“One of the best examples of pure Australian hip-hop we’ve been treated to” Complex
“Tasman’s razor-sharp lyrics tackle family, identity and race with potency.
His talent has been obvious from the get-go.” Red Bull Music
21 Top Indigenous Acts To Tune Into Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil)
“Determined to use his platform to give a voice to the voiceless” Acclaim Magazine
“Tasman Keith is taking control of the narrative” FBi Radio
“One of the most exciting voices in hip hop in Australia right now” Purple Sneakers
“Leading Australia’s hip-hop and soul future” Pilerats
Fresh off a sold-out headline tour and securing 2020 J Award for Best Australian Music Video Of The Yearfor ‘BILLY BAD AGAIN’, rapidly rising Bowraville-born rapper Tasman Keith continues his seemingly limitless ascent by today unveiling his debut mixtape, To Whom It May Concern, and sharing new single, ‘ANSWER‘, featuring Vallis Alps vocalist Parissa Tosif. Listen HERE.
The idea of hometown pride has always ridden deeper than most in Tasman’s music: everything he does is indebted to the community that raised him, to the idea of giving back and carrying on the storytelling traditions of his family. For Bowraville – a small town on New South Wales’ mid-North Coast most commonly recognised for housing one of the country’s most notorious missions and as the site of one of Australia’s most shameful chapters in history – Tasman is attempting to write a new history through his music, reclaiming pride by lifting up and giving back.
As it happens, Tasman Keith wears this responsibility very, very well throughout To Whom It May Concern, balancing a willingness to interrogate the darkest crevices of his life and Australian society as a whole with a perfectly weighted knowledge of when to shake it off with braggadocio, self-assured confidence, and beats that remind you why subwoofers were invented in the first place. Across To Whom It May Concern, Keith addresses the death of his older cousin, reflects on his career thus far and forwards, drawing connections between structural racism and the music industry, and more.
From the bare-bones, truck-rattling furore of lead single, ‘Confident‘, to the hypnotic, horror-inspired, nocturnal soundscapes of ‘Nightmares on 9th.‘, Tasman’s penchant for fearless stylistic choices is, at this point, already well established. To Whom It May Concern doubles down on that expansive flexibility, allowing Tasman to comfortably, confidently occupy so many artistic lanes at once while also carving out a space of his own.
With a shifting structure, lavish production, a tripping flow, and auto-tuned vocals that tread the line between rapping and singing, latest single ‘ANSWER‘ recalls the swirling, hallucinogenic panoramas of Travis Scott’s Astroworld and the shadowy introspection of J Cole, Tasman’s most outright excursion into pop territory to date. Atop percolating layers of interweaving guitars and synths, Tasman embarks on a journey of self-reflection, healing, and reconciliation, untangling a troubled state of mind whose weight is cushioned against the floating, atmospheric vocals of Vallis Alps‘ Parissa Tosif.
Of the track, Tasman says that ‘ANSWER‘ is “representative of a goodbye, a goodbye that unfortunately can cause confusion or a lack of understanding for what the other person or yourself has sacrificed up until that point. I’ve lost a lot of people in my life whether that’s to death or simply paths going different ways, this joint was me using an example of a relationship as that outlet. With the whole mixtape being titled ‘To Whom It May Concern’ I feel like this is almost the sign-off, the letting go of the ego and the confidence for a moment to be really open”.
Tasman’s debut mixtape captures a rapper in the midst of a propulsive, undeniable artistic streak, capping a year that has seen his profile rise through collaborations and guest features, appearing on Jimmy Nice’s ‘Same Water‘, Northern Territory producer Kuya James’ powerful single ‘No Country‘, including its own stripped-back version ‘No Country (Piano In F Minor)‘, and alongside Jessica Mauboy on ‘First Nation‘, the second single lifted from The Makarrata Project, Midnight Oil’s first studio album in over 18 years, together with his debut TV performance twice on the second season of The ABC‘s live music series,The Sound.
His stratospheric 2020 comes off the back of an equally prosperous 2019 for the Sydney-based emcee, who, off the strength of critically acclaimed singles, ‘BILLY BAD AGAIN‘, ‘move up‘ and Evenings, his collaborative EP with Northern Territory singer Stevie Jean, introduced himself to larger and larger national audiences, playing Laneway Festival, Groovin’ the Moo, BIGSOUND and more, coupled with the release of his Mission Famous VICE documentary, which shone a light on the collective achievements of his hometown, the highs and lows of life living in Bowraville.
With his technical proficiency as a rapper, his storytelling, and the resonant social justice messages of his mission, Tasman has long been positioned as an emergent leader in Australia’s hip hop resurgence. His debut mixtape coronates his reign and exceeds the promises preceding its release, cementing Tasman Keith’s status as a wholly essential artist and a resolute, unassailable voice for the voiceless.
To Whom It May Concern is out now, buy/stream it here.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN TRACKLIST
65 ft. Wire MC & Gamirez CONFIDENT
ANSWER ft. Parissa Tosif