Ivan Ooze plays the hero for DIY hip-hop

There seems to be a bit of an Aussie hip-hop renaissance happening at the moment in which young kids, skirting the traditional system are chucking their creative output online. The DIY element of this movement has created a new generation of artists that mix and match influences, ultimately creating something that sounds fresh and innovative. Ivan Ooze is one such artist and he seems to be rising to the top of the scene.

Ivan Ooze

DIY Hip-hop upstart Ivan Ooze shows his evolution on his chilled out new track Jimi Hendrix, a great preview for the upcoming mixtape The Social Alien.

Ooze, who’s real name is Ben Townsend, named himself after his favourite Mighty Morphin Power Rangers villain, stating that villains are always more interesting than heroes. The Melbourne based rapper blew up last year after posting a bunch of freestyle videos online that soon went viral. He then followed this up with the release of his debut EP, Ringwood Rich. One of Ooze’s breakout tracks from the EP was On And On, a song that explores that notion that no matter what you do, the world keeps moving. The song taps into feelings of pointlessness that many find themselves contemplating in their early 20s but Ooze says don’t wallow in it.

Ooze had been rapping for about four years and cites influences such as Busta Rhymes and Schoolboy Q. He has toured with hip-hop heavy weights Ice-Cube and Cypress Hill and says he spends a lot of his time smoking and drinking in his bungalow.

Ooze has an interesting voice that doesn’t sound immediately Australian, suggesting he could be a cross over artist for people who think they don’t like Aussie hip-hop. His delivery is fast paced and slightly warbling, the loose nature of his rapping sounding a bit like Young Thug in places. He also has a youthful sneer going on that gives his tracks a fun almost irreverent feel. Ooze’s beats are complex and layered, and one can definitely sense the influence of 90s boom bap.

His latest single Jimmy Hendrix is a bit different from his previous releases. Gone is the speed and aggression, and in its place we’ve got cloudy, chilled out beats and smooth vocals that include a yelp or two. During the track Ooze raps about the influence Jimmy Hendrix has had on him creatively. Something one can defiantly hear in the smoky, psychedelic beat of the track. Jimmy Hendrix will have you bopping you head as you listen to Ooze rap about smoking weed and getting DUI’s.

It’s Ooze’s strongest track to date and suggests his upcoming mixtape The Social Alien, due out on the April 8, is going to be a textured and varied experience.