ON FRIDAY, SHADOW IS DROPPING AN EP & STARTING THE BIGGEST TOUR OF HIS CAREER

ON FRIDAY, SHADOW IS DROPPING AN EP & STARTING THE BIGGEST TOUR OF HIS CAREER

Words by Christopher Kevin Au / Photography by Chris Loutfy

See Shadow & Hilltop Hoods’ dates here / Pre-Order the ‘Cream’ EP here

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Perth emcee Shadow is having a big week, to say the very least. This Friday, he’ll be dropping his long-awaited CREAM EP, but he won’t be at home celebrating with party pies; instead, the South African/Australian artist will be kicking off the biggest tour of his career so far.

Touring has become a staple part of Shadow’s life as of late; whether he’s playing intimate club shows in his hometown, or festival appearances at Origin Fields and Falls. Shadow has also just stepped off The Apocalypse Tour where he performed alongside some of Australia’s grime pioneers like Fraksha, Scotty Hinds and Diem. He calls it an experience where he was able to “give back to the OGs… I feel like nobody in the scene was really paying their dues. I feel like those boys gave to us young lads what we could never achieve by ourselves.”

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Those early opportunities given by the OGs - which included sets at grime conventions like Fully Gassed and 50/50 - saw Shadow murder performances with his brash, hard-headed approach to spitting. In two days' time, he’ll be embarking on the next step: A national arena tour with Hilltop Hoods, where the venues will dwarf anywhere that Shadow has played so far. “Every time I’ll be driving past the RAC Arena in Perth, I start getting butterflies because it's 16,000 to 20,000 people at each show,” he says. “It should be crazy, but I feel like it's just going to be like any other show, and we're going to rock it.”

While Shadow has cemented himself as a frontrunner in Australia’s swelling grime and underground rap movement, it’s a completely different kettle of fish when you’re performing before Hilltop Hoods, one of the country’s biggest acts who’ve been omnipresent since ‘Nosebleed Section’ was everybody’s flip-phone ringtone. Their fanbase has exceeded far beyond ordinary hip-hop heads, but Shadow isn’t phased by the task of getting an unfamiliar crowd on his side.

“I feel like my music alone can make anyone enjoy it, and my stage presence as well. With me, I see it as ‘monkey see, monkey do’ - if I'm vibing out, they're going to vibe out. I make music for everyone to listen to, not one genre.”

It’s a timely tour then, because also on Friday, Shadow’s CREAM EP will be releasing, marking his most ambitious release, and his first via Golden Era Records. It’s come full circle for Shadow, who listened to Golden Era staples like Funkoars when he first moved to Australia a decade ago. After being introduced to the label through Perth selector L-Street (who also mans the decks for Kerser), he eventually inked a deal with the label.

“This whole EP has been taking a long while, but it’s worth the wait, that’s the first thing I can say,” he says. On the release, Shadow will look to move beyond his traditional stomping ground of grime.

“I went for versatility to show people that I'm not just a grime emcee, but I'm a musician. You can expect some wavy stuff, some singing, some trap shit, no boom bap this time,” he says. “Clips with everything, clips on clips. Just expect the takeover, that's for sure.”

Come Friday, with Shadow’s new EP and an arena tour kicking off in Melbourne, it looks like that takeover will truly begin to make its mark.

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