Formed in 1996 for a school talent competition, Downsyde kicked open the doors for West Australian hip hop artists as well as being early pioneers on the national scene. Since then, they’ve released five acclaimed albums, won a stack of awards and toured Australia and the world numerous times including South and Central America with indigenous elder and singer Richard Walley. They’ve even been to Mumbai and Germany, building up a legion of fans across the globe.
They’ve toured with and supported the likes of The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5, Cypress Hill, The Black Eyed Peas and Public Enemy with the latter’s Chuck D a fan of the band. They were also one of the artists featured in 2007 Australian Hip Hop documentary Words From The City.
After the release of 2009’s “All City”, the group took some time off, with members busy on numerous projects. Dazastah has produced for and tours with Drapht and produced for A.B. Original. Optamus released a solo album as well as run hip hop workshops everywhere from regional indigenous communities to prisons and schools and was nominated for a golden WAMi (West Australian Music Award for services to the industry) in 2017.
After eight years in between drinks, the WA hip hop institution returned with the release of their fifth album ClassicILL at the end of 2017 with elements of boom bap, disco and funk.
At the start of 2018 the band announced the addition of WA MC Beni Bjah to the group while original member Shabaz takes a break to focus on family. In 2016 Beni became the first indigenous songwriter to win the WAM (WA Music Association) song of the year award for his track “Survivor”. In April 2019 the band dropped their new single “Odds”, their first record featuring Beni. In March 2021, Downsyde released the single “Call” which features James Abberley and First Nations Fire Management Practitioner Victor Steffensen. Winding Road, the next taste of their forthcoming album came out in early 2022, coupled with a performance at the Perth Festival as part of Flewnt’s Boorloo Block Party. Hot on the heals of “Winding Road”, came “Po’ Boy”, a collaboration with Harts and fresh take on Howling Wolf’s “Poor Boy”. This was part of the Chess Records tribute album “Everybody Knows I’m Here”. Stay tuned for their next album coming soon!
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN HIPHOP
Nannup Music Festival’s exclusive workshop!
Join Downsyde’s Dazastah and Optamus for a dynamic experience, crafting beats and mastering the art of rap. Let Dazastah guide you through crafting infectious rhythms, while Optamus helps unleash your inner wordsmith, transforming stories into impactful verses. Whether a hiphop enthusiast or beginner, this hands-on session promises an unforgettable journey into music, rhythm, and self-expression. Join Downsyde to groove and rhyme with the best at Nannup Music Festival!