Bias B (aka Adam Stevens) pioneered Aussie hip hop in the 1990s, but not even he predicted how widespread and popular it would become.
Adam released his first album, 'Beezwax', in 1998 – a time when Aussie hip hop was considered an underground movement. Hell, ARIA didn't add Best Urban Release to their annual awards ceremony until 2004.
“When my first album ‘Beezwax’ came out, I think it took three or four years to sell 500 copies which at the time was actually good numbers,” Adam recalls. “I remember other people having releases out and thinking they were going to have number one hits around that time, and I was saying to them, 'you're dreaming, it's not like that, it's [a] small [scene]'.”
Adam was under the belief local rap music would remain that way. That was, of course, until the Hilltop Hoods began receiving heavy rotation on Triple J for 'The Nosebleed Section'.
“Radio is a big part of it. We've always had community stations playing it down here, like PBS, Triple R and 2SER in Sydney, etcetera. But it came down to whoever was the person at Triple J who picked the music … and latched onto it, pumped it and it was something people wanted to hear – the sound they were waiting for.”
The mainstream appeal of the genre has also paved the way for Sprung Festival – an annual hip hop event which celebrates its sophomore year in 2012.
“Sprung do try and balance it out so they have the more commercial and the more established artists from the underground. I know they do try to make it nice and even so you get a diverse crowd at the gig.”
Bias B plays Sprung Festival at the RNA Showgrounds Saturday November 10.