Upper Hutt Posse have been named as the 2018 Legacy Award recipients, which will see the country’s hip hop pioneers welcomed into the Te Whare Taonga Puoro o Aotearoa/NZ Music Hall of Fame, as part of the NZ Music Awards ceremony in mid-November. Celebrated on the night with a tribute performance by Che Fu & The Kratez, 18 members of Upper Hutt Posse and their legacy will be acknowledged.
The timing is significant as it is now 30 years since the release of their society challenging 1988 track E Tū, widely hailed as Aotearoa’s first rap record. That 12” single more recently earned the band the Classic Record award at the 2016 Taite Music Prize Awards staged by IMNZ. Striking out against racism and injustice, the track established the group’s reputation as creators of new, powerful and inspirational music that challenged the status quo, and as fighters for social revolution in Aotearoa and beyond.
“After three decades I welcome this esteemed accolade because it accords with the appreciation and respect shown us all along by grassroots hip hop heads and lovers of conscious music – whom I acknowledge first and foremost,” says founding member and unstinting spokesman Dean Hapeta (aka Te Kupu/D Word) of the band’s NZ Music Hall of Fame induction.
“Furthermore, in today’s increasingly interconnected world where environmental degradation, war profiteering, misogyny, police brutality and white privilege can no longer be denied. I see our being recognised as according also with progressive activism over the last decade – from Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, to Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and protests against that miserable good-for-nothing skirt-chaser in the White House.”
Upper Hutt Posse released their debut album titled ‘Against The Flow’ in 1989, followed by 1995’s ‘Movement In Demand’ on released on their own Kia Kaha label. Released in 2011, ‘Declaration of Resistance’ was the seventh album from Upper Hutt Posse, described as an ‘album-as-manifesto’ and still pushing for social revolution.