This militant debut from Upper Hutt Posse marked Aotearoa’s first hip hop record. Dean Hapeta announces himself with a history lesson proudly namechecking great Māori warrior chiefs of the 19th century — Hōne Heke, Te Rauparaha, Te Kooti — and their Māori Battalion successors. 'E Tū' is also a personal manifesto, with promises to preach the truth, but not to brag or wear gold chains. Hapeta's down the barrel delivery carries a degree of confrontation rarely seen from local musicians to that date. 'E Tū' won the NZ Classic Record Award at the 2016 Taite Music Awards, for an iconic record that still inspires.
It's great for a conscious song of resistance to be respected in this way, and although it already has a firm place in the hip-hop musical history of Aotearoa, this award is somewhat unexpected and therefore a little extra pleasing,– Upper Hutt Posse's Dean Hapeta on 'E Tū' winning the Classic Record Award at the 2016 Taite Music Prizes, 8 April 2016