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r.emedy, Tumi the Be and Dilly Dave take centre stage and shine at Mortal Cadence

Last Saturday night Melbourne-based creative collective and community Vibe Union hosted their second edition of ‘Mortal Cadence’, a live event series aiming to showcase Melbourne's bustling hip-hop scene. Their first edition of ‘Mortal Cadence’ saw Yambra, Ray Pelka, Hana Rose and Rhath take centre stage to highlight the diverse talent here in Melbourne. And this time at Northcote's 303 Bar we were blessed with the presence of Tumi the Be (accompanied by a live band), r.em.edy and Dilly Dave. The night concluded with an open mic cypher spot that further cemented the fact that there is impressive talent located everywhere throughout Burn City.

Vibe Union are a Melbourne-based creative collective who host live recordings, poetry open mic nights and their own podcast series. The collective are ardent supporters of the local music scene, and are dedicated to showcasing the abundance of talent Melbourne has to offer.

First to grace the stage was Dilly Dave (aka The Milky Bar Kid) whose performance was filled with confidence and charisma aplenty as he undoubtedly entered his element. Collaborating with fellow Melbourne rappers Rhath and Sixpence on his latest EP entitled ‘The Milky Bar Kid’, Dilly Dave performed multiple tracks including ‘Milky Bar Kid’ and ‘Too Late Man’. The swaggy rapper ceased the night by participating in the freestyle cypher alongside Tumi the Be. Referred to as “an OG and core member of Vibe Union”, this Melbourne rapper can be found expressing himself through poetry at spoken word gigs, hosting conversations on the Vibe Union Podcast series and filming and directing live performances from behind the scenes.

Listen to ‘The Milky Bar Kid’ EP here.

Next up, Melbourne producer, rapper and vocalist r.em.edy instantly enticed the audience with her immaculate vocal range and captivating stage presence. Attendees were treated to her performance of ‘Love Drunk’ - released just 2 days prior to Mortal Cadence - the first song written by r.em.edy's alter ego ‘Nikki’.

“In the past couple years I’ve realised that there’s 2 sides to me and like a higher self that I really wanted to become, and that was Nikki. Red is her colour and that’s why I dyed my hair to kind of become her,” she said post-show.

Having been producing since 2019 with her singles ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Pick Up the Phone’, r.em.edy’s inspiration for the production on ‘Love Drunk’ sparked from just an iZotope plug in voice effect which she explained “the entire song worked around.”

“But (producing) is super fun. I think I have to do producing when I’m not thinking about it because, I think it gets really overwhelming being a perfectionist, singer-wise and producing, but the happy accidents, I love it.”

Although the R&B singer’s passion and drive was evidently clear when speaking to her, she informed me that it hasn’t always been easy.

“All this year it was very much ‘identity crisis’ with not knowing if I could ever sing again, what I was going to do with my life, and that really made me look inward so I'll be working on my EP when I have time and my first gig back will hopefully be with my band from my first headline gig.

“Singing is always what I’ve wanted to do so when I can do it well, it’s like the inner child in me is so happy and I feel like I’m invincible.”

Whilst the singer will be taking a short break from performing live, she’s looking forward to releasing a bunch of singles in the near future that take a different route from the dark and melodic R&B we’re used to hearing, and to officially welcoming Nikki to the stage.

Stream ‘Love Drunk’ here.

Tumi the Be’s lyricism and wordplay is truly phenomenal and watching him do what he does best is just jaw-dropping. The Motswana rapper released his debut album entitled ‘Tumi the Be’ in April this year and it’s fueled by authenticity and insightful perspectives on the way the world operates.

Tumi wrote the album in 2019, pre-COVID times and continuously kept writing and working on fresh ideas to add to the tracklist. He highlighted that his personal favourite tracks from the album were ‘Woop Woop’ and ‘Zwagala’.

“I actually wouldn’t have put (‘Zwagala’) on the album if I were going straight ‘do I think this is a good song for people to listen to’. But, that one I put on the album for me. I’m speaking about my home and there’s no translation and I don’t give a fuck if anyone likes it or not,” he explained.

“I wrote it as a poem, I was doing a Gala dinner for the Association of Motswana in Victoria - so a bunch of people who are where I’m from living in Victoria - and I was doing a speech and I threw that poem in there. Then one day I was in the studio and one of my homies played me a beat, and I was like let’s use that. Took like a day in total because it was a couple minutes to write it, one take on the mic and then boom.”

Growing up Tumi was only 2-years-old when his mum started fueling his brain with books to read, trying to understand what the little lines on the page meant. And from that age, Tumi began to read everything, everywhere he’d go, consistently learning words in both English and his mother tongue.

However, getting into rap and hip-hop was a completely different scenario. After finding Xzibit’s ‘Restless’ CD album in the store he had to near-beg his mother to buy it for him as he covered the MA15+ parental advisory sticker with his thumb. Luckily for all of us Tumi the Be fans, he got to take the CD home and this was where he first discovered what hip-hop was.

Now he looks up to rap icons like André 3000 and Kendrick Lamar.

“When I studied rap more, listened more and thought who do I really fuck with, I love André 3000. He’s such an iconic artist, he’s so lyrical and well thought out… I think that André 3000 is the best rapper of all time.”

Like André, Tumi wants to live out his music career until he feels that his soul is satisfied with the quality and quantity of content he’s produced.

“I’d limit the time that I commercially make music because I do this shit for my soul, I do this shit for me. It's my catharsis, and I don't want to give more than I need to. I wanna give back to the way rap music got me through and then I'm done.”

Tumi the Be is hoping to sit down with the band, Anthony Murray, Mat Robb, Nadav Rayman Trio and Jesse Chin-Quan at some stage to record a project of some sort. Keep an eye open for the 22nd of July, I believe Tumi’s has a little single in store for us.

Listen to more Tumi the Be here.

Huge shout out to Dilly Dave, r.em.edy and Tumi the Be for their killer performances. And sending massive thanks to the team over at Vibe Union for not only hosting ‘Mortal Cadence’ but for continuously showing love to Melbourne’s burgeoning hip-hop and R&B scene and giving these local artists a platform to shine from.

To stay updated with all of Vibe Unions upcoming shows Viti their website!

Words & Photos by Violet Murphy

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