Old Favourites: The Herd – “77%”

“Can’t understand, how the very word Australian has just been damned…”

A very special celebration from over the weekend in regards to Australian hip-hop – it’s the ten-year anniversary of The Herd‘s seminal LP, An Elefant Never Forgets. A drastic amount has indeed changed in the years since this album’s release – for Australia as a nation, for the Herd as a group and for myself as a listener. Australia has long since gotten rid of John Howard and – at least slightly – grown to have a greater understanding and empathy of the horrible ways that refugees and asylum seekers have bee treated over the years. Once a hungry collective of up-and-comers, The Herd are now an Aussie hip-hop institution, selling out tours and running one of the most notable indie labels in the country in Elefant Traks.

As for me? This was my gateway into Australian hip-hop – yep, this was pre-Nosebleed Section for me, so it was a steadfast and forthright display of what kind of hip-hop was happening in my own backyard. Nowadays, I’m fully immersed in Australian hip-hop – I’ve seen great artists come and go (Phrase1200 Techniques), not to mention some terrible ones (anyone remember Figgkidd? No?). It’s a community of artists and ideas that I appreciate so goddamn much. And it all begins here: An animated clip in which Little Johnny wakes up one day and gets to find out exactly what it’s like when horrible things happen to him. This actually managed to tie in with my first major interests in politics, as well – with Bush, Howard and Blair all in office, what a time to fucking hate world government, huh? I’m really glad I got to sit down and watch 77% again – it reminds me that Australian hip-hop lives, it reminds me that there is still a world of injustice out there and it drives me to maintain the rage on both accounts.

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