The Tongue

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The Tongue
The Tongue @ Metro City (20 5 2011) (5771500314).jpg
Background information
Birth name Xannon Shirley[1]
Also known as Lil' Teezy, Osama Bin Rappin
Origin Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Hip hop
Years active 2004-present
Labels Elefant Traks[2]
Associated acts Astronomy Class, Urthboy, The Herd, Ozi Batla, Spit Syndicate, Horrorshow, Hermitude, Thundamentals, Bag Raiders, DJ Skoob, Joyride
Website Official Webpage

Xannon Shirley, better known by the stage name The Tongue, is a musical artist from Sydney, Australia, and is signed to Australian independent label Elefant Traks. He has released an EP (Bad Education), three albums (Shock And Awe, Alternative Energy and Surrender To Victory) and three mixtapes (Redux,[3] The Tongue Is Dead and "The Sextape).[4]


The Tongue is a MC/songwriter from eastern Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.[citation needed]

Musical career[edit]

Tongue is especially known for his live freestyle ability. He represented Australia in the "Battle 4 Supremacy" competition/DVD against New Zealand in 2005 and won the Revolver MC battle the same year.[5] Tongue's songs have been placed on rotation by national Australian youth broadcaster Triple J.[6]

Tongue was signed by independent Sydney record label Elefant Traks following the submission of the Bad Education EP to the Marrickville-based label—the EP was a result of the Revolver victory and featured the production skills of the Bag Raiders (Jack Glass and Chris Stacey), who were former schoolmates of the MC. Elefant Traks, managed by Tim Levinson (Urthboy) from Australian hip hop collective The Herd, explained to Tongue that a record contract would be arranged on the proviso that the MC also recorded an album for the label.[5]

In 2009 Tongue hosted the Elefant Traks 10th Anniversary Party Live DVD that was released nationally the same year.[7] The MC also performed the songs "Bad Education", "The Punch", "The Blues" and "The Real Thing" at the anniversary event.[8]

On 11 November 2012, Elefant Traks performed a tribute to children's author Dr Seuss. Featuring over 25 musical performers, the event occurred at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia and featured a recital of "Gerald Mc Boing Boing" by The Tongue.[9][10]

As of May 2013, Tongue has released an EP and three albums on Elefant Traks. His second album Alternative Energy features production from El Gusto (Hermitude) and M-Phazes,[11] while his third album Surrender To Victory was solely produced by Cam Bluff from Queensland, Australia. Tongue has also released three free mixtapes in the years 2008, 2009 and 2011.[12]

Elefant Traks announced the release of The Tongue's third album on 30 January 2013, stating that the album, entitled Surrender to Victory, would officially be released on 29 March 2013. The release of a single, entitled "Drums", preceded the album release date and a promotional video was published on the label's YouTube profile. Filmed by Benny Edwards and edited by Frank Meets Wolf, the video contains visual segments that assert that Tongue is one of Australia's most respected MCs and that Surrender to Victory is the "album of his career". The video also reveals that the album was produced by Cam Bluff and features Suffa from the Hilltop Hoods.[13]

The first instalment of a 15-part web video series was published on 12 March 2013 and is described as "a little insight into his new album"—the series was directed by Luke Bouchier.[14] Surrender To Victory was recorded over a three-month period and involved a single producer, in contrast to the multiple producers that were involved with the previous two albums.[4]

Following the release of Surrender To Victory, Tongue revealed that his intention from the outset of his musical career was to release at least three albums; when asked if the third album is his last as "The Tongue", he replied: "If I was gonna do another album it would be with Cam [Bluff], for sure. Basically I’m gonna see how this tour goes, it’s been a while since I went on tour, and if I get to the end of this tour and feel like there are enough people out there that get what I’m doing, then I’ll get straight into doing the next album.”[4] In early May 2013, the MC announced a national Australian tour in support of the third album that will be undertaken over June and July 2013.[15]

Tongue was involved in a Twitter-based controversy that was based on an interview that he completed with the website, in which he spoke of fellow Australian hip hop artists 360 and Chance Waters. The conflict erupted after the website posted the following "tweet" on 26 March 2013: "@TheTongueIsDead fired shots at #ozhiphop rappers @3ree6ixty & @chancewatersau in our interview. 'Chance can't rap & 60 is a bad role model'". Tongue then asserted that his quotes were taken out of context and posted a link to the full interview for the public's benefit.[16] In late April 2013, Tongue reflected on the incident in an interview with website: "“It was a storm in a teacup, really. It was my opinion. I’m frank with my opinions, and I don’t apologise for having an opinion. And it wasn’t ‘beef’. It was just me saying, ‘Sorry, I don’t like your music.’ I don’t have to like every Australian hip-hop artist, do I? I didn’t sign a contract that said I did.”[5] Waters published a statement on his Facebook fan page and concluded, "but we're not going to thrive if we can't accept change, or at least be publicly friendly to each other in regards to our differences."[17]

The official music video for the song "Australian Dreaming" from Surrender to Victory was published on the Elefant Traks YouTube channel on 5 June 2013. Produced by the LESMEC company, the video features Tongue in a variety of roles, including a street-based sex worker, a police officer, and a drug dealer.[18]

Live performance[edit]

The Tongue has toured extensively around Australia since 2006 and, from 2006 to 2010, he also toured as a backup vocalist with Sydney group Astronomy Class (Ozi Batla, Chasm and Sir Robbo).[19]

The Tongue has performed at major Australian festivals, including the Big Day Out, Good Vibrations Festival, Groovin The Moo, Sydney Festival, Peats Ridge, Sounds Of Spring, Coaster and Park Jam.[20][21] He has also completed national tours with Astronomy Class, Drapht and Pharoahe Monch.[22][23]


The Tongue has recorded with Dudley Perkins, Ozi Batla, DJ Diaz,[24] Urthboy, Bertie Blackman, Bag Raiders, Gift Of Gab (Blackalicious), Katalyst, Braintax, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Muph & Plutonic.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Tongue is completing a five-year education course in 2013 and was undertaking a placement at a Randwick, New South Wales, Australia school in early 2013.[5] He mentioned on Triple J's Hack program (episode aired Friday 19 July 2013) that he teaches geography.[citation needed]



  • Bad Education - Elefant Traks (2006)[26]


  • Shock & Awe - Elefant Traks (2007)[27][28]
  • Alternative Energy - Elefant Traks (2010)
  • Surrender To Victory - Elefant Tracks (2013)


  • Redux - (2008)
  • The Tongue Is Dead - (2009)
  • The Sextape - (2011)[12]

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • Triple J Hip Hop Show - (2005) (song: "Counterfeit Cheques")
  • Trampled - The Elephant Traks Remix Album - Elefant Traks (2006) (song: "Corruption Dub")
  • Elefant Traks 10th Anniversary Party DVD - Elefant Traks (2009)

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Rule, Dan (4 January 2008), "Over the Hilltops, still far away?", The Age 
  2. ^ Beaumont, Anita (4 November 2010), "Tongue firmly in cheek", The Newcastle Herald 
  3. ^ "The Tongue & DJ Skoob Redux 2008 - The Tongue and DJ Skoob at Fanny's Nightclub, Newcastle, NSW on 4 July 08". 4 July 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c KRISSI WEISS (23 January 2013). "The Tongue". Beat. Furst Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d MATTSHEA (12 April 2013). "The Tongue: "I don’t have to like every Australian hip-hop artist, do I?"". The Vine. Digital Media. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Young, Kane (18 October 2007), "Rolling off The Tongue", Hobart Mercury 
  7. ^ Cameron (22 September 2009). "Elefant Traks 10th Anniversary Party DVD". Certified Scribe. WordPress. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Elefant Traks - 10th Anniversary Party Live @ the Forum". iTunes Preview. Apple, Inc. 15 August 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Dr Seuss Meets Elefant Traks". Sydney Opera House. Sydney Opera House. 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Elefantraks (21 April 2013). "Dr Seuss: Gerald Mc Boing Boing (Recited by the Tongue)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Apter, Jeff (24 September 2010), "Alternate Energy review", The Sydney Morning Herald 
  12. ^ a b "The Tongue Facebook Page". Facebook. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Benny Edwards; Frank Meets Wolf (28 January 2013). "The Tongue: Surrender To Victory (Out March 29, 2013)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Elefanttraks (12 March 2013). "The Tongue: Inside Surrender To Victory - Part 1 of 15" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Sosefina Fuamoli (5 May 2013). "The Tongue's "Surrender to Victory" tour kicking off in Melbourne on June 8!". the AU review. Heath Media & the AU review. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  16. ^ Mike Hohnen (26 March 2013). "The Tongue Vs. Chance Waters". Music Feeds. Music Feeds. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Chance Waters (26 March 2013). "I know a bunch of you have been following today's events on Twitter, here's my thoughts ...". Chance Waters on Facebook. Facebook. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  18. ^ Elefanttraks (5 June 2013). "The Tongue - Australian Dreaming (Official Video)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Astronomy Class". Elefant Traks. Elefant Traks. 1998–2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "triple j events: Ausmusic Month 06: Next Crop Artist: The Tongue". 31 October 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  21. ^ "Stream: The Tongue Returns With Explosive New Single "The Show"!". Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  22. ^ "The Tongue Artist Page". Elefanttraks. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  23. ^ Gene (18 October 2006). "Astronomy Class take their debut release on the road". The Dwarf. The Dwarf. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  24. ^ Moran, Jonathon (30 September 2007), "Shock & Awe review", The Sunday Mail 
  25. ^ "The Tongue op MySpace Music – Gratis gestreamde MP3’s, foto’s en Videoclips". Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  26. ^ Sasson, Chloe (19 October 2007), "Shock & Awe review", 29 September 2006 
  27. ^ "HR Dept. Highly recommended releases", MX (Australia), 15 October 2007 
  28. ^ Sasson, Chloe (19 October 2007), "Shock & Awe review", The Sydney Morning Herald 

External links[edit]