The Hard Road is the fourth studio album by Australian hip hop group, Hilltop Hoods. The album was released on the first of April 2006 by Obese Records and debuted at number one on the Australia ARIAAlbums Chart. The album contains the top 20 single, "Clown Prince". The album achieved Gold status (35,000 units) on 8 April 2006, a week after release and has now surpassed Platinum status (70,000 units). The album won the Triple J J Award in 2006. The award was announced on 1 December. Five songs from the album placed on the annual Triple J Hottest 100 chart announced on 26 January 2007. Songs "Recapturing the Vibe", "Stopping All Stations", "What a Great Night", "Clown Prince" and "The Hard Road" placed No. 77, No. 56, No. 41, No. 23, and No. 3 respectively. "An Audience with the Devil" samples the spoken parts (the interview between Suffa and the Devil) from the Millennium episode "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me".
On 1 April 2006 Australian hip hop group, Hilltop Hoods, released their fourth album, The Hard Road, which peaked at number one on the ARIA Albums Chart. It was the first hip hop album by an Australian artist to do so. It was certified gold within a week of being released. Its lead single, "Clown Prince", reached the top 30 on the related ARIA Singles Chart. This featured guest verses from New York rapper, Omni, and British MCs, Mystro and Braintax. Hilltop Hoods received the inaugural Australian Independent Record (AIR) Award for Independent Artist of the Year and Best Performing Independent Album for The Hard Road in 2006. The track, "The Blue Blooded", is a collaboration with Australian MCs: Funkoars, Hau from Koolism, Mortar, Vents, Drapht, Muph & Plutonic, Pegz and Robby Balboa. On 27 April of the same year, Hilltop Hoods performed at the Bass in the Grass music festival in Darwin alongside fellow hip hop group, The Herd. That same day they issued a second single, the title track from the album. Its music video includes fellow members from the Certified Wise Crew – Cross Bred Mongrels, Terrafirma and Funkoars.
Following the success of The Hard Road Tour in early 2006, the Hilltop Hoods began their second national tour for the year, The Stopping All Stations Tour, which visited more regional areas of Australia as well as the capital cities. They were supported by Koolism and Mystro. Late that year, Hilltop Hoods released their third single from the album, "What a Great Night". The video shows the group at a club with camera shots panning up and down to reveal a new location. It used special effects and is one of the most expensive video clips for an Australian hip hop group, mirroring the group's rise in success and popularity. Also late in the year the band won the J Award for best album of the year from Triple J. They performed the Homebake Festival and Falls Festival before the end of the year. The Hard Road received the AIR Award for Best Independent Hip Hop/Urban Release in 2007.
Video clip of the first single "Clown Prince" is available for viewing on the CD.
Untitled secret track ("Ya Feel Big?", which works only on some stereos) - to access this track, start on track 1, "Recapturing the Vibe", and scan backwards. The song is about Hilltop Hoods' rise to fame and the struggles they endured because of this rise.
Due to the MCs Suffa and Pressure performing different verses and choruses of varying songs, the sections done by DJ Debris and the large number of guest artists featured on the album, what follows is an extensive list of song credits.