Independent Artist of the Week: LIL YOUNGINS
April 5th 2023
There’s some powerful hip hop coming out of Arnhem Land, on Kunibidji Country. It’s bouncy, it packs heat, and it’s made waves we’ve felt all the way from Eora. Our Independent Artist of the Week this week is Maningrida-based rap group LIL YOUNGINS.
Their debut single ‘The Problem’ dropped last month. Tackling the topic of youth crime, the song looks to shift the blame from Maningrida kids to the system that failed them. Members 808 Mello, DK and Tillo joined Lill Scott on Up For It! to talk through the track, their roots, and a J-MILLA collaboration.
Youth crime in the Northern Territory has been a massive media focus in 2023. From alcohol bans (which have proven to be punitive (see the Northern Territory Intervention), to tough-on-youth-crime laws (which see First Nations people account for 90% of young people in detention in the NT), it’s clear something’s not working. LIL YOUNGINS say racism is the cause.
“A lot of racism and breaking in and stuff. There’s a lot of break-ins happening right now today. Yesterday someone broke in at the shops again. Cars getting stolen.”
“It’s still happening every day.”
“It’s kids always jumping into the rabbit hole every day. Just get forced. The system, it’s not really… To my point white and Bla(c)k are not really going along with each other as they should be as human beings.”
The boys told Lill about a cause and effect. The ‘rabbit hole kids jump into’ happens in response to the absence of meaningful support within their community. Through their song ‘The Problem’ and their interview with Lill, LIL YOUNGINS point out that if more attention was paid to the needs of Maningrida kids, youth crime might not be such a big problem.
“[The song ‘The Problem’ is about] the youth crime and the system. It’s like for the system to wake up. Start helping us. We don’t have like, activities happening here. Not enough activities for the kids. They don’t even go to school more often.”
Acclaimed artist J-MILLA creatively mentored the group for their new single. It’s a collaboration the boys initiated two years ago.
“We were thinking about making a song… And we thought about it. Someone texted J-MILLA an email I think… We had an interview with J. All together. So after that we started hanging out. Got used to each other. I texted J-MILLA if we could make a song.”
“It was two years ago. And he was like alright I’ll make song with you guys.”
J-MILLA told Pilerates he’s really proud of LIL YOUNGINS for the challenge they have taken on.
Want to hear more from LIL YOUNGINS? Listen back to the to their full interview with Lill Scott up top, or stream ‘The Problem’ below.