Bad Apples Music is the first Indigenous Australian owned and operated record label, running out of its headquarters in inner-western Melbourne that was launched in 2015 by rapper and now also actor/writer Briggs.
Building on the momentum of the then recently formed A.B. Original duo which developed organically in January 2015 by the award-winning rappers Briggs (a Yorta Yorta man from Shepparton in regional Victoria) after a Triple J inspired collaboration with Trials (a Ngarrindjeri man from country along the Murray River in South Australia). Deriving the label name from the second single Bad Apples off Briggs’ 2014 Sheplife album, the label has gone from strength to strength since its inception.
The label is also currently home to the talented trio of established solo rap artists Birdz, Nooky and Philly as well as serving as a supporting affiliate to Tasman Keith, Darwin singer Caiti Baker of Sietta and Dan Sultan. The label is affiliated with Adelaide-based Golden Era Records, the dominant locally based hip-hop label in Australasia over the last few years, and enjoys major linkages with Universal Music Australia and Hilltop Hoods. It creates a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and performers to showcase their talents to an ever-expanding audience domestically and abroad.
The label has recently released A.B. Original’s critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning debut album Reclaim Australia that featured west coast legend King T, Detroit’s Guilty Simpson of Stones Throw Records as well as a host of locals. Bad Apples Music has also released Birdz debut studio album Train of Thought as well as numerous other projects.
The A. B. Original sound has been described as rough and tough around the edges, deliberately brash and aggressive somewhat in the spirit of N.W.A. and Westside Connection, providing a much needed honest account of race relations in Australia today as well as delving into Australia’s dark colonial past through a traditional sound away from the fashion of today. The ironic title of the album, Reclaim Australia, strikes a strong accord locally in Australia as there is a small, misinformed group protesting immigration to Australia also called Reclaim Australia (a group fearful that “their” country is being taken away from them which is satirical to say the least when understanding British colonialization history of Indigenous Australia).
A.B. Original provide a very much needed refreshing, traditional hip hop sound in Australia that has largely been missing from recent years within a more commercially geared hip hop market of today. Their live show with DJ Total Eclipse of The X-Ecutioners has taken the all-round package to another level nationwide.
Briggs has recently announced that he will release another solo album this year, following up his excellent Sheplife in 2014 and The Blacklist in 2010 while the A. B. Original duo are back in the studio themselves working on their highly anticipated follow up release. With label artists continuing to tour nationally on the festival circuit and in their own right domestically as well as supporting touring acts including Ice T’s Body Count, 50 Cent and Loyle Carner (UK), the future seems very bright for the new but rapidly emerging label.
In addition to providing a much needed and deserving platform to release quality music, the artists on the label have been visibly and influentially outspoken on a number of important issues facing Indigenous Australians today. Since former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology for the Stolen Generations, the rate of Aboriginal children being removed from family and community has risen over 65% and Indigenous children are 11-15 times more likely to be removed from home than non-indigenous children. Bad Apples Music and their artists are proving to be an influential voice in the wider debate and continue to be rightfully outspoken against the merits of Australia’s national public day continuing to being held on such a historically and culturally insensitive date.