In every interview he does, it feels like the question of whether or not Allday hates Australian hip hop is tip toed around. He is almost baited to slip up and diss the genre he seems to vehemently deny being a part of.
Maybe that would make for a good story, but it isn’t this one. Allday speaks honestly, he speaks like a 23 year old guy who finally found success and hasn’t quite blinked to realise it yet.
That’s why when he says he doesn’t hate Australian hip hop, but rather just doesn’t care about it, I believe him.
Tomas Gaynor, better recognised as his ‘soft grunge love rap’ moniker Allday, does not fit the Aussie hip hop mould. Everything about the potty mouthed vegan spouting dark verses and experimenting with his vocals is what divides him from what Aus hip hop is understood to be. Allday, like the other acts who join him on riding this wave of new and upcoming home grown hip hop, are aiming to detach themselves from a genre that has forever battled with a stigma it just can’t seem to shake. Does this mean he rejects traditional Australian hip hop though? He says it doesn’t.
“The older artists in Australia paved the way, I will never fucking bad mouth anybody that was here before me” he says “I just want everyone to do their thing.”
In the early stage of his career, Allday was supported by 360, who helped in spreading his name, resulting in a massive jump in interest towards his music. For this reason, he aims to ensure it is understood that he doesn’t reject the genre, or the people in it, but rather appreciates their differences and wants to be recognised as something new.
“..rap has not been successful in Australia” he says “this is a country that loves rock n roll.”
“There’s no right or wrong way to do things, it’s hard for me to comment, I listen to what I listen to, I don’t hate anyone.”
Allday, joined by names like Remi, Baro and Tkay Maidza form a new genre that acts as a hybrid between Aussie hip hop and the international scene. Fuelled by wide spanning tastes in music, and other aspects of culture as well as heavy influence from artists like Drake, A$AP Mob and Kendrick Lamar, these new acts are embarking on the tough road to reclaim Australian hip hop.
Coming from humble roots in Adelaide, Allday remembers a time where he was ashamed to be known as the “scummy hip hop kid with baggy clothes and a shaved head.” Growing up in the birthplace of Australian hip hop pioneers Hilltop Hoods, Allday notes that although he was strongly into the culture, going to battles from as young as 12 and 13 years old, and being driven around by his older cousins listening to Eminem, it was never seen as ‘cool’.
“I just wanted to grow my hair long and be into rock so I could get girls” he laughs.
After endlessly spamming Youtube with bedroom produced tracks he would turn around within 15 minutes, and gracing the internet with his overpowering social media presence, Allday’s career finally kicked off and hasn’t slowed since.
Recently coming off the back of a sold out national tour promoting his debut album Start Up Cult, Allday’s success and the broad growing popularity of Aus hip hop shows a growing engagement with this new wave. Whether it’s his lyrics that delve into themes like heartbreak, addiction and anxiety weaved throughout a narrative of the ‘nothingness’ of youth, or his determination to be omnipresent within the social media lives of his fans, there’s something that’s got Australians hooked on Allday, and now he’s got the US in his sights.
“Oh shit, maybe don’t put that in the article” he laughs after accidentally telling me where he now lives, as if forgetting he would have a horde of fans pacing outside his bedroom window if that were in fact to be published.
Although Allday appears to be kicking goals in the musical realm, success doesn’t come without backlash. He has been called arrogant, and pulled up by fans for coming off as misogynistic in his songs by using words like ‘bitches’ to refer to women, which is something he wants to clear the air of.
In response to being called arrogant, Allday starts singing Ludacris’ early 2000’s track “Area Codes”, (“I got hoes, I got hoes, in different area codes”) saying as a “fat and pimply” kid, throwing on a song with boastful lyrics like that would give him the confidence he needed
“yeah my music seems boastful, but that’s strength for people” he says “if I write a song like that, I’m doing it because I remember what it feels like.”
As for representing women disrespectfully on his album, he understands people’s disdain, but puts it down to growing up on hip hop.
“Bitches to me is not a negative term, but it’s switching right now. Or it has switched, and I missed it!”
As Allday and those surrounding him continue working hard to rebrand Australian hip hop, he promises to stay grounded as he works on new music and building a name for himself internationally. Amongst other things, Allday says he will hold onto his title of a self-confessed social media over-sharer, paying homage to the fans who got him to where he is today.
“…fuck it, I’m not that obsessed with being cool, everyone wants to be so mysterious, you can’t be too precious.”
So although Allday does not disrespect Australian hip hop as it currently stands, he doesn’t particularly consider his work to fall within that niche. He is enough a part of the scene to understand the culture, yet distanced enough to be creating something that he believes doesn’t need to be lumped into a pre-existing category to survive.
With factors like drawing influence from big names in rap, and a move to fluidity within the genre of hip hop itself, it is more than likely that acts like Allday, and the success he has found is only a glimpse of what’s to come for this new wave of Australian music that seems to be gaining strength at an impressively rapid rate.
Words by Adriana Barro
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