Baker Boy is a Milingimbi and Maningrida man who grew up in Arnhem Land up north in Darwin, Australia. He is a proud Aboriginal man who is strongly connected to hip hop and his community, which makes for some of the most interesting / unique hip hop out there. He has been making music for a few years now and his new track Ride showcases his musical and lyrical skill.
What makes Baker Boy so unique is his ability to weave his Indigenous language, Blak (this is the Aboriginal variation of “Black” in Australia) pride and story telling in with western hip hop structures. For example, the track begins with didgeridoo, which is a clear link to his mob in Arnhem Land and Indigenous culture. Moreover, he often raps in language used by Milingimbi / Maningrida people in a show of Blak pride and pride in his community / culture. And he is not just dropping a line here and there, but entire verses in another language. This forces the listener to see him as a both an Australian and an Aboriginal man. In this sense, white listeners and the public cannot erase his Blak pride as they are forced to engage with the track on his terms. This style is reclaiming the power, as well as representing for all his Indigenous listeners connecting with the track.
Baker Boy loves to rap about dancing and having fun with friends. Ride is no different as Baker Boy raps about dancing to a funk / Australian Indigenous music / hip hop fusion. I love the beats in this record and Baker’s delivery is fire. The part the is the most interesting is when he goes into a Digital Underground type 1990s breakdown with Baker’s Indigenous lyrics machine gunning over the top of it. This fusion of Indigenous culture and 90s hip hop exemplifies how Baker tries to blur the lines between his hip hop culture and Aboriginal culture. I love this fusion and how it is Baker’s statement that he will always be true to himself.
When it comes to hip hop, and most art really, the personal is the political. In a lot of ways, Baker Boy’s expression of himself as a proud Aboriginal man, through lyrics and music, is a political statement in itself. His music differs from Australian hip hop activists A.B. Original; however, the way he forces the listener to recognise his culture is a political statement. He is a very talented young artist I hope we continue to hear from in the future.
Listen to Ride