Warrangu Project is just the start for Dobby

Rapper Dobby took over Entrance Court at Vivid Sydney off the back of the 2017 Create NSW Peter Sculthorpe Fellowship grant.

Filipino-Muruwari rapper Dobby used his incredible skills, passion and platform to shed a light on (literally) important issues through an immersive experience at Vivid Sydney.

The Warrangu Project is a call to action; a selection of songs written, composed and produced by Dobby. The project tells the story of three interconnected rivers – the Barwon River, Culgoa River and Bogan River – that form tribal boundaries for the surrounding indigenous towns and are subjected to water theft, causing massive damage to the ecosystem with up to a million fish dying in Menindee NSW due to high levels of Blue Green algae in 2019.

Dobby Vivid Sydney
Credit: Keith McInnes

Those who went to Vivid Sydney would’ve heard songs such as ‘Water’ and ‘Language Is In The Land’ at the Entrance Court of the Art Gallery of NSW; orchestral sounds mixed with melodic beats that perfectly paint the stand against the privatisation of water sources by laying bare the impact it has on 2.3 million people who live within the Murray Darling Basin.

Being the recipient of the 2017 Create NSW Peter Sculthorpe Fellowship grant, the carefully constructed project has been close to the rapper’s heart as these rivers carry a much more significant connection for the artist which goes beyond just a political statement.

My grandmother Mary Clapham Nee Shearer was born and raised in Brewarrina. Her father, George Shearer, was born under the birthing tree on Murrawarri land on the Culgoa at Corella Station. WARRANGU; River Story is a journey back home to my family’s history; a connection to Culture”.

This connection to Culture is inherent in Dobby’s music, having already collaborated with BadApples artist Barkaa for Can’t Breathe; exposing police brutality and racial profiling here in Australia and causing parallels to be drawn with our American counterparts in light of Black Lives Matter protests. This is an artist who has a clear vision for where he wishes to go with his message and his latest single is another confident step toward seeking justice.

Whether intentional or not, Walk Away featuring indigenous Pop duo Candice Lorrae and Kristel Kickett – known as The Merindas – combine as the three rivers to flood your speakers with an extremely catchy and thought-provoking track. The Merindas soulful tones placed in the background of a bouncing beat coupled with Dobby’s sharp penmanship, precise cadence and switching flow all combine brilliantly to confront the very real hypocrisy pushed onto indigenous people whenever they stand steady to protect their heritage and family.

Hip hop at its core has always been a vehicle for change, a platform to speak truth to power. Dobby’s natural leadership shines through his music with unrelenting energy and a methodical intelligence; take his first bar from Walk Away as a prime example: “I’m ‘bout to rattle up some cages, make some changes, call me what? Call me blasian, my culture ancient, I like pissing off a racist, I bet you hate this”.

This is an artist that you should not only continue to watch but set your clock to his releases as his time has only just started to tick through the gears.