IIIconic kicked-off his debut headline show at the Woolly Mammoth last Thursday night, in support of his latest single ‘Upgrade’. The Brisbane rapper has had some notable performances in recent months, including being hand selected to open for the Thundamentals, as well as co-opening Australia’s largest Hip-Hop festival “Sprung” which was headlined by Allday and recent ARIA award winner ILLY.

The intense energy of the night was set very early on, with opener Shemaiah James performing to a near capacity crowd, with a set that merged both old school and new wave hip-hop. Most notable from the set was the song dedicated to his grandmother, written moments after her death, and performed live for the first time on the night. The raw emotion poured over everyone in the room.

James Walker made his DJ debut, supporting Shemaiah on the decks. Support acts Princ3 My3rs & Swilo only built on this early pace, and set everything up perfectly for IIIconic’s grand entrance.

The lights dimmed, the crowd gathered as close as humanly possible to the front of the stage, and the sub-bass boomed as IIIconic began the set with a short cover of “XO Tour Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert. He went from strength-to-strength as he performed a variety of unreleased, high-energy songs, off his upcoming “Upgrade EP” that were hand crafted with production more detailed than what one may expect from modern day hip-hop songs. This is largely due to IIIconic’s role within his musical project of not only being responsible for writing the lyrics & rhymes, but for also being responsible the production element.

A variety of feature guests found their way onto stage, ranging from the soulful gospel-esque voice of female vocalist Belesia Bwisengo, to the hard hitting lyrics of fellow Brisbane rapper Jaylit. The set was expertly planned out, with scheduled intermissions being led by IIIconic to collectively perform tasks, such as, taking advantage of the “Geo-Snapfilter” designed specifically for the show, and creating a “Stormzy-esque” fan circle, ready to storm the middle when the chorus hit. The crowd loved it.

After 40 minutes of hard-hitting, high intensity Hip-Hop action, the eagerly anticipated headline single ‘Upgrade’ was finally premiered to the public. According to IIIconic himself, the song is based upon the transformation he has felt with both his music, and his relevancy in the Australian Hip-Hop scene, thus the chorus “now I’m feeling upgraded” makes perfect sense. The production element was on point, with the combination of hard-hitting 808’s, soothing backing vocals and horn ensembles making it a single that lived up to the hype of having a headline show based around it’s release.

You can check out the new single yourself below, as well this live footage from the night for a bit of visual stimuli.


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author: Tom Walker

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