Rappers ready to party

Bringing the beats: Hilltop Hoods

Coronet Peak night skiers may find themselves rubbing shoulders with what some have described as one of the ‘hardest working groups’ in Australia this week.

Hilltop Hoods co-founder, rapper and producer Matthew ‘Suffa’ Lambert says he ‘‘definitely, definitely, definitely’’ has plans to hit the slopes when the band headlines one of Coronet Peak’s biggest night ski parties of the season as part of a long weekend of music, starting on Wednesday.

The Australian hip-hop group, members of which first met in high school in 1994 and put their first EP out in ’97, comprises Lambert, fellow co-founder Daniel ‘Pressure’ Smith and Barry ‘DJ Debris’ Francis, the latter a member since ’99.

It’s the first time in three years the group’s returned to New Zealand — performing at Coronet in 2019 as part of their ‘The Great Expanse’ world tour, they drew a crowd of about 5000 and are expected to draw similar numbers this time round.

Lambert says, based on their last gig, he’s well aware of the temperature shift Queenstown brings and admits he doesn’t handle the cold well, but will power through in the name of fashion.

‘‘Last time we played there, we played outdoors, we were still in shorts, so it seems like there’s no situation where we can be forced out of shorts into pants,’’ he laughs.

Crowds can expect the band to play their full set — a mix of old songs and new.

The group released a new single earlier this year, Show Business, and Lambert says the goal is to get an EP out next year.

He laughs as he reflects on how much things have changed since the group’s early days, almost 25 years ago.

‘‘Well that [first EP] is a very bad EP … it’s exceptionally, remarkably bad.

‘‘I like to think every record we make is a progression from that, up until the last record [The Great Expanse], which is a record I’m pretty happy with,’’ he says.

Support act: Raiza Biza

Home life has changed for Lambert too, his three-year-old daughter makes that apparent by mocking Lambert in the background of his interview with Mountain Scene, ‘‘blah blah blah blah’’ she taunts.

‘‘It quite suits me being a homebody and working from [the home studio] and hanging out with them,’’ he says.

‘‘I get to go down to the studio whenever I can and they get to have a stay-at-home dad, as well as someone that’s able to take them to school and that sort of thing, so it’s really nice, we’re really lucky.’’

Lambert says he’s not quite sure if his two daughters really comprehend what he does — having a rapper as a dad is pretty normal for them.

‘‘I think in a way they sort of think everyone’s dad does this, sort of like, ‘when’s your dad’s concert?’.

‘‘Our wider group of friends, most of them are in music as well, so they’re always around it and so it’s very normal for them.’’

Supporting Hilltop Hoods on stage for the first time will be Kiwi-Rwandan rapper Raiza Biza and DJ Jordan Lee, who the group’s performed with before.

Lambert’s excited to get back on the road, especially to visit Queenstown, where aside from the show, he’s got some special plans of his own.

‘‘I’m gonna need one of those [Ferg] burgers.

‘‘Last time we played [in Queenstown] I had one the morning I woke up, on the way there we grabbed two and I ate one before the show and one after the show.

‘‘I’m just waiting for them to franchise in Australia … evidently that’s not a thing that’s gonna happen … I can’t keep travelling to Queenstown for a burger … but I will.’’

Hilltop Hoods, Coronet Peak, Wednesday, from 4pm, free

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