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One of Australia's most popular new musical acts has been forced to cancel the first two performances of their first national tour, with police raising concerns about public safety at the gigs.
Background Briefing understands the rest of the tour is unlikely to go ahead, though so far only the Melbourne and Adelaide shows have been cancelled.
OneFour, which hails from Mount Druitt in Sydney's west, has cancelled this Wednesday's scheduled performance in Adelaide. It follows the cancellation of the tour's opening show in Melbourne, which had been due to be performed last Sunday.
In a statement provided exclusively to Background Briefing, the group's management said they believed the Melbourne show was cancelled at the request of NSW Police and accused police of "adopting a singularly youth-focused, 'fear-based' censorship strategy."
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The rap group Onefour , from western Sydney say police are shutting them down. Australia's first drill rap group claim their concert has been cancelled by police as authorities work to The move comes just weeks after New South Wales Police created Strike Force Imbala to crack down on an
OneFour's management said the cancellations "set a dangerous precedent [with] police ultimately determining which artists can and can't play at music venues in Australia."
Rap group OneFour says national tour now 'unlikely to proceed', points finger at police
The popular western Sydney rap group says its national tour will likely be cancelled after venues around the country pulled their billings due to "pressure from the NSW Police".OneFour, a "drill" rap group hailing from Mount Druitt, said on Tuesday that its national tour was "unlikely to proceed" after venues in Melbourne and Adelaide pulled their billings because of public safety concerns.
OneFour , Australia’s first drill rappers , now have even more in common with their UK Drill counterparts: censorship. This weekend, the rappers announced that their live performance with French-British rapper Octavian was “shut down” by NSW Police
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They also accuse the police of applying "improper pressure" to venue owners nationally.
"NSW Police also risk the perception that they have an inherent, in-built bias against youth and disadvantaged communities," the statement said.
Group has history with police
NSW Police has previously raised concerns about the safety of attendees at OneFour concerts, and a number of previous concerts have been cancelled. Earlier this year, the group claimed the cancellations are the result of police pressuring venues.
In a statement provided to the ABC in response to queries about the current tour, NSW Police said they "work closely with venues and event organisers to ensure the safety and security of attendees, the wider community, and police.
"There will be a visible police presence at the event to ensure the safety of concert-goers."
In court documents seen by Background Briefing, police allege that OneFour is connected to an ongoing turf war between rival groups representing Sydney's inner west and greater west, and that the group's lyrics incite violence. They have recently established Strike Force Imbara to investigate the feud, and have raised their concerns about public safety directly with venues.
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OneFour's tour was organised by Live Nation, one of Australia's biggest touring companies. The group were scheduled to perform in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Auckland. The first show was due to be held in Melbourne last Sunday but was cancelled the day prior.
In a statement, Live Nation said the performance was cancelled "due to reasons beyond our control … OneFour at 170 Russell [the venue] can no longer take place."
The cancellation of the Melbourne show was met with anger by other Australian musicians.
On Twitter, Australian rapper Briggs said, "the way OneFour are being treated is unfair & b-------. Let the boys play. Let them thrive and be great."
Singer Thelma Plum wrote, "absolute trash that this keeps happening".
The group released their first major singles, Shanks and Shivs and The Message, earlier this year and have since exploded in popularity. They have over half a million monthly listeners on music streaming platform Spotify and their music videos have clocked up over 23 million views on YouTube.
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Despite their significant popularity. the group has struggled to perform live shows. In July, they were booked to open for UK rapper Dave at Sydney's Enmore Theatre but the show was cancelled due to "unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances," according to a statement released by the group at the time.
In August, OneFour were slated to support French-British rapper Octavian at the Oxford Arts Factory in Sydney. The venue was upgraded to Max Watts in Moore Park due to high demand, but the show was also cancelled, two weeks before it was due to go ahead.
In a statement posted to Instagram at the time of the show's cancellation, OneFour said: "This is the third time the NSW Police have pressured the venue we were due to perform at and it's getting fkn [sic] frustrating.
"They want to get us off the street, yet they won't give us a chance to. We've played three shows with no problems, yet they're still trying to shut us down. While we're trying to work and be productive, they want to flex their authority."
Last Friday, OneFour made a rare public appearance by surprising the crowd at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion and opening for US rapper Juice Wrld. The unannounced nature of the performance highlights the group's struggles with playing to live crowds.
Members of group have spent time in jail
Some of the group's members have seen jail time or are currently facing charges. NSW Police have previously claimed OneFour members have been involved in violent public brawls, though there have been no reported incidents of violence at OneFour's live performances.
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At a bail hearing earlier this week, crown prosecutors opposed an attempt by lawyers of one of OneFour's members to vary his conditions in order to allow him to tour. Prosecutors argued the group had "criminal links" and that there was a risk of further offences being committed.
The group's management said the group deserved an opportunity to succeed.
"OneFour's songs depict a life of adversity and conflict that few outsiders have access to but that has connected them to a wide and growing fan base," said a spokesperson for the management company.
"They have come out of one of the most disadvantaged postcodes in Australia and are on the verge of being the first rap band to break into the US and UK music scene.
"That opportunity to transform their lives is now being denied."
OneFour is considered Australia's first "drill rap" group. Drill, a grittier form of hip-hop, originated from Chicago but has more recently been associated with the UK.
A number of UK drill rappers have been prohibited from performing in public due to police allegations they are linked to "gang-related violence".
The ABC has contacted NSW Police for a response to OneFour's comments.
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