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Album Review



Review Date
31st July 2017
Reviewed by
Elijah Pennington

I first became aware of Onehunga’s SWIDT when I stumbled upon last year's video for 'No More Parties In Stoneyhunga'. The Askew-directed clip opens with an aerial shot sweeping beneath Mangere Bridge, then pulling out we see friends, family and the group all donning brightly coloured Hawaiian shirts. I was drawn in immediately.

I clicked subscribe to their YouTube channel and forwarded the video to everyone. I was proud and excited that this calibre of rap music was still coming out of New Zealand. Hailing from the same neck of the woods as luminaries R.E.S, I knew SWIDT were hungry.

Last week SWIDT dropped their follow-up to SWIDT vs Everybody mixtape and it stands strong. Seventeen tracks deep and 42 minutes long the album is packed with diversity, humour and solid raps.

From the get-go 'The Bus Depot' skit sets the scenario. Waiting for a two-stage bus ride, the prelude ramps into 'Alfred & Church'. Already sharing connections with TDE it’s no surprise to hear Tae Beat on production. Slapping along with piano and bass, this is a standout tune. Themes of tagging, riding the 312, daily routines, and living in Onehunga are revisited throughout the long player.

The album is reminiscent of Homebew’s break through EP Last Week. Each song is tied together with skits and interludes accenting the narrative of a week in their life.

'Little Did She Know' and 'Close One' sit together well. Sneaking out for a night of escapades, I get the feeling this is a typical Friday. "Leaping over fences through drive ways, how did this night turn sideways?" they lament on the close calls they've encountered in order to have some fun. The chopped and screwed "yesterday was a bad day" outro punctuates the stress. Leading in to some well-deserved relief 'Tonight' busts some sex raps for your ears.

The most recent single 'Player Of The Day' is high energy. I won’t be surprised if I hear it at a Breakers game or on an NRL highlight reels. This one is an anthem. 'Out The Gate' is a dusty number. Ready to roll "SWIDT came to conquer, what’s the mother fucking mantra? RUN IT STRAIGHT!". Meanwhile 'Mine' is a lounger laden with funk, which breaks the pace for a moment. On R.I.P Shirt, Smokey channels DJ Muggs. ‘Young, Gifted, Cunning Linguistic’ the MCs rip Facebook rappers to bits.

It’s refreshing to hear the NZ references. I can relate to the secret life of a teenager, mufti day, underage drinking and ditching school. Street Fighter II, runners from cabs, hot boxing garages, paranoia and Saturday morning rugby are topics many of us will identify with.

STONEYHUNGA is a well rounded record. They don’t make the mistake of being locked into a singular sound. A solid project that signs off with the touching 'Before Tears Dry', a song about death and grief.


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