My knowledge of Hip-Hop is somewhat skewed. The first time I heard Hilltop Hoods, my initial reaction was "Wow, they sound like they're ripping off MC Sniper". Turns out MC Sniper's debut album came out eleven years after Hilltop Hoods', who are an award winning group that are right at the centre of the Australian Hip-hop scene. I didn't even know Australia HAD a Hip-hop scene.
As a result of this, I don't profess to be an expert on the genre, just a man who knows decent music when he hears it - and this ain't bad at all. It's not unique, or even that original sounding, but there's a lot to be said for good solid rap music with a steady, fluid flow - something that a lot of 'experimental' hip-hop artists forget. Luckily, the Hoods have an abundance of flow - in fact, they've probably got some spare for some of the jokers forced down your throat in the charts - 50 Cent, I'm looking at you - and appearances from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and other such musical luminaries only serve to make a good record better.
The Australian accent does not lend itself well to rap though, I find: This may well go some way to explaining why the Hilltop Hoods have gone Platinum and I've never heard of them, and to be honest after a while some of the overly loud vocals begin to grate somewhat - tracks like "She's So Ugly" being a case in point.
There is more good than bad on this album however; Even as someone who doesn't enjoy hip-hop as a rule, this album kept me entertained from start to finish, and it contains a nice mix of jazz, classical and funk influences in the music that makes the whole album more interesting from a musical perspective:- I know that's not exactly the point of hip-hop, but it matters to me, sue me - and other than the occasional gripe with the mixing (see above) the production of the album is solid and very well done. If you're a bigger rap fan than I, you'll probably love this album, but even as someone that doesn't have a huge interest in the genre, I can recommend it. Check it out, and see if you can come to a decision a little clearer than mine.