Rapper Ozi Batla has long been known for speaking out on social issues. His band The Herd are well known for tracks such as “77%” ― which features the line “77% of Aussies are racist”, in response to an opinion poll result on the treatment of refugees during the Howard years.
The Herd's “Burn Down the Parliament” caused controversy when it was coincidentally released the same week as the 2003 Canberra bush fires.
In 2009, The Herd pulled out of a festival after discovering it was the “brainchild” of Andrew Garratt, the community relations officer at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal. The band refused to play a coal industry gig.
Ozi Batla's debut solo album Wild Colonial, released last year, addressed the struggles faced by Australian battlers, black and white.
On June 30 in Sydney and July 7 in Melbourne, he headlines the “Three Things Hip Hop Approach”, an event that gets Australian hip hop acts talking about their opinions and solutions to global poverty and injustice.
Artists including The Last Kinection, Dialectrix and Thundamentals will jam on the three things they can do to help change the world for the better.
Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward asks Ozi Batla to give three answers to three different questions.
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1. Tell us three things you recommend doing to help change the world for the better.
1. Educate yourself ― if you don't know what you're talking about, don't make a fool of yourself.
2. Find what your passion is and follow it.
3. Put yourself in someone else's shoes.
2. Tell us your three favourite new releases for conscious listening and why you chose them.
1. Pharaoh Monch, War ― He's stayed hardcore and works his very clear message into the format.
2. Gil Scott-Heron (RIP), I'm New Here ― A true innovator and one of the most important artists of our time. He will be sorely missed.
3. The Herd, untitled new album ― Because no one else is doing it in Australia like we are!
3. Tell us your three favourite media outlets and why.
1. The ABC ― Apart from a tendency to “balance” news with conservative points of view, across all formats its still the most balanced news service in the country.
2. The British Guardian ― Fantastic breadth of subject matter and some of the best writers in the world.
3. The Australian Financial Review ― Well written, comprehensive, and it's good to know your enemy.
[Three Things' Hip Hop Approach: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, Thursday June 30, doors open 8pm, $5 on the door; Prince Bandroom, St Kilda, Thursday July 7, doors open at 8pm, $5 on the door.]
'Put it on Wax', the lead single from Oz Batla's album Wild Colonial.