Listen to "Te Hono Whakakoro"
Listen to "Tangata Whenua"
Listen to "Anei Ko Te Wiya" from the bonus MC Wiya disc
Grab it all here.
One of the many projects I've been working on recently has been the steady compiling of songs for a politicized global rap mix. So imagine my Blueberry Hill-level thrill when, tonight after work, I decided to stop by the Asia Society to check out the super freaky Lin Tianmiao show and, in a remainder bin in the bookstore, found this CD by hyper-politicized Aotearoa / New Zealand hip-hop group, Upper Hutt Posse.
This band, which got its start playing reggae in 1985, is probably the greatest thing musically to have ever come out of this particular Polynesian island country. In addition to socially-conscious lyrics, the music itself is utterly thrilling, as thrilling in places as Public Enemy was in their day. (Don't believe me? Give "Tangata Whenua" a whirl.)
From the band's Wikipedia page:
UHP formed as a four-piece reggae band in 1985. Since their inception, Dean Hapeta (also known as D Word or Te Kupu) and the Posse have been fighting racial injustice through their music. In 1988 they released New Zealand's first rap record and their first 12-inch hip hop record, "E Tū", through Jayrem Records. The song combined African American revolutionary rhetoric with an explicitly Māori frame of reference. It pays homage to the rebel Māori warrior chiefs of Aotearoa's colonial history, Hone Heke, Te Kooti, and Te Rauparaha.
Writing about the band, Stephen Zepke insisted that "Upper Hutt Posse aren't a symptom of the recent rise in Maori activism, they're a cause."