Rapping Up Our History: Briggs, Nooky & Kobie Dee

This week’s episode of Rapping Up Our History is a bit different to our previous ones. For the last episode, I wanted to give flowers to as many artists’ as possible, including Briggs, Nooky and Kobie Dee. These artists have been very vocal this year so we take a look at two of Nooky and Kobie Dee’s latest drops, as well an older cut from Briggs as A.B. Original.

Unlike episodes one and two, we’re able to look at three different approaches to providing social commentary through Hip-hop. Briggs directly tackles the issue of Australia Day on January 26 as part of the the A.B. Original duo with Trials. On 432-0, Nooky demands change in Australia and the injustice that occurs for Indigenous Australians while in police custody. Lastly, Kobie Dee delivers an uplifting anthem in his song Still Standing featuring Liyah Knight.

For me, I’m more likely to listen to Kobie Dee than any of the other artists as I think he’s one of the more unique artists right now. His storytelling and delivery is on another level and his social commentary extends further than Indigenous issues. Young adulthood, dealing with issues of masculinity and drugs – these are topics that I can resonate with and form a first hand connection. That does not retract from his other work or Nooky or Briggs’ work, however, it helps to build that initial relatability to which I can then be bridged into more specific issues of racism and injustice.

All three artists’ killed their respective tracks and are powerful commentators in today’s scene. Briggs has set the stage for a lot of artists and is still making impactful statements while Nooky is definitely your favourite rappers’ favourite rapper.

I’d love to hear what you thought of the each track and how you connected with it. This has been the last episode of Rapping Up Our History and I hope you’ve learnt something or at least left with a couple of new tracks for your playlists.

Frank Tremain.

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Ethnographic Digital Artefact Pitch

I will be researching Hip-Hop in Australia and its use of social commentary for Indigenous Australians. This is a subject I am extremely passionate about and will be beneficial to my portfolio as a music journalist.

In Winter and Lavis’ Looking, But Not Listening? Theorising the Practice and Ethics of Online Ethnography (2020), they believe listening allows researchers to account for how people are speaking online (Winter & Lavis, 2020). This is predominately how I will be carrying out my study, by observing the music on platforms like Spotify and YouTube, and the response to this music on social media such as FaceBook and Instagram.

As part of my auto-ethnographic study, I will be exploring how this particular type of music makes me feel and what I gain from it. My digital artefact will take place on my YouTube and on this blog where I will review albums from Indigenous artists that are tackling issues of social injustice. I think this research will help me and my audience better understand the experiences of Indigenous Australians and will measure how useful the medium of Hip-Hop is as a social commentary. Here are a few of the questions that I’m looking to discuss throughout my research:

  • How do people (fans or non-fans) react to this music?
  • What are the similarities or differences between each song/album and what impact does this have?
  • What do I learn from the music and how does it make me feel?
  • What is the future of this music in regards to social change and the genre of Hip-Hop in Australia?

I have researched this topic more broadly in other subjects and I am on track with my Gantt chart in identifying artists and albums. I have also already begun reading secondary research that has been insightful in how to ethically conduct my ethnographic research.

If you would like to keep up with my digital artefact, you can subscribe to my YouTube and my blog where I will be uploading a series of reviews.

Frank Tremain.

Planning & Problematising

For any new readers, I am doing an ethnographic study on my media niche, Hip-Hop in Australia. In the first week, I identified this niche and the definition of ethnography while in the second week, I began to map this media niche out. This week’s blog will begin to problematise my media niche and plan my research approach.

Problematising My Media Niche

After discussing my ideas with Chris, I’ve decided to narrow my niche further and investigate the use of Hip-Hop and its social commentary for Indigenous Australians.

Hip-Hop first began during the 1970s in The Bronx to unify minorities through a creative outlet in New York City. Shortly after, the genre became a form of social recognition and status for African-American and Latino youth and was a vehicle for collective uplift and social critique of policies and politics that disadvantage minority groups (Petchauer, 2011). As stated in my previous blog, Hip-Hop in Australia didn’t really begin to find success until the early 2000s.

Similarly to the inherent nature of Hip-Hop in America, Hip-Hop in Australia has grown into its own form of social commentary. To problematise this media niche, my ethnographic study will analyse and investigate the use of social commentary by Indigenous Australians and the response from publications, Hip-Hop fans and Australians in general. This research will help readers better understand this niche by demonstrating its importance on providing minorities with a voice and educating audiences on social issues. Ideally, the research will also map the interconnected relationships of Hip-Hop to Indigenous Australians. The audience of this research will include:

  • Avid fans of Hip-Hop in Australia
  • Casual music fans or Australians wanting to understand the social significance of Hip-Hop
  • Myself and future employers, as this project aligns with my career

Planning My Research Approach

The research plan for my digital artefact will begin with listening to as many albums and songs related to the experience of Indigenous Australians. Some of the key artists I will be looking at over the next couple of weeks include Ziggy Ramo, Briggs, JK-47 and Kobie Dee.

Following this, I will then observe the response to the media niche from publications, Hip-Hop fans and casual music listeners. This observation period will include reading reviews, watching interviews and taking notes and screenshots of online comments and posts. All of this can be done through social media on my phone and laptop.

“Auto-ethnography is an intriguing and promising qualitative method. Although working through these challenges can lead to the production of an excellent text, the intimate and personal nature of auto-ethnography can, in fact, make it one of the most challenging qualitative approaches to attempt.” – Sarah Wall (2006).

As a white Australian, I feel as though I am the target audience for this type of Hip-Hop music regarding the experience of Indigenous Australians. While I’ll leave it to my research to dive deeper into this, I recognise that auto-ethnography will work effectively in making observations on my listening experience including how the music makes me feel and what I can learn from it (Wall, 2006).

Made with Microsoft Word.

This Gantt Chart details the research schedule I will undertake throughout the semester. I will first begin by recording and presenting my pitch in week five, followed by identifying artists, albums and related news to the media niche. Then, I will monitor comments and online discussion surrounding the problem before collecting secondary sources and beginning my digital artefact and report. Secondary sources can be used with observation to triangulate emerging findings and used in conjunction with analysis to substantiate the findings (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). This means I can use studies relating to Hip-Hop in America and compare this to Australia, theorising the music’s future impact.

At the moment, I am unsure what form my digital artefact will take but I think I will present it as a two or three part audio series with a blog complimenting each episode. Depending on time constraints and if the nature of my research demands, I could also potentially present my findings as a YouTube series.

Frank Tremain.