Bliss n Eso

Bliss n Eso are an Australian hip hop group based in Sydney, and were originally known as Bliss n' Esoterikizm.


The trio, American born, MC Bliss (Jonathan Notley), Australian MC Esoterik (Max MacKinnon) and DJ Izm (Tarik Ejjamai) of Moroccan heritage have been friends (and have rapped together) since high school. Notley moved to Australia in 1992 when he was just thirteen and met MacKinnon at the Glenaeon Steiner School in Sydney.
"When I got to Australia, I met Eso (MacKinnon) and he was the only guy at my school into hip-hop. It was so scarce you'd be lucky to find a hip-hop record in a store let alone a whole section." - Notley
"Back then hip hop was basically non-existent; there was no urban or hip-hop section in the CD stores. You’d be lucky to find a couple of albums like a Public Enemy album or something if you went to the CD stores. So I guess that’s one of the reasons why Max, who’s Eso, and I kinda bonded at high school, I think, because he was really the only other guy in the school who was into hip-hop." - Notley
Notley later moved to Mosman High School which is where he met Ejjamai.The group initially went by the name of ‘Bliss n Esoterikizm’, but that proved to be too much of a mouthful for most people so it was shortened to just Bliss n Eso.

In 2000 they issued their first release, the EP The Arrival, under the name 'Bliss n Esoterikism', which was followed by a mixtape CD. Bliss n Eso were the winners in the Hip Hop category at the 2003 Music Oz Awards and nominees for Artist of the Year in 2004. Signing to Obese Records, in 2004 they released their full-length debut, Flowers in the Pavement, with production by Suffa, Weapon X, and Bliss.

In December, 2005 the trio performed as a support act for 50 Cent on his 'Get Rich Or Die Trying' tour together with G-Unit and Lil Jon.

The group then switched labels to Illusive Sounds and released their second official album, Day of the Dog, on March 4, 2006. The album features production from Bliss, Weapon X, Suffa, and MC Motley, among others. It also features guest spots from British emcees MC Motley and Mystro, as well as fellow Sydney MC, Hyjak. Day of the Dog debuted at #43 on the ARIA Album Charts, making it the first Australian hip-hop release to debut in the top 50. The group undertook a national tour in March - April to support the album. Day of the Dog was then entirely remixed by Gold Coast producer M-Phazes (Supastition, Kenn Starr) and released later that year as Day of the Dog: Phazed Out. The album was nominated for Best Urban Release at the 2007 ARIA Awards the award was won by the Hilltop Hoods for The Hard Road Restrung.

The group's third single, "Then Till Now", which contains remixed instrumental elements from the Hilltop Hoods song "Riding Under One Banner", received airplay on Triple J, rage and Video Hits. "Mad Tight", their fourth single, was played on radio stations Triple J, 3RRR,, PBS, and on FBi. The music video was shown on rage.

In 2007 Bliss n Eso travelled to North America, playing shows in the North-West of the US and Canada including a performance at the Whistler 2007 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

"We did a small run of the northwest states, around Portland area and then went up to Whistler in Canada and we did a sold out show in Whistler, which was unreal, to go all the way across the world and have a whole bunch of Aussies screaming at you" - Notley

In October, 2007 they released the first single of their yet to be released album, "Bullet and a Target", featuring the Connections Zulu Choir (a 21 piece African Choir from South Africa), which recorded at Jimmy Barnes’ home studio in Sydney and reached #46 on the ARIA Singles Charts. The track features a remixed version of Citizen Cope's song by the same title. 100% of all profits from the sale of the song goes to The Oaktree Foundation, Australia's only youth-run international aid and development organisation.

Following up on their collaboration with the choir, Bliss N Eso embarked on a journey in June, 2007 with MTV and the Oaktree Foundation to some of the poorest regions in South Africa to complete the track and shoot the video clip for "Bullet and a Target". Bliss N Eso also shot a documentary with Evermore produced by MTV, aimed at creating awareness about the challenges faced by developing communities in Africa. The film clip and 30 minute documentary aired exclusively on MTV and received attention from the media and the public. Recently the group have been nominated for the 'Good Karma Award' for these efforts at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

Bliss n Eso were one of the Australian hip hop artists featured in the documentary Words from the City, which aired on ABC Television in late 2007.

The group's latest album, Flying Colours, was released April 26, 2008 - coinciding with a national tour by the group, along with True Live, Funkoars and The Winnie Coopers. The album debuted a week later at #10 on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart, and it remained in the ARIA Top 100 for the following 12 weeks. The album was nominated for a J Award in August, 2008 and also nominated for an ARIA award for 'Best Urban Release'

In August, 2008 Bliss n Eso performed at the Splendour in the Grass festival and at the Trackside Festival in Canberra. They are planning to re-release Flying Colours later in 2008, with a bonus DVD and will be touring Canada at the end of the year.





  • "Up Jumped the Boogie" - Liberation (January 30, 2006)
  • "Party at My Place" (2006)
  • "Then Till Now" (2006)
  • "Mad Tight" (2007)
  • "Bullet and a Target" featuring Connections Zulu Choir - Liberation (October 29, 2007) #46 AUS
  • "Woodstock 2008" (2008)
  • "The Sea is Rising" (May, 2008)

Compilation appearances

  • Empirical Records Present... 'Straight from the Art' (2003), Warner Music (Australia) (song: "Greenhouse")
  • Triple J Hip Hop Show (2005), ABC Music (song: "This Is for You")
  • Triple J Home and Hosed—Bangin' n Breedin' (2006), ABC Music (song: "Then Till Now")


External links

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