Hoodzy comes to Section 8: ‘Without community, we have nothing’

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Hoodzy comes to Section 8: ‘Without community, we have nothing’

Words by David James Young

Let's take it back to August 11, 1973…

At a street party in The Bronx, deep in the boroughs of New York City, it’s told that hip-hop as we know it – the living, breathing, shape-shifting cultural phenomenon – was born, on a date now recognised as World Hip-Hop Day. As such, 2023 marks a half-century of the genre, evolving from its humble beginnings in the streets and parks of working-class America to a global sensation. This month sees several commemorative events taking place to celebrate its 50th anniversary – including right here in Melbourne, where Section 8 will come alive on August 12 (which is technically still World Hip-Hop Day in the US) with an all-day gig boasting elite MCs, DJs, B-boys and live graffiti.

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One such act joining in on the festivities is Hoodzy, the early-20s wunderkind MC who began rapping in her teens and has since cemented herself as one of the scene’s next true breakout stars. For her, hip-hop was a family affair, and she was integrated young. “Growing up, I was constantly around my younger brothers and my uncles,” she explains. “Tupac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube… their tracks were bumping constantly. I fell in love with hip-hop instantly.”

Just a couple of years into rapping, Hoodzy was discovered by Hau Latukefu – the ARIA-winning frontman of Koolism and long-serving host of triple j’s hip-hop show. Not only did he bring the teen rapper onto the program as one of the first participants in the Bars of Steel segment, he would later sign her to his Sony imprint Forever Ever – where she has remained ever since. “Hau has played a massive role in my musical journey,” she says. 

“The key things I’ve learnt from him are to have my own voice and to take up space – especially being a woman in a male-dominated industry. It was super scary at first, but I always knew I had him in my corner.” When asked if she’s turned any pages on Latukefu’s recently-released memoir King, Hoodzy confesses that it’s still on her to-do list. “I haven’t gotten to his book yet,” she says, “but I did swear to him that it’d be the first book I actually finish.”

After a string of singles, including the banging Hardcase and the melodic detour of This Feeling, Hoodzy entered a period of creative exile. Back in June, she confessed to her Instagram followers that she hadn’t completed a new song in six months. “Being creative all the time is hard,” she wrote. “[I’ve been] figuring out my feelings and whatnot.” For many artists, achieving this level of vulnerability – particularly when posting publicly to an audience of thousands – but for Hoodzy, it’s second nature.

“I believe being honest with your audience is the best thing you can do,” she says. “Not only does it give them a background perspective of your craft, but also allows them to be a part of your journey.” She also confirms that she’s finished at least one song since that post, which she’s hoping to have out in the world sooner rather than later. “I’ve definitely been playing around with new sounds and different vibes to what I’ve recently shown,” she says when queried on her next musical step. “That’s why I’m so keen for this next single coming soon – new sound, new vibe.”

It’s likely that her appearance at Section 8 will be one of the first opportunities fans will get to hear new material from Hoodzy, where she will be joined by fellow upstart Bilalli and veterans like ex-REMI producer Sensible J and N’Fa Jones of 1200 Techniques – the group responsible for the first major homegrown hip-hop hit in 2002’s ‘Karma’. With live graffiti, an invite-only Biggie Smalls beat battle judged by some of Melbourne’s most renowned beatmakers and a curated menu from the world-famous Brooklyn Brewery to boot, the event is gearing up to be one for the ages. “I’ve never performed at Section 8 before, but it was one of the first bars I visited when I came to Melbourne for the first time,” says Hoodzy. “Teen me had the time of her life! I’m super keen to tick this spot off the list. Without community, we have nothing.” 

World Hip Hop Day: Celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop! is happening at Section 8 in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery this Saturday August 12 from 3pm. For all the information, head here.

This article was made in partnership with Section 8.