Remi Kolawole speaks out against government and media frenzy surrounding Melbourne’s African gang problem

DROPPING BEATS: Melbourne hip-hop duo Remi are planning to release a new single next month in time for their headline show at Dashville’s Gum Ball festival.AS a proud Nigerian-n RemiKolawole has seethedwithanger over the summer atheadlines declaring Melbourne has an African gang crime problem.

Fuelled by media reports, many have accused both the Federal and Victorian Governments ofmagnifying the situation for political gain.

Kolawole, one half of hip-hop duo Remi with producer “Sensible J” Justin Smith,is one of those critics.

“It’s quite clearly a political campaign and it’s always unfortunate when politiciansmake it quite clear that they’re only here to represent a portion of the community by pitting different communities against each other in the hope itpays off in votes,” Kolawole said.

“It is sad and what is just as sad is when people believe it and let that fear play into their psyche and let the government win.”

The 26-year-old has always spoken openly about racism.

Last year he appeared on the TV program SBS Uncensored to share his personal experienceof racism growing up on the Mornington Peninsulaand he has also writtenabout the issueon his albums Raw x Infinity (2014) and Divas and Demons (2016).

Remi ft. Sampa The Great – For GoodKolawole has beenin the studio in recent months working on Remi’s third album. The first single is expected to be released next month before his headline performance at Dashville’sGum Ball music festival.

AfterDivas and Demons was dominated byKolawole’s battles with depression, the new batch of songs are carrying a more positive outlook.

“It’s quite varied,” hesaid.“When you write albums that are as personal as the last one, you look at it critically and move forward from there because that’s all you can do.”

Kolawole’s cutting lyrics andbraggadocios style,combined with Smith’ssmooth productionsecured the duo the triple j Unearthed Artist Of The Year in 2013, which was followed by the n Music Prize in 2014 forRaw x Infinity.

“It definitely helped more than itinhibited,” Kolawole said of the awards.“As far as pressure, the worst pressure comes from ourselves, trying to live up to the standards we hold to ourselves against the people that have come before us.”

The Gum Ball has previously been dominated by alternative rock, blues and folk artistsbut this year’s festival will feature Remi and fellow hip-hop posse Butterfingers as headliners.

“I’m always excited to playoutside of your allocated genre,” Kolawole said.

Catch Remi alongside Butterfingers, The Bamboos, The Aints, The Cribs, Rocket Science, Ben Salter, The Creepshowand many moreat The Gum Ball from April 27 to 29.

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