ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kota, Ruby Jackson, Ranges RC & AR the Eternal
The Australian hip-hop scene is going from strength to strength each and every week, with artists from right around the country showcasing their immense artistic flair and authenticity on every new release. On this week’s ‘Artist Spotlight’ we’re looking at four varied acts hailing from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney respectively. Perth artist Kota is showcasing the full potential that comes with embracing the full extent of his versatility, whilst Sydney artist Ruby Jackson is offering a calm and dreamy approach to neo-soul and R&B in Australia. Heading down south from there, Melbourne duo Ranges RC are presenting themselves as a force to be reckoned through their lyrically-charged, alternative approach to hip-hop in Australia. Finally, West Sydney’s AR the Eternal is a youngster who possesses a booming cadence and heart-on-his-sleeve energy that is enough to turn the head of any rap aficionado.
Doubling as an underdog gradually taking over the Australian hip-hop scene, and a rapper who always delivers a succinct flow with captivating cadence, Kota is a name that’ll undeniably fill households sooner or later. Emerging from Perth’s buzzing hip-hop dome, Kota has cemented himself as a fearless figure through his latest EP ‘Choices’ which showcases his ceaseless versatility. Whether it’s a drill fusion, EDM tack or a smooth and mellow hip-hop beat, the rapper’s capability at finessing several genres proves that he is oozing with talent. The rapper’s lyrical flair is one to not look past, and what gravitates me towards this bustling artist is his witty similes paired with iconic Australian references. From his singles ‘Winfield Blue’, ‘Aussie Raver’, ‘Perth Vibe’, to ‘Gunnpod Groove(’s)’ catchy bar “Aussie Aussie boy Fam Ties like Chillinit”, you can only admire and appreciate his persistence at staying authentic to his roots whilst simultaneously crafting ingenious bars. Even if Kota’s not on your radar, you’ll know exactly who he is in just a matter of time.
With three releases under her name so far, Sydney-based artist and producer Ruby Jackson has consistently impressed with every mystifying and silky neo-soul and R&B crossover she gives to the world. The enormously talented Ruby has steadily evolved and showcased her luscious vocals, tranquil melodies and thoughtful lyrics with each track released over these past few years, with her carefree and down-to-earth approach to life built into every song and offering a comforting warmth that allows the listener to resonate abundantly with her words. Ruby’s 2020 single ‘Simplicities’ is characterised by an affable and playful charm that she embraces to usher the listener into her world. On the song, Ruby conveys her desire to share her love for the little things brought by each new day with a significant other who is too swept up in their own day-to-day – “Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, I know you’re running uptown New York City” – with a delightful saxophone providing an added magic to the track. Following the release of the honest and chilled-out ‘My Friends’ in 2021, Ruby returned recently with ‘Get Around to It’, a single which allows Ruby to showcase the conflict between her laidback instincts and the expectations others put onto her. Keep an eye on the switch-up midway. Pure bliss.
What immediately separates Ranges RC from others is the way they have completely embraced what makes them original and incomparable as artists and people. The duo, consisting of rappers Crosley and Sad Sob, stay true to themselves wholeheartedly on every record, packing each track with football references and odes to Burn City (AKA Melbourne) aplenty. Their grainy, counter-culture aesthetic is driven home by Sad Sob’s guttural, hoarse style which balances perfectly with Crosley’s precise lyrical brevity. It’s a winning combination if I’ve ever seen one. Having debuted with an album in 2021 entitled ‘FIGO’, Ranges RC have levelled up in 2022 with the release of their collaborative project alongside fellow Melbourne rapper 01.Ekka entitled ‘IN OUR ARMS’. The EP is pervaded by a gloomy, cold energy that is amplified by the head-rattling and superb production that accentuates the exceptional lyricism demonstrated by the three rappers. Where ‘FIGO’ showcased the duo’s introspection in breaking down their individual life paths up until that point, ‘IN OURS ARMS’ is a testament to their ambitions to evolve their sound and elevate their production and lyrical wordplay. One thing’s for sure, these football-loving, deep-thinkers are exactly what the Australian scene needs.
AR the Eternal
Notable for his boundless talent and tendency to give nothing but his undivided energy to the microphone, West Sydney’s AR the Eternal is an artist remaining steadfast in his inventiveness and lyrical nous. Steering away from the hip-hop trends of Western Sydney, Eternal has carved out his own lane that draws from the classics but with a new age mindset. Truthfully, all eyes need to be on this up-and-comer who has the potential to rattle Australian hip-hop from the ground up. From his debut single ‘Pave the Way’ which instantly let listeners know that Eternal is on a path of his own making, to now coming together with the unmatched production brain of Colourd Noyz for an EP entitled ‘Eternal Noyz’, this youngster effortlessly displays his adaptability, knack for lyricism and catchy refrains throughout all of his work. With every word spoken from the heart, Eternal is blessed with the rare skill of being able to captivate his audience regardless of the beat or instrumental, and ‘Eternal Noyz’ represents this in full. From the Spanish guitar of ‘Wolves’, to the cruisy instrumentation of ‘Remy’, and even to the bravado of ‘Trashboat’s Revenge’, Eternal takes it all on with ease. Having recently taken out the top spot in Butter’s Rhyme2Rhyme challenge, we recommend becoming acquainted with this raw talent whose artistic ceiling is limitless.
Photos by @meegz22 / @mjmusicalmoments (Ruby Jackson Photo 1 / 2), @fresh_captures (Ranges RC Photo 1), @stevieeguz / @cutcordcreative (AR the Eternal Photo 1 / 2)
Words by Violet Murphy & Matthew Badrov