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Dawn Raid: New Zealand’s First Hip Hop Label

Ahead of the release of their official documentary, we caught up with label founders Brotha D and YDNA to hear more on the Dawn Raid story.

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Dawn Raid Entertainment, an independent New Zealand hip hop label founded by Brotha D and YDNA in South Auckland, achieved what no other local label had managed to before or since. They exported Kiwi hip hop talent internationally, including Savage who went on to be the first New Zealand hip hop artist to attain platinum sales in the United States. They spearheaded a wave of New Zealand hip hop success that crossed the ditch into the Australian market during the early to mid-2000s. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the Dawn Raid story. New Zealand writer, actor and director Oscar Kightley has directed Dawn Raid, an excellent documentary that follows the epic rise and startling fall of the legendary record label and entertainment business.

Acclaim founder Andrew Montell was there to witness some of the Dawn Raid story unfold in real-time and he recently caught up with the film’s main subjects, YDNA and Brotha D, two individuals that inspired much of the Acclaim journey and vision in its early years.

Anyone sitting up and paying attention to the rise of Polynesian hip hop artists in Australia in recent times should watch this documentary, a salute to the pioneers that paved the way. Check out the interview with Brotha D and YDNA above.

DAWN RAID will release in Australian cinemas nationally on January 21.

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