The Wright boys are back – louder and prouder than ever.
Brothers Abie and Warwick Wright are familiar faces on the Australian hip hop scene.
As two of the three members of hip hop crew Local Knowledge, the duo performed to thousands of people across the country, picking up a swag of awards along the way.
After the crew called it a day, it was only a matter of time before these respected pioneers of Indigenous hip hop got the urge to get back out there to deliver their message of empowerment and pride to their devoted fan base.
Now performing as the Street Warriors, Abie and Warwick (aka Predator and Wok) have been steadily building their loyal following around the country on the back of energy-filled live shows, powerful lyrics and their unique musical message.
To the delight of their fans, the fellas recently celebrated their first-ever official EP release into stores, marking a major milestone in both of their careers.
“It’s actually a big relief for us,” Abie says.
“As Local Knowledge we never released into stores, and we broke up before we actually got something out. But now our music has sort of gone to another level and everyone has access to it.”
The EP, entitled Real Knows Real, features seven tracks, some of which fans from their live performances will be familiar with.
“Actually it was pretty difficult deciding which tracks to go with,” Abie admits.
“We thought about releasing an album to start off with and then we thought, why not release an EP first and just cut it right down to the best songs that cover the different genres?”
A personal favourite on the EP for Abie is the energy filled Indigenous battle cry Look at Me; a song which perfectly encapsulates the message, point of view and energy of Street Warriors’ music.
“It’s my personal favourite because it’s a statement,” Abie explains.
“It has a go against racist Australia and it pretty much says ‘we own this land’. That’s what we’re all about.”
The title of the release is a comment from Abie and Wok on the nature of many of people they have crossed paths with in the music industry, as well as those in the wider community.
“Real people know real people,” Abie says.
“There are a lot of fake people out there and we just wanted to put that out there for a lot of our people who are being misguided by some different people, whether it be people in their community or on a larger scale.”
Appearing on two of the tracks on the release (What You Want and My Life With You) is the soulful singing duo of Troy and Trevelyn Brady, who the boys had long planned on working with.
“We’ve been close with Troy for a few years now and working in collaboration with both him and Trevelyn is something we’ve always wanted to do,” Abie says.
“Now that we’ve gone out on our own as Street Warriors we had an opportunity to work with them. It was perfect timing, really.”
Despite this being the duo’s first release into stores, they have been touring and performing for some time now, and in many ways can already be considered veterans of the Australian and Indigenous hip hop scene. This is a tag they wear with pride, and a major goal of their has always been to open new channels for emerging Indigenous artists.
For both of them, the EP represents the overcoming of the many obstacles they have faced in getting their music and message out to the people.
“The biggest obstacle in the industry is a lot of fake people that don’t take your music seriously,” Abie says.
“Unless you’ve got a name they pretty much write you off, and I think that’s pretty daunting for a lot of young artists.
“It’s a pretty mean industry, but I think that’s made us more determined to knock down walls and keep these paths open for the younger artists coming through.”
While Street Warriors’ music is now more accessible to the mainstream, the message behind their music remains the same.
“I think it’s the heart and soul of our music and who we are,” Abie says.
“We pretty much let our music speak for itself on our views on life and Australia at the moment. It’s a message that we want to get out there, not only to Indigenous people but to non-Indigenous people as well, about who we are and where we represent and the people we want to influence.”
While some artists may gauge ultimate success on units sold or money earned, for Abie and Wok success is measured in terms of how far they can spread the word on the issues they feel most passionately about.
“I think that when you have different people all around the world listening to your music, that’s success,” Abie says.
“I’d like to get our message out there on a larger scale, because I think Australia is a very small country. With the current political climate and the changes in our country at the moment and the way society is treating our people, we need to get our music out there to let the rest of the world know what’s going on.
“Once we’ve got people around the world actually talking about not just our music, but Aboriginal Australia in general, I think that’s when we can start to think that we’re making a change.”