MC Hau – ‘Football, Feasts & Funerals’ Cassette [Self Released]

Unless you were there it’s hard to convey the influence and importance of Koolism to the Australian music scene. Between the late ’90s and early 2000’s it was the first time that a lot of us heard a non-US or British accent on a rap. And it wasn’t just as a starting point: throughout their career Koolism remained homegrown and in their roots. Where others went overseas to work with producers or focussed on breaking different markets, the pairing of MC Hau and DJ DanielSan kept their grind on the Australian circuit, putting on some of the best shows the country has to offer.

Check this video from about a minute onwards, where they receive an Aria an ‘accidentally’ diss Black Eyed Peas who were presenting it. Never ones to beef, this was still a clip watched live by many that put their thoughts in to words for the first time on a public stage.

Much like Lord Finesse, Sage Francis or MF Doom, Koolism never needed anything to spectacular to rock a big set. As with the aforementioned rappers, MC Hau crafted his skill to be syllable perfect with a live mic and DJ behind him, and the dude knew how to battle to boot. DanielSan on decks is just a next-level talent as a turntablist, and had nothing but vibes as a producer. The two if them were naturals, making their respective crafts look so damn easy, and together it was a thing of beauty. A far throw from the hype scene that was making up the international industry.

Hau’s vocals on a track were always very understated in the mix; his voice on recordings always raw and natural, never touched up or down. His bars were always genuine, and real-life experience including his family and growing up featured heavily in his rhymes. As stated above, all of us from that time remember the first time we became familiar with the tracks that him and DanielSan produced.

In 2010 Koolism released their final album, with DanielSan since returning to the studio to work in the background with numerous name cats, and Hau concentrating on supporting the scene. Returning to his full name from his Tongan heritage, Hau Latufeku became a recognisable force on radio since 2008, hosting Triple J’s weekly hip-hop show, growing alongside the scene he helped birth.

This is all a long and roundabout way of talking about Hau’s return to releasing, and his new cassette only release that I stumbled upon by chance. I popped in to Wax Museum Records in Melbourne, and spotted the handwritten case in the glass cabinet. When the chap behind the counter told me it was a limited release from Hau, the history of working within the Aus hip-hop scene when I did came flooding back to me.

Football, Feasts and Funerals is the first release launching Hau’s solo career. Twelve tracks (or eleven + intro) of Hau’s incredibly distinct style, recorded over the lo-fi sample sampled beats that compliment his voice incredibly well. The basic loop recordings with equal parts bounce and soul, that let him flow are present across the majority of the album, and continue on a similar path to where he left off years ago.

Everything about this release is genuine. Hau opens himself up with his lyrics, keeping it personal but also knowing how to turn it out like the golden-era rap he grew up with.

I absolutely love the format of this release too. Stoked to have grabbed one of the limited purple cassettes, complete with a ‘Haui Beast’ pencil for rewinding. Really feel like I’ve got a special piece of Australian music with this one.

Check out the bandcamp details below, and the chance to stream the tracks on the album. The cassettes look to be gone but you can still grab a CD or a name your own price download. Always one to give you more, Hau’s even opened up the acapellas and instrumentals from the album for the digital folk, have a dig around his page for more details.

via Hauiebeast Bandcamp
There are two concepts behind the ‘Football, Feasts & Funerals’ mixtape. Firstly, the title is an acknowledgement of Hau’s heritage and culture with the mixtape loosely reflecting the three important things in a Tongan’s life; rugby union and league are near religions in the islands, food plays a big part in the culture, and attending funerals can happen almost bi-monthly.

Secondly, the beat selection is all homegrown. The mixtape tips the hat to some classic jams like Mama’s Funkstikools (Hauie’s Theory ft. Raph Boogie) and 2 Dogs (Re-Fizzlatukefu) and reinterprets songs originally by the Hilltop Hoods (Still Standing) and jazz musician, Ross McHenry (Stylus (intro)). Hau also blesses some original productions by the likes of Sensible J & Dutch (Back On the Job), Ta-ku (Here I Am) and Pro/Gram (So Deep). Hau says “Australia has some world-standard producers and I wanted to celebrate that fact with just choosing local music to rock over.