The Grandfather Of Indigenous Hip Hop Says He’s Inspired By The New Wave Of First Nations Artists

Meet the first nations hip hop artists inspiring the grandfather of Indigenous hip hop including A.GIRL Tasman Keith Miss Kaninna Kobie Dee and Inkabee

This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘For Our Elders’ and an elder of the rap community is Jardwadjali and Bujda Budja man Munkimuk who is consider the grandfather of Indigenous hip hop. 

Munkimuk AKA Mark Ross first got into rapping via breakdancing in the late 1980s and since then has been heavily involved as an artist, producer and mentor.

“The hip hop community just in general is populated by so many great First Nations artists that come from the mainland or Torres Strait Islands.

“If you go back to the 80s there weren’t as many opportunities as there are now, so it’s been a gradual thing and it’s been an amazing journey to watch,” he says.

Munkimuk feels there is a strong overlap between his community, storytelling and hip hop culture and this connection grew stronger in the 1980s.

“Our mob have been passing down stories for 100,000 years or so which is a reason why I think that First Nations people in this country gravitated towards hip hop in the ’80s.

“You can go to any part of this country and you’ll find people who were trailblazers in their own communities that were doing hip hop or breaking.

“Our mob connects with hip hop so much because it’s very similar in the way of stories being passed down. I think of graff and rock art, and dancing by ways of telling stories… I think that’s the whole reason why First Nations mob gravitate towards hip hop,” he says.

There is currently a wave of First Nations artists releasing era-defining hip hop and Munkimuk told PEDESTRIAN.TV that for him, seeing all of these acts break through is “inspiring.”

“They’re forging their own paths and doing great things, and I think the only thing that’s changed is the community is more accepting of our artists which is progress.”

In celebration of NAIDOC Week here are five incredible tracks to add to your playlists that are defining this new exciting era of hip hop. 

Miss Kaninna

Yorta Yorta, Kalkadoon, and Yirendali woman Miss Kaninna’s track “Blak Britney” is one you won’t be able to get off repeat. Blending R&B, hip hop and in her words “a big fuck you to the patriarchy,” this debut single has well and truly set her up as one of the most exciting artists to watch right now.


Inkabee is 11 years old and already proving himself as a hip hop prodigy. The Noongar and Wongi artist’s track “Saved by the Bell” is so goddamn catchy, and he recently blew everyone away with his father and son performance on Triple J’s Bars Of Steel, rapping in studio with his dad Flewnt.

Kobie Dee

Kobie Dee is a trailblazing voice in Australian hip hop. The Gomeroi and Wodi Wodi artist’s song “Basics” is his latest single that weaves powerful lyrics with heavy bass and is an artist you’ll find yourself coming back to over and over again. If you’re heading to Laneway this year he’s a must-watch to catch at the festival. 


If A.GIRL isn’t already on every playlist you have, then what on earth are you doing?! From her dreamy vocals to infectious melodies, A.GIRL is proving herself on every new release to be a vision of the Australian hip hop scene. 

Tasman Keith 

When you think of cutting edge hip hop Tasman Keith should immediately come to mind. The Gumbaynggirr artist is carving out his own lane and his latest single “Price Up!” sees him join forces with Mali Jo$e and is a testament to Keith’s continual ascension. 

And there you have it, some A+ music recs to enjoy this NAIDOC Week (and every other week of the year too).