ONEFOUR goes global with A$AP Ferg-featuring ‘Say it Again’
Drill music globally is on another level and its incredible to see an Australian act at the forefront of the movement. The genre of ‘drill’ is known to reflect the poverty-stricken lifestyles of the disenfranchised and the brutally honest behavioural consequences within these communities. Starting in Chicago with contemporary rap pioneer Chief Keef, then being picked up by Kanye West, the genre in recent years has been adopted worldwide. Globally, the chopped trap beats of the drill movement have since hit the UK, as well as the underground New York sound led by the late Pop Smoke.
Looking closer to home, there is one name that is synonymous with the local movement at the forefront in Australia: proud Mount Druitt rap group ONEFOUR. You’d be living under a rock if you haven’t felt their impact on the Australian music scene at large, with 2019 being one of the most exciting breakout years for an Australian artist for decades. The group has become a phenomenon of its own, even without much industry support, though this is starting to change. Facing a whole range of controversy including issues with touring and police cancelling and shutting down shows across the country, as well as troubles with the legal system including some members being behind bars at different times in the group’s ascent, ONEFOUR has continued to rise as a force to be reckoned with. Now, in 2020, they’ve changed the game again as they’ve reached a new peak with their new single, ‘Say It Again’, recruiting none other than Harlem rap innovator and mogul, A$AP Ferg for a feature.
It’s no surprise to see a member of the A$AP MOB showing love to a bubbling rap culture with a trajectory of going global. The group is known to innovate and break common trends in the hip hop sphere in their own right. From their love for high fashion and art, frequent co-signs of younger artists and pure love for innovation and ideas, their ear-to-the-ground approach to making rap music has no boundaries. In saying that though, its nevertheless still astonishing to see one of hip hop’s most commercially successful in a car park in Sydney’s West.
‘Say it Again’ is fundamental ONEFOUR listening. A gritty drum pattern rumbles below a minimal melody line which is indeed a classic trope in this genre of music, but its this that gives plenty of space for top lines to flourish. J Emz is at his best: his flow is in your face, to the point and doesn’t ever miss even with his quick switch ups. From rapping close to the mic to an infectious hook, he delivers on all fronts while standout member Spenny closes the track in style. A fast flow with unique cadence is signature Spenny and no surprise here, it’s killer. In the middle, Ferg holds his own. Clever wordplay makes for a brilliant verse, and with everything from references to rap legends Mobb Deep and 2pac as well as a name check of Sydney institution and home of hip hop in the city, Butter, its clear Ferg brought his best for this one.
If there was ever a question of if or when ONEFOUR will be on the global map, ’Say it Again’ puts this to rest. ONEFOUR are more than just strong numbers: there’s substance, global attention and a significant amount of buzz around a group of young men from Western Sydney simply telling their truth. It’s a movement everyone should be getting around, and with one of the biggest names in the game doing exactly that, its clear this is their moment.
Image via Jared Leibowitz
Words by Parry Tritsiniotis