RECAP: WAEVZ Top 50 2021
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
We’re delighted to announce that our inaugural edition of the WAEVZ Top 50 came to an exciting end on Saturday with Western Sydney artist and producer Zion Garcia taking top spot with his track ‘We Need Love’.
Coming out in late November, ‘We Need Love’ was Zion’s second official single of the year following March release ‘DOSH’. The song is packed with Zion’s reflections on self-love and a past relationship, and is a timely reminder of the significance of love in a time where we are all so fragile and divided.
The multilayered track is an exemplary combination of Zion’s greatest attributes as an artist and producer; namely his ear for well-balanced production, precise and intricate sampling, reassuring vocals, and lyrical honesty.
This first edition of the WAEVZ Top 50 featured acts from all over the country, with the final 50 including artists from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and a range of cities around Australia.
The WAEVZ Top 50 countdown also saw support come from viewers all across the country. Thank you to every one who tuned into the livestream, and thank you to everyone who supported the WAEVZ Top 50 itself. The full livestream replay can be watched HERE.
We wanted the WAEVZ Top 50 to be a celebration of what was a landmark year for the Australian hip-hop, R&B and soul scene in 2021. The combination of massive projects, collaborations and releases demonstrated the immense talent in this scene throughout the year and we knew it deserved a greater spotlight.
THE FULL RECAP
The countdown kicked off with Western Sydney artist Vandzy’s heartfelt collaboration with LDP68 and Rayza, ‘You’, coming in at #50. Following that, Mornington Peninsula-based artist boler mani took the #49 spot with his absolute head-thumper ‘unsatiated’.
The heat continued from there with Tasman Keith and Kwame’s blistering back-and-forth on ‘ONE’ landing at #48. After that, Melbourne’s Agung Mango brought the laidback energy on ‘120fps’, whilst international star The Kid LAROI needed you to ‘Stay’ at #46, and Perth artists 88YAMI and Yourboymars repped their hometown on ‘My City’.
Sydney artists took the next few spots, with Soma arriving at #44 with her sensual neo-soul debut tune ‘Trust’, Sahxl bringing the energy on ‘DEMONS’, Kase Avila and Jade Kenji bridging the old and the new on ‘Teardrops', and Liyah Knight collaborating with Brisbane’s Nerve for an anthemic dedication to self-worth on ‘Cheers’.
The next 5 spots saw a back-and-forth between Brisbane and Western Sydney occur, with Ill P’s heater ‘All About Me’ and Mistah Mez’s unapologetic ‘YKTV’ being separated by sunshine state artist J Nui’s track ‘Hope’. Fellow Brisbane artist Pachinko took out the #40 and #19 spots with ‘Primal’ and ‘Laneway Girl’, whilst Western Sydney’s Billymaree had listeners lost in her vocals with #36’s ‘On Top’.
Stoyan’s infectious collaboration with VIIN and WEST. ‘White Linen’ sat in the #35 spot, with South-West artist Hamza arriving at #34 through his lyrically imposing single ‘Dunhills’. Melbourne soul singer Ellen Bryant calmed listeners with ‘Unravel’, Adelaide’s Grco dismissed the trivial side of a former significant other on ‘Petty’, and Sydney’s Haychi landed at #31 with the experimental ‘More’.
The #30 song brought with it Newcastle’s Mason Dane, who proceeded to shift the gears on ‘DASH’. It seemed Western Sydney’s Dxvndre and Melbourne’s Srirachi got the message as they then proceeded to light up the countdown with ‘Warlord’ and ‘Archimedes’ respectively.
South-East Melbourne artist Jaal landed at #27 with his playful and honest track ‘Fiji’, and was followed by Western Sydney’s Mitchos Da Menace and Sydney’s Yung Ta at #26 and #25 with ‘DEMONS’ and ‘DANCEFLOOR’.
Brisbane producer DHEM took the #24 spot with a global collaboration entitled ‘Heaven’ that featured Skenzo (Western Sydney), Stunna (UK), Miggz (Toronto) and Diggy Dupé (Auckland) each doing their thing.
The #23 to #21 spots were taken up by Perth artist Mali Jo$e’s boundary-pushing banger ‘Portals’, Huskii’s immediately impressive ‘Ruin My Life’, and Rhiannon Renea’s self-empowerment anthem ‘Queen’. Brisbane’s Nerve then returned to the WAEVZ Top 50 at the #20 spot alongside frequent collaborator JK-47 for ‘ONE IN A MILLION’.
#18 belonged to artist and producer Chelsea Warner’s bop ‘Not In The Mood’, whilst Adelaide’s Stefan Rossi and Melbourne’s Rydah each brought their own signature flavour to the #17 ('BAPTIST') and #16 ('No Friends') spots.
The #15 and #14 entries mellowed things out with Melbourne artists CD and PANIA blessing listeners with their entrancing vocals on ‘Catcha Grip’, and All Black Alby arriving with the smooth-as-ever ‘It Aint Right’.
Christos notched his first placement with ‘Surrounded’ at #13, before going on to seal the #3 spot with ‘Unforgettable’. Melbourne’s Somber Hills amped up the emotional factor of the countdown with the heartbreaking ‘Don’t Need’, whilst Sydney’s Jazzy K refuses to listen to the wolves in sheep’s clothing on ‘Trap House’.
Malyangapa and Barkindji artist Barkaa made the #9 spot her own with the Latin-infused, dance-inducing ‘King Brown’. Adelaide’s Natasha Bianca landed at #8 with her incredible debut ‘Girl Like Me’, with A.GIRL and Jaecy’s proud dedication to living out West, ‘We Them Boyz’, taking the #7 spot.
Yasmina Sadiki’s raw debut ‘June’ slotted into the #6 spot, followed by Zia Paola’s cheerful and vibey ‘Fuchsia’ arriving afterwards at #5. Western Sydney's ONEFOUR smashed their way into the top 5 with ‘Street Guide (Part 01)’ at #4, as young Sydney artist lil Tr33zy arrived in the #2 and #10 spots with ‘Sanity’ and ‘Let Me Down’.
And finally, as voted for by the people, Western Sydney’s Zion Garcia took out the #1 spot with the impressive 'We Need Love’.
2021 was without a doubt an impressive year for Australian hip-hop, R&B and soul music. And based on the quality output across the last year, we know 2022 has something even greater in store for us all.
Check out the full WAEVZ Top 50 playlist below!
Words by Matthew Badrov