3 Years on and Hooligan Hefs is still ‘Doing Eetswa’: Here’s how he did it
Without a doubt, Hooligan Hefs has continually proven to be a pioneer behind an authentic sound that encompasses both the popular Australian house, techno and hardstyle and local hip-hop scenes. With his energetic sound originally being perceived as a brief sonic trend, Hefs has gone on to takeover the Australian music scene from his official debut in 2019 - an era typified by viral dances to ‘F.A.M.E’ and vortexes paired with his infamous 2020 track ‘Send It’ - and has well surpassed the ‘trending’ mark. Along the way, Hefs has disproved doubters and successfully reignited the connection between EDM and rap that Kerser navigated over a decade ago with the anthemic ‘Don’t F**k with Kerser’. Hefs has moved forward with a distinct energy that has allowed him to lead Australia’s very own independent hip-hop sound, and having just released his catchy single ‘Handle It’, it’s safe to say that the 2767 rapper is here to stay.
An undoubted risk-taker in the Australian scene, the Doonside artist’s ability to make music that’s authentic to himself and his roots whilst introducing a mix of EDM elements was a welcome reprieve for Australian audiences craving something fresh. Moreover, because of his distinctive Western Sydney twang, Hooligan Hefs has successfully made a career fueled by artist genuinity and integrity.
Despite his niche sound being particularly appealing and relatable to an Australian audience as a result of the frequent use of Pig Latin (popularised as lingo in Sydney’s Inner West and Western suburbs) on ‘Tell Em I’m Doing Eetswa’, as well as references to his area on ‘Make Money Not Friends’ (“We as real as it gets, ‘67 ‘till the death”), Hefs has also been able to tune his traction to an international audience that has expanded to both New Zealand and the UK.
When the Samoan-Chinese rapper rose to fame in 2019 so did Australian Drill, leading to numerous acts from Sydney’s West exploding onto the radar. Growing to fame alongside childhood friend Hooligan Skinny, Hefs has always been team orientated and continues to ambition seeing his lads win beside him.
"All of the area is getting behind us, Western Sydney. This music is slowly starting to pop off in Australia.” Hefs told Filterzine in 2019.
With a work ethic like Hefs, it’s no wonder he can’t escape the limelight. His tracks continue to do numbers, as he has persistently released new singles and features almost every 4 months since the start of 2019, leaving fans absorbed in the unstoppable Hefs rollercoaster. In addition, throughout 2020 and 2021 whilst the entire world was in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns, Hefs pushed through a difficult time of creativity for many artists and used it to his advantage, creating tracks with COVID-19 references to uphold the momentum of his growth.
“Yeah It’s Corona season but we still party like it’s the weekend”
By collaborating with fellow Australian acts Masi Rooc, Youngn Lipz, Day 1, Hooks and Open Till L8, Hefs has also hubbed a community of previous up-and-comers that have risen up together and ultimately strengthened the entire Australian hip-hop scene. In a genre where the disputes have arguably held up an entire music scene's potential, these collaborations have accelerated the scene to move faster and expand to a greater echelon than it could ever have expected.
Since releasing his own ‘Paper Route’ merchandise in 2020, you’ll be able to spot Hefs’ signature tees from a mile away with his catchy lyricism embedded on the back - “Make Money Not Friends”/“I don’t wanna make friends, I just wanna make M$”. These tees can be seen worn by the rapper’s supporters at the numerous festivals and live shows that he has performed at over the last couple years or by local and international fans that just love to ‘Send It’ to the bangers that the Doonside artist creates.
From freestyle rapping and gabbering with his lads at car parks, to playing an integral role in pushing the Australian hip-hop and EDM scene to where it is today, Hooligan Hefs is a name that will forever be associated with ignoring the guidelines of traditional music as a leader of a fresh and eccentric Australian sound.
Photo 2 by @_capturedbyash, Photo 3 by @blindsidehein
Words by Violet Murphy & Matthew Badrov