Hilltop Hoods Drinking from the Sun

Hilltop Hoods Drinking from the Sun
Filled with '60s and '70s vocal samples, boom-bap drum patterns and razor-sharp, polysyllabic flows, Drinking from the Sun, the latest album from Australian rappers Hilltop Hoods, is a throwback to another era. Thankfully, their old school tendencies take the form of homage rather than straight-up fetishism. MCs Pressure and Suffa complement each other perfectly. Pressure throws out every syllable like a projectile; his aggressive, driving flow gives songs like "Now You're Gone" and "Jingling the Keys to the Kingdom" a strong emotional edge. Suffa, on the other hand, has a much cooler, more laidback delivery; he's the calming influence that keeps Pressure from going completely apeshit. As great as Pressure and Suffa are on the mic, Suffa's work as a producer is the highlight of the album. "Now You're Gone" takes a sample from obscure '70s garage-psych band Fifth Flight and turns it into a straight head-nodder, complete with a long, fuzzed-out guitar riff and pleading vocal sample. "The Underground," a collaboration with Halifax's Classified, uses a Mama Cass sample as a chorus and integrates it so well that it sounds like she recorded it just for them. Hilltop Hoods will most likely only ever have a cult appeal in North America — rap in an Australian accent is just too much for most people to handle. That said, solid beats are rap music's universal language, and Suffa speaks it better than almost anyone in the game.

Read an interview with Hilltop Hoods here. (Golden Era/Universal)