It has been some time since I left a gig feeling so ready to kick ass. Fresh, fiery and full to the brim – that’s the undeniable charm of Danzel Baker, a.k.a Baker Boy.
The Melbourne-based rapper and producer has all but leapt to the forefront of the Australian music industry over the last couple of years and he’s showing no signs of reigning it in.
It’s a simple desire to communicate, educate, and bridge worlds together that informs Baker Boy’s purpose and drives his music.
Growing up in the Yurrwi communities in Arnhem Land, Baker fostered a passion for performing from a young age.
Molded by a rich confluence of centuries old song and dance and his dad’s record collection of golden age hip-hop artists, he found an outlet in the Yolngu dance troupe Djuki Mala, and eventually a spot as a mentor with the outreach group Indigenous Hip Hop Projects.
Working to engage with young people in remote communities through music, language, art and dance, it’s this simple desire to communicate, educate and bridge worlds together that informs Baker’s purpose and drives his music.
In the space of just two years, he’s traversed from picking up freestyle rapping, to writing and recording, signing with Select Music, impressing at BIGSOUND, taking out triple j’s Unearthed NIMA prize, sweeping the festival circuit, and opening for cornerstones Dizzee Rascal and 50 Cent on their Australian tours.
For his own headline tour, I was ready to cop the full Baker Boy experience, which wasn’t complete, of course, without his tight-knit crew of friends and collaborators. Opening for the opener was Kian who serenaded the crowd with a few tunes before turning the stage over to Dallas Woods.
Delivering with a potent balance of power and passion, Woods’ set reminded me of how hip-hop should be – poignant, inclusive and galvanising. Totally immersive at every moment. And this was just a precursor for what was to come.
Danzel’s energy is utterly infectious and all-encompassing. There wasn’t a still bod in the joint as he broke out on stage, seemingly setting the place on fire. Joining him was his drummer (Benny Clark), DJ (Michael O’Connell) and performances from dancers Billy Parker and Lukas Bellisini (Justice Crew) who joined Baker for some awesomely choreographed numbers.
Black Magic, Marryuna, Sweat Limit, Mr La Di Da Di, Treaty; it didn’t matter, every track was met with equal parts of energy, which Baker matched with that love, appreciation and coolness he’s become synonymous with.
Words can barely do a Baker Boy show justice. It’s something you need to see unfold before your eyes.