Dan the Underdog

Dan the Underdog is an award-winning Northern Territory based MC/producer. He has been pivotal in establishing the Northern Territory Hip Hop scene.  Since his humble beginnings with Teknikal Onslaught in Darwin to taking the nation by storm with Catch The Fly and DeadBeats, to starting Bring It On NT Battle league with Northern Versifiers Firm, to the solo artist he has become, he has always been about dope beats and a live stage show. 

Dan the Underdog was born in Adelaide, SA and raised in Buffalo, NY.  He started making beats from an early age, and by the time he finished High School, had already started gigging at pubs & parties and releasing albums, he used to burn them and sell them everywhere he went.  Many of his friends and family fell victim to vicious cycles of drugs, violence, unemployment and the criminal justice system, much of which runs rampant in Buffalo, America’s 3rd poorest city.  He decided to take another route and branch out on his own, using his dual citizenship to return to his country of origin, Australia. 

Dan the Underdog has always spread his production talent across the board, working with bands, crews, solo artists and workshop participants to help them get that sound they want.  His production work on TASK’s Out of the Darkness got him notoriety in 2006 when TASK won NT’s Emerging Artist award at the Indigenous Music Awards. He produced and co-wrote Off The Brackets, The NT Song Of The Year 2012 in the Urban category. In 2013, his production skills shone through again, taking out the Urban & People’s Choice Categories with Skank MC’s Northern Terror Story. In 2023 his collaboration with Katanga Junior “Rejected Love” earned them the number one spot in the “Territory Sounds Countdown” a Territory-wide music countdown dubbed “The Soundtrack to the Outback”. 

His day job is working with youth in indigenous communities, schools, and drop-in centres to develop tracks for various workshops and projects, helping countless numbers of youth organisations win competitions and get funding, but more importantly, build up the self-esteem of the young people involved. In 2006 he went to Papunya for his first remote school holiday program, beautiful music was made, lifelong friendships were formed, and inspiration was all around. This quickly turned into a career path he previously didn’t know existed.  

He continued his remote school holiday programs and started working with Incite as a young artist way back in 2010. During the school term, he did weekly workshops at the youth drop-in centre on a Friday night. In 2017 he took a job at Tivendale School working out of Don Dale Detention Centre up in Darwin. This was a great job but he eventually relocated back to Alice Springs and began working at Owen Springs School based at the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre.  

Dan finds that the young people going through the criminal justice system have lots to say, they have incredible stories to tell and the rawness in which they tell it is perfectly suited to the Hip Hop genre. When young people get out of the system he does follow-up sessions with the particularly keen participants through a relatively new program called Xpress, hosted by Incite Arts. He is currently mentoring 3 young artists who are on the verge of releasing full projects.  

In 2022-23 Dan collaborated with Incite’s Disability Performance Ensemble, stArts with D, to create and produce a range of original songs and soundtracks for 6 short films and a range of installations as part of their Strong Feelings presentation. The films were showcased at the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait23:Identity March – June. He is continuing his work with stArts with D as well as other artists engaged in programs with Incite.