The Hilltop Hoods are the group who first proved that hip hop in Australia wasn’t just a quirky novelty, but an undisputed commercial behemoth.
Few predicted it, and every hip hop act in Australia today can thank the Hilltop Hoods for paving the way.
After the Hoods initial success the major label deals, festival offers and radio play came flooding in for artists across the whole genre.
Where would hip hop in Australia be without the Hilltop Hoods?
Check out our picks for the 10 best Hilltop Hoods songs which defined a genre.
10. Shredding the Balloon – Hilltop Hoods
Released in 2012, both lyrically and melodically, Shredding the Balloon is the standout track from ‘Drinking From The Sun’.
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9. 1979 – Hilltop Hoods
You wont be able to stream or buy this track anywhere (except for bootleg YouTube uploads like the above.)
Released in 1999 on the ‘Matter of Time” record, this was a track which really showcased the unique voice of the Hoods, it really was the first sign that they would take the music industry by storm.
This track is a love letter to hip hop culture and plea to repair the damage commercialisation of the genre has caused.
But not the sort that makes you laugh
‘Cause MC’s are building futures by raping the past
Taking a glass of Chardonnay and putting it to your lips
I’d rather take a razor blade and put it to my wrist
Than sell records on the basis that I have to promote
Sniffing and selling coke, toting guns and smoking dope
You’re all weaving the rope that you’ll hang yourself with
My only consolation is within the hip-hop nation is
B-boy elements that could still get me open
Like Graff mags from Berlin, mixtapes from Oakland
Breakers from Rock Steady, plus anything from Tribe
And old school New York that’s still got the vibe
8. Won’t Let You Down ft. Maverick Sabre – Hilltop Hoods
Very few of the Hilltop Hoods big hit singles have made this list, because it’s critics pick not a “top hits” list. However Won’t Let You Down is arguably the Hoods best pop record, with a hook that absolutely grabs you.
7. Testimonial Year – Hilltop Hoods
Many people discovered the Hilltop Hoods in 2003 when their single The Calling went large.
The Calling was the break out single for not only the Hilltop Hoods but for every artist making hip hop in Australia.
Fans who discovered the single and then bought the album all fell in love with Testimonial Year.
It was the perfect introduction track for newcomers to the group and genre. The record explored the history of the Hoods and really painted a picture of exactly what the Australian Hip Hop scene was like through the 90’s and early 00’s.
Testimonial Year is the Genesis of Australian Hip Hop for many fans nationally.
Let me introduce myself, raise them beers,
Suffa MC, been doing this for more than ten years,
Ever since I was a youngster, I brought the funk for
The love, and for the party people to get drunk to,
Since back in the day we’ve been the major crew,
When I step on the stage it’s like De Ja Vu,
Years of performing, years of practice,
Respect from my peers, my girls tears on the mattress,
Every time that we went on tour,
And she was left behind feeling insecure,
But she needn’t worry; I wasn’t chasing a girl to rock right,
I was chasing the warm glow of a spotlight,
City after city, state to state,
We were just three mates rocking beats and breaks,
So if you made it to a Hoods show to check the style,
You get much respect, you made it all worthwhile.
6. Recapturing The Vibe – Hilltop Hoods
Recapturing The Vibe was such an epic way to open The Hard Road which was the follow up to their breakout album “The Calling”.
The anticipation of The Hard Road was enormous, and hearing this track open the record told every listener their expectations would not only be met, but exceeded.
Sonically and lyrically Recapturing the Vibe is absolutely epic.
5. What The Seasons Change – Hilltop Hoods
What The Seasons change is a solo track by Pressure featured on “Left Foot Right Foot”. Like “A Matter of Time” you can’t stream or buy this record anywhere legitimately.
Released in 2001, What The Seasons change is simply a marvellous story track well ahead of it’s time. Pressure is the screen writer of the Trio, throughout the Hoods career, once every album he features a solo track that is a gripping story.
4. The Calling – Hilltop Hoods
The title track from The Hilltop Hoods breakout album. Yet another marvellous diary entry as new fans got to understand the group and culture further.
This be calling, we could never be fake,
Thanks to hip-hop I got a bed in every state,
And without it I’d roam the city with no purpose,
Without the underground I’m a clown without circus,
3. Stopping All Stations – Hilltop Hoods
This is the unbelievable story track Pressure bought to The Hard Road.
2. Through The Dark – Hilltop Hoods
Another solo effort by Pressure, this time on their record Walking Under Stars.
Produced by One Above, this track is truly moving and one you would wish never had to be written.
A personal story of cancer and family which has become of one the best tracks the Hilltop Hoods have released over their iconic and prolific career.
1. Fifty in Five – Hilltop Hoods
The best Hilltop Hoods song ever released goes to a solo effort by Suffa with Fifty and Five on their album ‘State of the Art’.
The song is exactly what it says on the tin, a 50 year narrative impressively articulated over a 5 minute track.
The sheer volume of events and interpretation of human history recorded on this track is overwhelming and gripping. A true showcase of lyrical skill and art.
In Suffa’s personal account of the song he states;
The sample is from a song called 2010. The original track was written in 1960, it’s asked what the world will be like in 2010. This track is sort of like a response. I had the idea of writing a track that broke down the last fifty years in five minutes – 1960 to 2010. It’s got my brother [Nick Lambert] playing guitar and one of the guys from Lowrider [John Bartlett] playing piano. He also wrote the string arrangements. The lyrics took me more than three months to write.