"At its best, it’s when the music is the soundtrack to the lifestyle and the pressures of living in any city anywhere... and the frustration and the poetry that comes with that."

Named for the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, Melbourne based TZU formed in 1999 and consists of two MCs - Joelistics and Seed MC - turntablist Paso Bionic, and drummer, sampler and all round beat maker Yeroc. In 2005, as the crew expanded their Roots-like experimentation with live instruments and song structures, keyboardist Duzy What joined the crew. Their debut EP ‘um… just a liddlbidova mic check’ was released in 2001 and their 2004 album ‘Position Correction’ is a breakthrough hip hop classic. Reknowned for their playful melding of freestyles, golden era hip hop, live funk and political tracts, TZU have played to diverse audiences from remote communities to the Big Day Out.

Words from the City began filming with TZU several months after the release of their second album, 'Smiling at Strangers' and just days after the Cronulla race riots in Sydney, so discussions moved quickly from lyrics and freestyling to politics and nationalism as we followed them on stage and off in different parts of the country.


Joelistics, freestyling live at St Jeromes, Melbourne, VIC