In addition to the $10,000 in funding, the winner will receive legal advice courtesy of David Vodika and Media Arts Lawyers which can be used for general legal or specific career advice, plus a Love Police ATM Merch Manufacturing Start-Up Kit.


To be eligible for the HTH initiative you must be:

  • Applicants of any age (but it is expected that you will be in the early stages of your career).
  • An emerging Australian based Hip Hop/Soul artist or group who has not released an album professionally/commercially.
  • An Australian citizen or must have been a legal resident of Australia for the past two (consecutive) years.
  • Applicants must be an APRA AMCOS member or have at least made application to join APRA AMCOS.

For more information on joining APRA AMCOS go to

You are not eligible if you are:

  • A previous recipients of the HTH Initiative
  • An APRA AMCOS employee (or an immediate family member of an APRA AMCOS employee).

If you have previously released an album (10+ tracks) that falls into one of the below categories you are NOT eligible:

  • Released with the support of an established record label.
  • Released with the support of an established music distributor.


The grant is for costs associated with manufacturing, marketing and distributing a release of at least five original songs. This can include:

  • Mastering
  • CD artwork/design
  • Marketing and promotional materials
  • Postal and administrative costs associated directly with the project
  • Manufacturing

Please note, the grant does not cover:

  • Recording costs
  • Mixing costs
  • Merchandising (Love Police ATM $500 Merch Start-up kit is for this purpose)
  • Equipment purchases


The panel of judges is made up of industry professionals chosen by the Hilltop Hoods.
This year the judges are…

  • Hau (ACT) – Artist (Koolism), Presenter (triple j’s The Hip Hop Show)
  • Sosefina Fuamoli (SA) – Editor of The AU Review
  • Nish (SA) – Graffiti Artist, Indigenous Community Worker, Promoter
  • Ran-Dee (NSW) – Booking Agent, Manager & Promoter at Joint Adventure (DJ Total Eclipse, Soul Benefits)
  • Raph (VIC) – Artist, clothing label owner (Blank Clothing), author (Behind The Beat)
  • Tom Thum/Tommy Illfigga (QLD) – MC, Beat Boxer, Graffiti Artist, B-boy, Producer



All applications this year must be received through the online form and contain the following:

  • A dropbox link with MP3 files of your demo (maximum 3 tracks)
  • A completed application form including bio, proposed budget and timeline
  • A press shot and a group/artist logo (if applicable)
  • **All files must be zipped for submission and placed in a dropbox. The dropbox link will then need to be placed in your application form.


  • We will begin taking applications on Tuesday 9 February 2016
  • All applications must be received by midnight (AEDT) Tuesday 22 March 2016
  • The recipient will be announced on Wednesday 11 May 2016.


Hilltop Hoods Initiative
+61 2 9935 7878


SINKS: Recipient of the 2017 Initiative

Sinks is an MC from Melbourne. He has been rapidly rising through the ranks of the hip hop community, gaining widespread recognition for his craft. Preferring to rhyme over sample based production, he cuts through sombre melodies with dystopian poetry detailing the confronting realities that often elude the attention of the populace.

Sinks also boasts a respectable live performance, which utilises the energy of live drums (Jeremy Schiftan), timely razor cuts (DJ Biko) and hype man duties from fellow MC Mol One. Together they have been successfully rocking stages across Melbourne landing support slots for the likes of Taskforce (UK), Action Bronson (US), Souls of mischief (US), Mobb Deep (US) and Melbourne’s own Trem. Sinks has not stopped recording and currently holds a sizeable slew of music for 2017. |

ASTRO TRAVELERS: Recipient of the 2016 Initiative

Since its humble beginnings in 2013, 7 piece live hip hop act Astro travellers has acquired an eclectic mix members from diverse musical backgrounds and collectively developed a signature sound consisting of fast-paced rhymes courtesy of emcees Rui Da Cruz and ALI the GREAT, future soul vocals from newest addition Tiana Khasi, and cosmic beats delivered by the finest rhythm section Brisbane has to offer.

Astro Travellers independently released their debut single on 7″ vinyl in November 2014, and are about to embark on a tour of Australia’s East Coast in June/July 2015, in support of the release of their debut EP “Seven Metaphors”. “Seven Metaphors” EP marks Astro Travellers’ opening statement as a band. Combining off-the-cuff studio freestyles with compositions that have been lovingly crafted both in the rehearsal room and on stage. For the first time, the combination of Astro Travellers’ live instrumentation, rap and voice blend together seamlessly on the record.

Notable achievements from the band’s career so far include: supporting Detroit-based MC Guilty Simpson and Sydney producer/DJ Katalyst on the Brisbane leg of their 2014 Australian tour; recording as part of the 2014 IMP Labs 100 Songs Project, and having the track “Future Supernova” included on a 10-track compilation of recordings specially selected from the project; supporting local heroes Laneous And The Family Yah as part of their Pink Dove Show IV tour; and performing at numerous festival events including Jungle Love, The Big Chill, Sausage & Breadlam (Bedlam Records’ Australia Day Party) and Let It Whip.

Check out Astro Travelers on Facebook –

SARAH CONNOR: Recipient of the 2015 Initiative

Bursting onto her local hip hop scene four years ago alongside DJ Maniak, she has built up a solid repertoire of hard hitting, on point and energetic live shows having opened for Def Wish Cast, Mata and Must and Thundamentals.

Winning the Briggs Sheplife King of the Town competition in October 2014 Sarah took the spotlight, showing that to compete in a heavily male dominated industry there can be no excuses, only track after track of lyrical genius and dynamite flow. Her first single KILLBILL erupted online and made its way into regular rotation on Triple J Unearthed and Triple J and again her second track Coma State Feat. Price Johnson, Prod. Kid Pharaoh, was picked up by Triple J within 13 hours of its release online and made the High Five, top five songs of the week on Home and Hosed.

As dynamic as she is daring, Sarah is also part of Universafly- a diverse and decisive new crew formed with 9 MC’s, a DJ and a beatmaker crossing cities, states and international lines. Often described as a one woman army, Sarah Connor is about making the impossible possible and above all else, delivering independent music that connects with her audience and inspires listeners. Her first EP, the Mahjong EP was released mid 2015 and is backed with production from Ciecmate, (Broken Tooth Entertainment) Lou Koo from San Francisco (Oh Blimey, Gavlyn) and JayTee Hazard showing that she is ready to raise the bar.

Check out Sarah Connor on Facebook –

I AM D: Recipient of the 2014 Initiative

I AM D is Brisbane based MC Tom Daley.
Debut EP ‘The Daley Grind’ out now.

Check out I AM D on Facebook –

CHELSEA JANE: Recipient of the 2013 Initiative

Chelsea Jane has rapidly gained attention both national and international for her recent verse on Atlanta’s ATLien Workshop’s “Enemy”. She is also known for her involvement as a guest judge at ‘Got beef’ MC Rap battles in Sydney and Adelaide.

After seeding strong connections through her creative development journey with established artists in USA, Canada and UK, Chelsea Jane is more than ready to independently release her original music.

Check out Chelsea Jane on Facebook –

RUNFORYOURLIFE: Recipient of the 2012 Initiative

RUNFORYOURLIFE is a 2 year old musical collective of electronic hip hop soul proportions with an extensive feature artist list that showcases some of Australia’s underground soul singers & MC’s.

At the foundation of RUNFORYOURLIFE is a forward thinking beatmaker/production/songwriting team J.Smith, Dutch & Syreneyiscreamy.

At the vocal helm their feature artist family include N’FA, Remi, Nadee, Nai Palm, Cazeaux OSLO, Zulu Flow, 1/6, Jamima Jonez, Ginger Van Es plus many more in a live show with a full band that is pure fire and soul.

In 2012 they unleashed this collaborative project and their distinct brand of music in a digital release simply entitled, ‘RFYL – VOL.1’.

Check out RFYL on Facebook –

KOOLTA: Recipient of the 2011 Initiative

Debut Album “The Extraordinary Average Joe” Out Now

Koolta Bandcamp –

1/6: Recipient of the 2010 Initiative

Born in Australia but raised in Namibia, 1/6 (AKA Aaron Stephanus) is an African-Australian in the truest sense. Schooled in Africa until the ripe age of 18, 1/6 returned to his country of birth to experience a new life in Melbourne. Allowing this talented young lyricist to build a promising career as one of our most important emerging artists.

Inspired by intelligent and provocative underground hip-hop emcees and their advanced wordplay, 1/6 was compelled to scribble his thoughts onto a page and deliver them skillfully on the mic. Placing more importance on creating a meaningful message for his audience, yet still wanting to bring the heat in the club via the music. His recent collaborations with acclaimed producer M-Phazes serving as evidence of a mature approach and first-class aesthetic.

Boasting regular appearances on stages both big and small with respected groups such as Illzilla, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, The Mega Horns, Polo Club, Black Jesus and his crew Pang Productions; 1/6 has become a seasoned performer since returning to his second home. And with future projects lined up with many of these groups including more collabs with M-Phazes and a solo release, we can expect more great work from this much loved emcee.

JIMBLAH: Recipient of the 2007 Initiative

Jimblah is a proud 22 y.o. larrakia/yanuwa/bardi/wardaman/walpiri man from Adelaide. Originally from the central desert, Jimblah has grown up being influenced by the local hip hop scene, which inspired him to start making his own music. Writing rhymes for ten years, and producing beats for two, he is currently working on his debut solo album, to be released early 08′.

SUBSKETCH: Joint recipient of the Hiltop Hoods Initiative 2006

Subsketch is a 22 year old MC & Producer originally from Sterling, South Australia. He has been making Hip Hop music for the last 7 years. However he is not bound by the genre in a stylistic context as his influences range widely through his avant-garde pop culture sensibilities.

After winning the Hilltop Hoods Initiative in November of 2006, Subsketch, with funding secured, took to the studio with tunnel-vision commitment that all but left his work/social life & mental state in faded tatters. The resulting album, aptly titled Cheaper Than Therapy is set for release in November. The CD is 11 songs, entirely self-produced, largely influenced by sleep deprivation, caffeine jitters & the winter of 2007.

Although relatively unknown outside of his immediate area, Subsketch has been actively involved in the local Hip Hop scene for at least the last 6 years. He has performed at the Fringe Festival and alongside Pegz, Certified Wise, Delta, Hilltop Hoods & that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He has released 2 EP’s in true d.i.y. fashion, individually burning up 100s of CDRr’s to get to anyone who would listen. These eventually found there way to extensive play on community radio both locally & interstate. As for the immediate future. The album will be let out of the box in November & the album launch will soon follow (details TBA). With work already started on the follow up, Subsketch won’t be going away any time soon.

PARTICULAR PEOPLE: Joint recipient of the 2006 Initiative

The musical content of the album has a wide and varied range covering pretty much every aspect of the hip hop genre and maybe slightly beyond for a few examples. Styles covered include heavy, hard edged beats ,heavy sampling  with big bad ass synthy basslines. Softer more musical productions using more pianos, horns, etc. Dedicated turntablist tunes with intricate and complex layers of scratches and sampling, and straight instrumental tracks with some sampling and cuts but no raps. (For the MCs out there amongst the punters.)  We have done things this way so as to allow us to fully showcase the individual musical elements and tastes of each of the members.

The album will also include a number of collab tracks with well known local and interstate artists. Including Mind Over Matter (Syd) + Final Cause and Legacy (SA) on a bangin 5 MC Mashup. Plus more to be announced.

As for the final release date of the album, it was originally planned for late 2007 however, their final release will now be early 2008. The actual finished product is still projected to be late this year, with mastering / cd production booked for late November.

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Recipient of the 2005 Initiative

General Knowledge started off as three young mates from Adelaide. They developed the title “General Knowledge” some time in 2003 when the list of completed songs was growing. Their first stage performance in 2004 earned them first place in a “Battle of the Bands” competition and gave them the push they needed to move on from backyard MCs to start producing professional sounding music. At this time General Knowledge consisted of Detail, Jabs and Endure and together they started on their first full length self titled album.

In 2005 General Knowledge caught wind of a grant being offered by the Hilltop Hoods called the Hilltop Hoods Initiative. As General Knowledge had now finished their album they decided to apply. They won the grant and now had the monetary backing they needed to release their album. It was at this time that General Knowledge went through some major changes. Endure left the group and Detail and Jabs decided to start the first album from scratch.

A year later (2006) “General Knowledge – 5pm Friday” was independently released nationally, distributed by Obese Records. The album was well worth the wait and sparked a lot of interest among the hip hop community. Following the release General Knowledge performed next to the likes of Grandmaster Flash and Jurassic 5 with 2 time Aus/NZ champion DJ Sum1 backing their sets.

Earlier this year (2007) MC Detail released his highly successful solo album titled “Detail – Get In Line”. Both “General Knowledge – 5pm Friday” and “Detail – Get In Line” are available in stores nationally or online at or on iTunes.

Since winning the Hilltop Hoods Initiative General Knowledge have gone from strength to strength. The grant was a foot in the door to many aspects of the music industry. They have two albums currently on shelves (General Knowledge – 5pm Friday and Detail – Get In Line). Both albums are selling well and they are performing the tracks at many big events. In the near future General Knowledge will be releasing their second full length album as well as Jabs’ first solo album.