The Jackie Onassis duo had a dream start to 2013 – scoring a coveted slot on the bill of their home town’s Big Day Out festival courtesy of Triple J Unearthed, then quickly following that up with international shout-outs from UK tastemakers Zane Lowe and Rob Da Bank. Both of the latter gave the duo’s track ‘Crystal Balling’ air time and props on BBC Radio 1, with Lowe following Triple J’s lead by anointing Jackie Onassis as an act to watch out for in 2013. And now in August signing with Sony Music Entertainment Australia (SME) will see the local Hip Hopers join other label mates including; A$AP Rocky and Drapht.
But what do two hip hoppers from Sydney’s Inner-West creative hub have in common with America’s tragic former first lady anyway? Though Kai (the MC) and Raph (the beat-maker and DJ) had known each other for a decade prior thanks to sharing a high school campus together (Spit Syndicate and Horror Show were fellow alumni), it was at a university American History tutorial that they reconnected and the seeds for their musical union were sewn. They were studying JFK, so the Jackie Onassis moniker was an obvious fit.
The duo’s knack for weaving dense storytelling, Gen-Y commentary and energetic, catchy choruses, amongst textured, contemporary production is captured perfectly on their Holiday EP –home to ‘Crystal Balling’, the track that has public broadcasters on both sides of the equator so enamoured of the pair. Up next for the pair is their ‘Juliette’ EP, which Kai says is a progression for Jackie Onassis even though the sessions for both EPs overlapped. “The tracks are more complex,” he says. “Special Occasion really twists and turns differently to the regular structure of Australian hip hop – or any hip hop.”