The Australian hip-hop scene is relatively young and definitely small when compared to its birthplace, where the movement stretches all the way from the streets of New York City to Los Angeles, zig-zagging back and forth between Atlanta, Chicago, and so on along the way.
We don’t have the kind of industry US hip-hop does, the level of stardom, nor its sprawling mythology, but we do share a few hallmarks. Of course, ours are characteristically Australian, but hey, we don’t call it ‘skip-hop’ for nothing.
One thing the Australian hip-hop scene can boast is playing host to a great rapper feud. It all went down back in 2012, when 360 went toe-to-toe with Kerser in a rap battle royal that took place at Melbourne music haunt the Laundry Bar.
According to Australian cameraman and filmmaker Dan de Sousa, who shot the footage of the infamous battle (see below), 360 vs Kerser became “the fastest viewed rap batle in the world at the time”, clocking a million views in under three weeks.
As Dan notes, this was “incredible for a couple of rappers from Australia back then”, but considering the amount of hype there was leading up to the battle, it’s not all that surprising. The two emcees had done a sterling job of prepping their respective crowds.
Of course, they didn’t really have to; Kerser fans and 360 fans share a natural enmity. One was a Campbelltown native with a raw and aggressive style largely maligned by the wider Aussie hip-hop scene, the other was a Melbourne boy with a pop-friendly image and rapping style.
Still, both parties opted to stir the pot by making public digs at each other online, whilst maintaining a mutual respect for each other behind the scenes. “He’s a good dude,” 360 once said of his opponent, as Richie Meldrum notes.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Kerser in doing what he’s doing. Anytime I take a stab at him there is no malicious intent behind it, it’s just trying to build up more anticipation and shit.” Kerser agreed: “It’s entertaining as man. You just got to do it to hype the battle up.”
The battle itself went down in mid-December, with Kerser largely relying on punchlines aimed at his opponent’s looks and his chart-friendly sound, whilst most agree Sixty went in deep on Kerser, making personal jabs and, according to Kerser, twisting the truth.
“I didn’t like some of his tactics in the battle – he twisted the truth a lot and I thought that was a bit dirty. But other than that I think he’s a good bloke,” Kerser told Music Feeds after the battle had concluded.
So, who won?
“We did have people offer to judge it on the night and I was cool with that, but 360 wasn’t,” Kerser told MF. “He messaged me afterwards and said we could send some videos over to judges in America and have it judged that way.”
“But I reckon it should have been done on the night. Plus a few people over there know 360 already so I didn’t think it would be that fair.” The question over just who won the battle is a debate that continues to rage on Oz hip-hop message boards to this day. Come to your own conclusion below.