch OneFour’s ‘The Message’:
OneFour’s four date The Beginning tour of Australia in November-December was meant to be their big moment, converting a massive online following into ticket and merch sales.
One by one, the Australian dates were pulled after police expressed “safety concerns” and venues declaring “unavoidable circumstances” (the New Zealand leg went ahead).
Now, two members of the Mount Druitt act are behind bars and its manager is banned from interacting with the rappers.
Buzz around the group hasn’t died down. They’ve amassed over 30 million streams on Spotify and 27 million views on YouTube. Earlier this week, YouTube unveiled its top 10 Trending Music Videos from Australian Artists for the year 2019. The controversial group appeared three times on the list, at No. 2 (‘Spot the Difference’), No. 3 (‘The Message’) and No. 7 (‘Ladz in the Hood’). Only Tones And I’s ‘Dance Monkey’ placed higher.
Sergeant Trueman is adamant OneFour won’t have a national platform.
He told Background Briefing, “I’m going to use everything in my power to make your life miserable, until you stop doing what you’re doing… Every aspect of your life. I’m going to make it uncomfortable for you.”
Watch OneFour’s ‘Ladz In The Hood’:
Pitched as a look “Inside the battle between Australian drill rappers OneFour and the police,” the ABC and its reporter Osman Faruqi draw parallels between the unprecedented operations here, and other efforts to stop the music in the U.S. and U.K.
Read the report here.