A.B. Original's new single is an uncompromising endorsement of the Yes vote.
A.B. Original have released a new single, Yes, ahead of The Voice referendum next Saturday (14 October). The powerful track also features DJ Total Eclipse and Marlon.
An uncompromising endorsement of the Yes vote, Yorta Yorta man Briggs and Ngarrindjeri man Trials, as well as Tiwi Islander man Marlon Motlop and world-renowned turntablist DJ Total Eclipse, are on fire with lines like, “‘Bout time they listened to my people (YES) / Dutton wants to hit us with a sequel? (NO) / Does every Blackfulla love the Phantom? (YES) / Never give the same answer as Hanson (NO).” Their messaging is abundantly clear: anything less than a Yes vote “is signed with a death note”.
Elsewhere on Yes, A.B. Original address the No voters head-on, delivering the following bars: “They wanna know what the voice does? / It makes it hard for the parliament to avoid us / All it wanna do is give advice on my life / And if they terrified then you need to ask ‘em why.”
You can listen to Yes below. Yes arrives the night before this year’s Now & Forever concert at Shepparton Showgrounds, Yorta Yorta Woka. Boasting a stacked all-Australian line-up curated by Briggs, Now & Forever stars A.B. Original, Baker Boy, Barkaa, Emma Donovan, Hilltop Hoods, Jimmy Barnes, Mo’Ju and Paul Kelly, with comedian Sam Pang on hosting duties – a press release also notes to expect special guest appearances and collaborations on the day.
Discussing why A.B. Original are releasing Yes today, Briggs commented in a statement, “It’s important that we continue to work towards better outcomes for Blackfullas. With this referendum, we stand to make a gain towards those better outcomes. We won’t see the big effects of a YES vote the next day, but we’re going to see it five years down the track. The alternative to voting Yes just reinforces racism and puts us in a worse position than where we are now. It feels like the alternate to YES is extremely detrimental.
“I was inspired by Paul Kelly to put out his track. We can’t let PK be the only fella doing it. We’re A.B. Original. We’re the most important hip-hop outfit in the country when it comes to this. If we’re not leading the way on this stuff, who is? If we’re not standing up and setting the standard, who is?”
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He continued, “This is what we are supposed to do as hip-hop artists. If we didn’t do this, there’s a big piece missing. Hip-hop is all about voice and all about community rallying together. This is what Hip-hop is for. This is exactly what we’re meant to be doing.”
Trials added, “A track like Yes is important at this stage of the referendum timeline because an understandable distrust of the government and the millions of dollars slush-funded into outrage algorithms has led to a large part of Australia that you can usually count on in progressive matters still being apathetic to this issue. Eighty per cent of Indigenous people are on record supporting it. Australia still saying, ‘No’, is the very definition of why our voice must be heard.
“When the Yes / No pamphlet arrived in my family’s letterbox, it was more than a voting guide; for me, it was an attack on my children's innocence. Explaining to a 7-years old whose only care in the world is Pokémon that the entire country is currently having a conversation about you and whether or not you're allowed to be involved in conversations in the future is a claustrophobia I wish no parent ever again has to feel. I wanted to answer the No campaign’s attempt at making us feel ashamed of promoting the truth and ask them why are we, as the lucky, ‘fair go’ country, so keen to set the bar on equity so low?
“A No vote sends the message that who we are as First Nations peoples and what we want never did and still doesn’t matter. A No vote is the country agreeing to treat Aboriginal people speaking on behalf of ourselves for ourselves as an annoyance. It gives the country permission to move further away from the appreciation we deserve and headfirst into angst. The No pamphlet points to ’not being able to shut it up’ once established. Well, they are saying the quiet part out loud because the cruelty is and always has been the point. A Yes result is important because up until now, all we have known is, ‘No’.”