Australia seems to have a rather disastrous relationship with hip-hop festivals and tours, with this year’s spotty toll including the cancellation of the Nas-curated, Live Nation-backed Movement, the postponement of Supafest, and the inaugural Hype hip hop festival falling apart before its lineup was even announced. But there’s one annual hip hop mini-festival that’s managed to buck the dreaded ‘hip hop curse’.

First launched in a 2010 with a lineup that included DJ Premier of Gang Starr and Masta Ace, the annual Rap City mini-festival has announced the lineup for this year’s edition, once again bringing over an international selection of artists.

Topping the bill for Rap City 2013 is rap luminary Talib Kweli, who arrives this October off the back of his latest release Prisoner Of Conscious, and joined on the lineup by Stones Throw MC Homeboy Sandman and New Orleans rapper Trademark Da Skywriter.

The Brooklyn-based Taleb Kewli is a major drawcard for Rap City, widely regarded for his politically leaning rhymes, accomplished flow and rich history of collaborations, including his classic partnership with Mos Def as Black Star, with Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, and his many, many guest spots. Topping the bill for Rap City 2013 is rap luminary Talib Kweli, who arrives this October off the back of his latest release.

Kweli’s fifth and latest solo album Prisoner of Conscious continues to show he works best with others, with cameos from Kendrick Lamar, Bust Rhymes, and Miguel as well as production work from Rza, J. Cole, Oh No, and more.

Rap City 2013 takes place this October and sees Kweli, Homeboy Sandman, and Trademark ‘Da Skywriter’ rolling through Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Sydney in the lead-up to the Queens Birthday Long Weekend.

Now entering its third edition – following a few problems that led to the 2011 edition being called off – last year’s Rap City lineup featured DOOM and Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah. Tickets for Rap City 2013 go on sale 12th August.

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Hopefully Rap City can avoid the major pitfalls faced by other promoters and bookers with their own hip hop tours which have had an extremely patchy track record in Australia.

Recent debacles that have shown it’s a risky business include Urban Vibe, billed as “the biggest hip-hop event Mildura had ever seen,” that had the plug pulled hours before its kick-off after most of the lineup failed to show up.

Likewise, Coolio’s recent Australian Tour that fell apart the day before it was to commence, abruptly “postponed”, reportedly due to unforeseen circumstances with the ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ hit-maker’s visa. Neither story is anything new, with last year seeing Aussie hip hop tour debacles involving Flo RidaMos Def (nee Yasiin), and an ongoing legal stoush between the promoters of Fat As Butter Festival and Flo Rida over the rapper’s 2011 no-show, recently telling an Australian court they had no jurisdiction to impeach him for a $400,000 fine.

Many would be forgiven for thinking that there’s some credence to the ‘hip hop curse’, but the promoter of the stricken Heatwave festival called it all superstition, becoming an unlikely defender in the wake of the embattled Movement and Supafest festivals. “Hip-Hop as a genre [shouldn’t] be pigeon holed as impossible to tour or pull off in the format of a festival in Australia,” wrote Patrick Whyntie in a long-winded open letter that signposted his intentions to sue D12 after citing the Eminem-associate rap group for being responsible for spectacular financial crash of Heatwave.

Rap City 2013 Dates & Tickets

MELBOURNE – Thursday October 3 @ The Hi-Fi
PERTH – Friday October 4 @ Villa
BRISBANE – Saturday October 5th @ The Hi-Fi
SYDNEY – Sunday (Long Weekend) October 6 @ The Hi-Fi


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