Not going to lie, when I first put on Startup Cult, from Australian rapper Allday, I was prepared to write it off with all sorts of probably hilarious “the other white Australian rapper” jokes. But damn, then something weird happened: I actually enjoyed it.
The 24 year old Tom Gaynor certainly traffics in the type of sad-boy rap that will familiar to anyone who’s turned on the radio in the past few years, but there’s a musicality to his songs that elevates them beyond the typical. For every track where he comes hard, or relatively hard, like “Right Now”, there’s one that showcases his sense of melody and song-writing, like “You Always Know the DJ.”
The inevitable Drake comparison isn’t one he shies away from.
“That’s a song I had in my brain for a long time before I got it made,” he says of the latter track. “I really love the song ‘Find Your Love’ off Drake’s first album and we definitely referenced that and 808s & Heartbreak on this.
“Taking Hold” is an even more introspective, nocturnal confessional, and one he calls his favorite on the record. Who hurt him on this one? “It’s supposed to sound like it’s about a girl but it’s actually about when I was 19 and I was heavy into codeine.”
Oh. Well, that still sounds sad I guess. Elsewhere he pays homage to his hometown of Adelaide, in the south of Australia, on “Another Night At Windy Point”, a more subdued track that eschews hooks and focuses on the spoken word. Wind Point is where he and his friends used to park their cars and smoke up and look out over the city he says.
Check out the full stream of the record below, re-released this month in the US from Wind-Up Records.