Genesis Owusu’s debut Smiling With No Teeth has won Triple J’s coveted J Award for Australian album of the year.
Owusu took the main prize at the broadcaster’s annual J Awards, to beat out a list of LPs by the likes of Gretta Ray, Amyl and The Sniffers, Rufus Du Sol, Tones And I, and others.
Smiling With No Teeth stood out for its funk spirit, and leanings into hip-hop, jazz, punk, and soul, all cooked up with good humor and a taste for the experimental.
“From early in his career, Genesis Owusu made it obvious that he was an artist that you could not pigeonhole, and no better example of this is on Smiling With No Teeth,” comments triple j music director Nick Findlay.
“His debut album is equal parts chaos and consistency; a hugely ambitious record that absolutely nails its vision, wrapped up in outstanding storytelling and bold, confident sonic landscapes.”
Owusu scooped a second J Award, Australian music video of the year, for Smiling standout ”The Other Black Dog,” directed by Riley Blakeway.
The J Awards could be the first of many honors this month for the hip-hop artist.
A 2015 Unearthed High finalist, the Ghanian-Australian visionary (real name Kofi Ansah-Owusu) is the equal-leader heading into the 2021 ARIA Awards, with six nominations, including artist of the year and best album.
Also at the J Awards, rising Indigenous act King Stingray! took home the Unearthed artist of the year prize, while The Avalanches won Double J’s artist of the year award, for the duo’s third studio set, We Will Always Love You.
The Avalanches’ 2020 album has enjoyed the type of critical and commercial acclaim that’s reserved for only a select few electronic acts. The album debuted at No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart last December, and won the 16th annual Australian Music Prize back in March of this year.
Meanwhile, Brisbane indie artist Jaguar Jonze (Deena Lynch) was named winner of the 2021 Done Good Award.
“The reckoning against sexual harassment and assault in Australia’s music industry in 2021 wouldn’t be the same without Deena’s courage,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation notes.
As Jonze explained in June, victim-survivors “aren’t responsible for creating change,” the state-funded broadcaster notes. “And yet, Deena has selflessly used her own story to spark a conversation that will no doubt create a safer industry for the next generation of artists.”
In August, she won her first AIR Award for Outstanding Achievement in “calling out unacceptable behavior and raising awareness for the industry to have a code of conduct to ensure that all practitioners operate in safe and respectful environments.”
Due to lingering restrictions on border-hopping within Australia, organizers abandoned plans for a J Awards announcement party. Instead, the winners were announced throughout the day of Thursday across the Corporation’s platforms.