Goodna-Proud & Pioneering a whole new take on Australian hip-hop: Lisi from the 4300
Determined to leave a legacy for his Brisbane youngers, Lisi is letting his own authenticity take the reins. Through fearlessly pursuing his own unique sound in a scene that was previously limited in representation, lyricism and tone, the Goodna rapper has been a pivotal influence on the Australian hip-hop scene. From numerous collaborations, international tours to forming his own record label, to T-Pain reacting to his hit-single ‘Dreams’, if your eyes aren’t already on the 21-year-old - where are you looking?
From humble beginnings Lisi was first caught posting up freestyles to Instagram and YouTube, saving up his own money to book in a studio session. Laying his vocals on top of a track without any mixing or mastering, Lisi released ‘Say Less’ at just 19-years-old. And after this track, Lisi has ironically been saying more ever since. Currently the track is sitting at 11 million streams on Spotify and he’s since released his debut EP ‘Average Man’ (2019) and Album ‘Perspective’ (2021) as well as various singles and features. Although his rise to fame took shape at a rapid pace, Lisi’s discography is pure evidence that he will not stop until he’s satisfied.
In addition, Lisi has no hesitation in representing his roots. Meet the Th4 W3st, a Goodna-based hip-hop collective consisting of Snoopy, JR, Vikz and Lisi himself. With their hit tracks ‘Good Dayz’ and ‘Earning’ the group have paved a positive pathway for the future generations in their area and the group aim to be role models for up-and-coming creatives. Th4 W3st is more than a rap group, it’s a brotherhood striving to stamp their name in the Australian scene.
“Imagine life in the switch, livin' as an island kid
Watchin' brothers becoming victims to the environment
Trouble all around us but no one could ever silence it
You wonder how the fuck we could never be sick or tired of it?
This is where we live, it’s all we've ever known
So you know my brothers always gotta represent home”
- Lisi, ‘Concrete Jungle’.
Lisi’s ‘Castille Records’ is now in partnership with Warner Music Australia, having originally established the label to ensure independent freedom. The financial backing and support of a record label has allowed the rapper to continuously facilitate opportunities for young musicians in the game, and as a result has led to creating a tight-knit community within Australia where Polynesians can be represented and involved.
“We have opened a door for all the hidden talent within the streets of our city to reach for an opportunity that can change their lives and better their communities. Castille Records is here to not just help ourselves, but to help our people as well,” Lisi told RedBull.
Signed to the label so far are Nokz78, Th4 W3st and Lisi himself.
If Lisi’s talents haven’t quite impressed you yet, you haven’t watched his absolutely game-changing performance where he opted to come together with a 25-piece Symphony Orchestra at The Princess Theatre in Brisbane. A night fueled with in-depth storytelling, and intimate communication between generational audiences, Lisi bridged a gap between new-school and old-school music to allow a space for people from different walks of life who wouldn't typically have Lisi on rotation, a chance for them to understand not only Lisi’s story but also Australia’s hip-hop background.
Touring with Chillinit for his 2021 ‘The Octagon Tour’ the two traveled across Australia spitting their shit, growing their audiences and having some of the best interactions with their fans. After collaborating on ‘Stand For’ in 2020 and ‘Run Up The Ball’ from Chillinit’s ‘Family Ties’ Album released in November 2021, they’ve showcased the diversity that is Australian rap and the power and vitality of collaboration. Lisi since has toured New Zealand with Th4 W3st, selling out shows internationally and has had various solo shows and festival appearances. The grind since ‘Say Less’ has genuinely not stopped for the Brisbane-based artist.
Initially having dreams of becoming a NRL star, the proud South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter highlighted in an interview with The Coconet TV that he found rapping to be just another avenue where he could express his passion for music and poetry. Looking up to old-school Icons like Biggie Smalls and taking inspiration from international influences from J.Cole and Joey Bada$$, his distinct vocals and flow can be spotted from a mile away. Showcasing his witty back-and-forth similes and metaphors within his lyricism, Lisi is continuously honing his craft to make timeless tracks.
The Samoan rapper has stayed true to himself throughout his entire music career - no facade, no fitting in with the majority of Australian rap. Lisi represents himself, his area and his culture, and at such a young age he’s found his identity and has cemented his purpose. From New Zealand, to Sydney, to Brisbane, with his unrestrained hustle and desire for a greater life it is inevitable that this rapper will take control of the international stage any day now.
Photo 3 by @blacklistedvisions
Words by Violet Murphy