On his latest album, hip hop artist Dstnce sends dispatches from a twisted and sinister Melbourne.
On the cover, we watch through a windshield as masked figures attack a school child, with books on the Illuminati and CIA manipulation tactics resting on the dash.
It’s setting the scene for the world that Dstcne guides us through with his music – a world inspired by the George Orwell classics 1984 and Animal Farm, where an authoritarian regime has taken over.
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Across the six tracks, Dstnce paints a picture of a paranoid, highly controlled society where every action you take is under the watchful eye of the government.
Above everything, the album is an impressive undertaking in storytelling. From the opening sample on What Have I To Lose? to the final bars on A Matter Of Time, the release is full of razor-sharp bars, eerie samples and unsettling imagery.
While the world of Notes From The Underground 2 is different from the one we’re living in now, Dstnce seems to warn that it’s not too far off, with references to real-world happenings like GMOs, MK Ultra, ASIO and rising surveillance are littered throughout.
The beats, dark and moody, provide the perfect accompaniment to Dstnce’s sharp, aggressive flow. Written over the winter of 2023, Notes From The Underground 2 was a joint venture between Dstnce and his best mate and long-time collaborator David Aurora.
“While we were working on these beats, David just kept saying to me ‘you should rap over these, I wanna hear you rap again’. It had been a couple of years since I’d written anything seriously at this point and I wasn’t really feeling it at all,” says Dstnce.
“Then one night after I went home from one of these sessions I had an idea. So I just started writing and after about 30 minutes I had the first song down. The idea turned into the song Somebody at the Door. It took about another four weeks to write the rest of the record. I was writing nearly every day. It was incredible.”
Meticulously crafted and chilling to the core, Notes From The Underground 2 leaves listeners not just with a handful of catchy tunes, but also with a warning: keep your eyes on powers that be so we don’t end up here one day.
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