Tkay Maidza, Sampa The Great, Coda Conduct.
These are only a handful of fiercely talented female artists who are making waves in the Aussie hip hop scene.
It’s becoming clear that the rap game is no longer strictly a boys club reserved for the likes of success stories such as Bliss N Eso and Hilltop Hoods. Instead, the genre is facing a transformation of epic proportions, with trailblazing female acts turning heads internationally for their raw talent, bold lyrics and cheeky sense of humour.
Among said trailblazers are Sydney-via-Canberra duo Erica Mallett and Sally Coleman, aka Coda Conduct, who are winning fans across the world thanks to their razor-sharp wit and flow to match.
“We were travelling with a group of mutual friends and soon discovered each other’s secret rap aspirations and decided to learn to rap together,” Mallett says of joining forces with Coleman. “I went through a lot of musical phases. I had a Parkway Drive phase, then Smashing Pumpkins, then Red Hot Chili Peppers and Offspring… all the usual teenager mum-I-hate-your-guts-type shit. Then finally came hip hop and it just clicked with me. Plus, I love my mum heaps.”
Since dropping their debut EP Butter Side Up back in 2015, the pair have gone from strength to strength, from winning a coveted triple j Unearthed spot on this year’s Groovin The Moo line-up in Canberra, to hosting their very own radio gig on triple j and even managing to squeeze in their Usually I’m Cool tour last year. “It was so dope!” Mallett says. “It’s sweet seeing people turn out and turn up, you know? It was also great meeting and watching our support acts. Gets me all proud ‘n stuff! Moving to Sydney has offered us so many opportunities. But we miss Canberra. There are just so many roundabouts.”
Their booty equality anthem Click Clack (Front N Back) became an instant hit not only for its cheeky lyricism, but for the deeper message of equality (and love for the man booty). “[Using comedy] is a secret way of penetrating people’s brains with our message. If they laugh at it, it makes them feel good. Then they feel good about us and our message. It’s an evil trap!” she jokes.
With more and more women commanding attention in the hip hop world, Mallett muses on the driving force behind the change. “Hard to say exactly! It’s a snowball phenomenon. The more women doing it, the more women see those women doing it and become inspired to do the same. All we can do is keep doing what we’re doing and actively encouraging others to do the same!”
With such a strong message to push, the power pair are still incredibly down to earth, with Mallett spilling on the pair’s most embarrassing moment while performing.
“Once Sally forgot almost her entire verse to a really heartfelt, downbeat song. I tried to cover her verse then forgot the words too. Ended up that we both sincerely mumbled complete nonsense to the beat for about a minute until the chorus came back. Did anyone notice? Not sure. But we kept a straight face the whole time and that’s pretty dope.”
7 May, Groovin The Moo, University of Canberra