|Birth name||Adam Briggs|
|Also known as||Briggs The Milkman|
|Born||28 August 1986|
|Origin||Shepparton, Victoria, Australia|
|Genres||Australian hip hop|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, record label owner, actor|
|Associated acts||Reason, Hilltop Hoods, Jaytee, Trials, Sietta, Joyride|
|Website||Golden Era Records artist page|
Adam Briggs (born 28 August 1986), who performs as Briggs, is an Indigenous Australian rapper, record label owner, comedy writer, and actor. Briggs became well known as a solo rapper, signing with Golden Era Records in 2009, before co-founding the hip hop duo A.B. Original in 2016.
As a solo artist, Briggs has released one EP, Homemade Bombs in 2009, and two albums, 2010's The Blacklist and 2014's Sheplife. He has also made appearances on songs with Hilltop Hoods, the Funkoars, Drapht and The Last Kinection. In the live arena, he has supported international artists such as Ice Cube, KRS-One, Necro, Ghostface Killah, Dilated Peoples, M.O.P., and Pharoahe Monch. In 2015, Briggs founded his own record label, Bad Apples Music, which has signed several Indigenous hip-hop artists and houses A.B. Original, a joint project with Trials from the Funkoars.
Extending his career beyond music, Briggs has appeared in several television series on ABC: as a writer and actor for the second season of the sketch comedy Black Comedy in 2016; playing the role of Maliyan in the drama series Cleverman in the same year; and becoming a regular cast member on news satire program The Weekly with Charlie Pickering in 2017.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music
- 3 Touring
- 4 Musical style and influences
- 5 Awards and nominations
- 6 Community representation
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Discography
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Briggs is an Indigenous Australian of the Yorta Yorta people and the tribe name is tattooed on his forearms. He has stated in an interview with G&T magazine that the tattoo's purpose is "so every time I rock the mic people know that I am representing."
...where I’m from a lot of people are pretty far behind in their race relations. ... Growing up in Shepparton, it’s big enough not be a small country town but it’s just not that big yet. There are still a lot of small minds and a lot of stagnant attitudes as well.
Briggs was a student at Shepparton High School and Wanganui Park Secondary College, where he briefly played guitar in a punk band prior to his involvement with hip hop. He also worked as a security guard at Shepparton's Yahoo Bar venue. Briggs explained in a December 2013 interview that making a name for himself in Shepparton, for a range of reasons, was not difficult and the area was actually a reminder of the larger experience that was open to him and the diligence required to become involved with a music scene that was more significant.
2005–2009: Independent artist, Homemade Bombs EP
Briggs initially became attracted to American rap music and formed a group named "Misdemeanour" with schoolmate Peter Shiels. After renaming the group "912" (a combination of their house numbers), they performed a gig in Melbourne with Australian hip hop artist Reason. Briggs later recalled that Reason was one of the first MCs that he had heard rapping with an Australian accent. Upon seeing the 19-year-old Briggs perform, Reason invited him to join an Obese Records record label tour to undertake a role as the established artist's "hype man" (similar to a back-up singer). Reason explained:
I was pretty taken aback by this ... this big fella with so much energy and so much passion standing up there, proud of his ... his world of Shepp, and rapping in a way that, you know, is so comparable to some of the greats, some of the more powerful MCs, you know, that I’ve followed over the years. And he was only 19 years of age.
Briggs then moved to the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda so that he could more easily access contacts in the local hip hop community. While in Melbourne, he struggled to pay rent with the social security benefits that he was reliant upon—Reason stated on the Message Stick program that this period was beneficial, as it provided Briggs with an insight that has assisted his growth since that time. Briggs later stated in December 2013 that sacrifice is the "cornerstone" of his career, and his time in Melbourne was greatly representative of the scant lifestyle that defined his time in the capital city. Briggs explained:
The biggest step was moving to Melbourne when I was 19 or so, sleeping on couches, floors, futons and in nooks or crannys until I built enough of a name doing shows. Sacrifice is the cornerstone of my career. I sacrificed comfort, food and a lot of the times, a roof, to make my name.
Briggs independently released his first EP Homemade Bombs in 2009 with the support of a monetary loan from Hilltop Hoods' MC Suffa. The recording included the song "Bad Move", for which a video clip was produced, and a collaboration with Reason that is titled "My Priority".
2009–2013: Golden Era Records, The Blacklist
The Hilltop Hoods signed Briggs to their Golden Era record label and invited him to be the support act on their 2009 European tour. Briggs accepted the tour invitation and the European trip represented the artist's first time overseas.
Briggs' debut full-length album The Blacklist was released in 2010 on Golden Era and included the single "The Wrong Brother" that was inspired by an incident in which Briggs was stopped from entering a Shepparton pub by security officers, only to be told, "Sorry mate, we got the wrong brother." Suffa appears in the music video for the song as a record label manager. The album also included the tracks "So Dangerous", with Trials (of Funkoars), and "I Wish". Briggs later revealed that he "didn't expect" the public's response to the album, which included a #3 ranking on the Australian iTunes hip-hop charts that lasted a duration of four days.
Briggs released his single "Rather Be Dead" on 27 July 2012 and uploaded a corresponding film clip onto his YouTube channel "BriggsTheMilkman" the previous day—as of September 2012, the video had received over 30,000 views. The single was added to playlists on Australian youth radio station Triple J—it was featured on the playlist of the Home and Hosed program on 26 June 2012 and then appeared on The Hip Hop Show on 2 July 2012.
Briggs initially announced the release schedule for his second album as late 2012; however, in October 2012, the artist revealed that this had changed to early 2013.
In May 2013, Briggs and Jaytee launched a podcast available via iTunes. On 20 May 2013, Briggs used an image from the John Hughes film Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for a promotional post for the podcast on his Facebook fan page.
Briggs commenced the recording of his second album, titled "ShepLife", in 2012. Briggs coined the term "ShepLife" as a reference to the local lifestyle in his hometown of Shepparton. Briggs has used the hashtag "#sheplife" on Twitter, written a song titled "#sheplife" that appears on the Golden Era Mixtape 2012 and released beanies emblazoned with "ShepLife". In an online interview, he explained the intention behind the album in relation to that of The Blacklist:
It was a pretty aggressive record. I said to Jay[tee Hazard, Briggs’ production partner] when I was working on stuff for the ShepLife album, "If The Blacklist was the punch in the face, ShepLife is why I punched you in the face." Shep Life's kinda like the prequel.
A promotional video for the title song of Sheplife was released on Briggs' YouTube channel on 19 August 2014—the video is directed by Oli Sansom and produced by Michelle Grace Hunder. The video consists of footage filmed in Shepparton, including sections in which Briggs is rapping in the back seat of a driving car.
Briggs' second album Sheplife was released on 22 August 2014 through Golden Era Records. The first single, "The Hunt", was released on 11 July 2014 and features a collaboration with Indigenous Australian artist Gurrumul. The corresponding music video for the first single was published on YouTube on 17 July 2014 and the two artists performed the song live for NAIDOC Week at the studios of the triple j radio station on 10 July 2014.
"Bad Apples" was the second single released from Sheplife and the corresponding music video was published on Briggs' YouTube channel on 27 August 2014. The video was filmed near Briggs' home town of Shepparton "at the crossroads just by the Murchison East Railway Hotel & Train station, an iconic and humble piece of history which sadly has since burnt down." In an October 2014 radio interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Briggs provided further insight into the song:
That's just how I think all the time. I'm just angry ... all the time. That's not a one-off ... But it's definitely not finished yet. I'm not done talking about that yet. And that's what's important to understand: with Sheplife, I've put a lot on the table, right? But, now that it's on the table, it doesn't mean there's a weight lifted off my shoulders. It's just that now I've put it on the table, it's gotta be talked about ... So, the discussion is there—I tried to not "beat around the bush" with "Bad Apples" and that was my ultimate goal: to make a track that was "in your face". That was scary for some people. That did make some people squirm; make some people think. I wanted to put that fear back in hip hop. That voice, you know, that fist back into rap music, because I hadn't seen it in this country for so long.
Briggs also stated in the interview that Shepparton is like a "bad friend that always lets you down". Sheplife debuted at number 16 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) charts.
Briggs released the music video of a collaborative song with Sydney-based artist Joyride on 9 October 2014. Featured on Briggs' YouTube channel, the video is co-directed by Briggs and the song is described as "all about skipping the honeymoon period and getting right into the plateau of the relationship—where none of the magic happens." Titled "Mike Tyson Love Thing", the song is produced by Western Australian artist Dazastah of SBX.
As part of a series of media appearances that occurred throughout 2014, Briggs was selected as an "IndigenousX" guest by the Guardian publication in mid-November. The IndigenousX series is based on a Twitter account—@IndigenousX—and the tagline "Our stories, our way". Guests are responsible for the series' Twitter account for a one-week duration, and are asked "to discuss topics of interest to them as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people"—Kaleesha Morris and Mark Ella are examples of previous guests. In his introductory interview, Briggs described himself as "An introvert with an extrovert’s career." He used the account to live-tweet his reaction to the SBS documentary series First Contact about six Australians who are challenged about their perceptions of Indigenous Australians.
As a prelude to Briggs' second Sheplife remix competition, a "Squad Remix" of the album song "Golden Era" was uploaded onto the Golden Era Records SoundCloud profile on 27 November 2014. Featuring the Hilltop Hoods, K21, Funkoars and Vents, the remix was described as venomous by the Tone Deaf website, due to the lyrical content. Contestants are required to download vocals file, in addition to other material, from the SoundCloud page to produce their entry. The first "#KingOfTheTown" remix contest was for rappers and was won by Sydney MC Sarah Connor in early September 2014.
2015–present: Bad Apples Music, A.B. Original
Briggs also formed a side project with Trials of the Funkoars, named A.B. Original, which also forms part of the Bad Apples label. A.B. Original supported Hilltop Hoods on their 2016 "Restrung" tour. In November 2016, A.B Original released their debut album, Reclaim Australia (named after the nationalist anti-Islam group that has held public rallies) and has shot to the top 10 albums on Australian iTunes. The album has been described as "angry, polemical, brutally frank and meant to inspire a response, good or bad" and features a variety of different Indigenous music artists, such as Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Dan Sultan and Thelma Plum. The duo also performed the song, Dumb Things, with Paul Kelly in the Triple J studios. This version of the song makes reference to Invasion Day, abuse of children in the Don Dale detention centre in the NT, Asylum seekers and blackface.
Briggs also appeared on the ABC's Cleverman as Maliyan. The A. B. Original song 'Take Me Home,' featuring Gurrumul Yunupingu, was written for and serves as the opening title, and is played throughout the show's first season.
Also in late 2010, Briggs was the support act on the Australian tour of American hip hop MC Ice Cube, who Briggs described as "my favourite rapper since I was a kid." Also in late 2010, Briggs supported Perth MC Drapht on his "Rapunzel" tour.
In early 2012, Briggs supported Alabama rapper Yelawolf on his Australian tour. In late 2012, Briggs toured alongside Horrorshow, as both were support acts for the Hilltop Hoods. Together with South Australian MC K21 and former mentor Reason, Briggs was announced as the support act for the Melbourne performance of Jeru The Damaja.
An Australian tour in support of the Sheplife album, with "special guest" Hau Latukefu, occurred in October and November 2014. American hip hop and spoken word artist Sage Francis selected Briggs as the main support act for the Melbourne and Sydney shows of his December 2014 Australian tour.
Musical style and influences
Briggs describes himself as a "rapper" and does not see the term as problematic, citing 50 Cent as an artist he listens to. He has named Dr. Dre, Big Pun, Notorious B.I.G. and Guilty Simpson as older influences, but also stated that he listens to contemporary American artists such as Pusha T and Danny Brown. Briggs has identified Australian artists Hilltop Hoods, Funkoars, Trem, Vents, Dazastah, Layla, Hunter and Bryte as influences.
During his experience of finalising Sheplife, Briggs explained that his songwriting is "sporadic":
I don’t have a set process, sometimes I get a beat and I work from that. Other times I’m driving my car and get an idea and start to work on something from there. The inspiration can come from anywhere. My writing is very honest, I just try to capture that moment as best as I can.
In terms of his sound and style, Briggs described an evolving process in late 2013, whereby his sound has become "loud, aggressive, hostile and endearing at the same time". However, he also uses the term "thoughtful" to describe the sound of his second album, and explained: "I am a lot more focused, I have a lot more direction. I’m still angry it’s just more mature now. I have a better idea of the sound I want to create and legacy I want to leave."
The Yorta-Yorta culture is also influential on Briggs's songwriting according to the MC:
I feel I represent my blood in everything I do, not just music. I dont feel the need to wave a flag in someones face at every chance I get because I’m already me ... I have my tribe tattooed on my arms and 2 Black, 2 Strong on my wrists. But thats me representing my people how I want. Not everyone is going to understand my path or my journey and they don’t have to. As long as I’m doing what I know is right and hold myself and my people to the esteem they deserve, no one can question me.
Briggs further explained in a November 2014 interview that his Yorta-Yorta heritage means that he represents "a long line of leaders and story tellers".
In terms of role models, Briggs identified his family in November 2014, with an emphasis placed upon his father and uncles, as they were central in his upbringing. Briggs explained that his familial ties provide him with a strong sense of security, "because if I’m right by them [family] I don’t need to worry." In the same interview, Briggs also spoke of the subjects that he most passionately explores through his music:
Self-esteem and goal accomplishment are two big issues I’d like to address—the idea and power of “choice” also, to reach goals and a sense of pride in your identity. These are the issues I was closest to growing up so these are the issues that really hit home for me.
While Briggs stated in 2014 that he seeks to inspire young indigenous rappers, as "They think their voice doesn’t belong within a predominantly white genre", he also asserted in an October 2014 Guardian interview that "It’s not about white rappers or Aboriginal rappers. It’s about good and bad."
Awards and nominations
Briggs received the "Best New Talent" award at the 2014 National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA).
Briggs hosted a concert that was co-ordinated by Shepparton organisation "Word and Mouth", in which local young artists from indigenous and refugee backgrounds participated in performances.
Briggs played for the Eastside Kings team in the 2012 Robert Hunter Cup, an Australian rules football match organised to honour the memory of Australian hip hop MC Hunter. Originally from Western Australia and a member of the Syllabolix crew, Hunter died from cancer in October 2011. The Cup event, which was inspired by an impromptu "kick-to-kick" game at a wake near the Melbourne Cricket Ground, was timed to coincide with the anniversary of Hunter's death and raised funds for Australian cancer charity CanTeen.
Briggs has also been a prominent figure in speaking out against instances of blackface in Australia, including two Ballarat men dressed as Aboriginal people, basketballer Alice Kunek, a young boy's mother who wanted to fulfill her child's wish of dressing as an indigenous football player without understanding the racial insentivity of doing so. and the Frankston Bombers Football and Netball Club, all of which arose in 2016.
Following his time as a resident of Melbourne, Briggs returned to his hometown of Shepparton in 2010. Briggs has explained, "I like being back home, with all my cousins and my friends who I grew up with – they keep me honest." Briggs then relocated to Melbourne for the second time in 2014, and provided a further insight into his experience of Shepparton following the move:
It’s [Shepparton's] predominantly a working-class town ... It’s a town with a mindset that’s very stagnant. It doesn’t like to budge. It’s a multicultural community in the sense that a lot of cultures live there, but there’s a difference between tolerance and acceptance. People tolerate it but they don’t accept it.
In a February 2014 interview, Briggs stated that he is separated from his daughter's mother and used the analogy of "spinning plates" to describe the process of balancing work and family life. Briggs also articulated his paradoxical experience of parenthood, whereby he feels both strengthened and made vulnerable.
- Homemade Bombs (2009, independent)
- The Blacklist (2010, Golden Era Records)
- Sheplife (2014, Golden Era Records)
- "Ain' No Place", Eloquor (Move Up, 2009, Donny Records)
- "Game Time", Maundz (Mr. Nobody, 2010, Obese Records)
- "Burning Bridges", The Last Kinection (Next of Kin, 2011, Elefant Traks)
- "The Eulogy", Drapht (The Life of Riley, 2011, The Ayems)
- "Let It Burn" and "The People's Champ" (Golden Era Mixtape 2011, 2011, Golden Era Records)
- "Lunchroom Table", with Trials, Suffa and Sesta (Golden Era Mixtape 2011, 2011, Golden Era Records)
- "Keep that Mouth Shut", Tornts (Concrete Slang, 2012, Broken Tooth Entertainment)
- "The Joint", Clandestien (Weapons Grade, 2012, Clandestien Productions)
- "#sheplife" (Golden Era Mixtape 2012, 2012, Golden Era Records)
- "The Underground" (Suffa remix), Hilltop Hoods (The Good Life In The Sun, 2012, Golden Era Records)
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- "The Wrong Brother" review on AllAussieHipHop.com
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“Being koori is me; it’s not a hat I take on or off. I have my tribe tattooed on my arm, so every time I rock the mic people know I’m representing” Briggs explained.
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