We go BTS with 3awadi ‘Sleep is my ultimate day- maybe a little ‘plant-based’ brownie and some music’

Join us in a chat with Mohammad Awad, aka 3awadi as we delve BTS of his latest music video release “Western Boys”

Hailing from the heart of Western Sydney, 3awadi is a complete dynamo—juggling roles as a writer, director, poet, playwright, and musician.

With a wealth of short films like “The Flower,” “The Messenger,” and “Beauty Marks” under his belt, and his writing finding it’s way into anthologies like “Arab, Australian, Other” and “The University of Sydney Anthology Diversity” 3awadi is somewhat of a triple threat, with a fresh music video drop adding to his growing repertoire.


But there’s more: he’s one of the proud editors of the mental health anthology collection “Admissions.” Blending his Queer, Arab, and Muslim identities into his art, Mohammad brings a fresh perspective to the scene. So, pull up a chair and let’s dive into his world, with recent music release “Western Boys.”

Happy: What are you up to today?

3awadi: I am actually in the middle of finalising the last draft edit of Western Boys, working closely with our amazing director Tan Safi on creating Western Sydney’s next iconic music video.

 It’s been a wild ride but we have such an amazing cast and crew who’ve put so much love and effort into making something for the community and the culture.

Happy: Tell us about where you are from? 

3awadi: Well- I’m your average Queer Arab Muslim rapper from Bankstown, rap-wise though I’m definitely more than average. 

My parents are both Lebanese but I had the privilege of being born in Greenacre where it’s essentially a little Lebanon anyways.

Happy: Describe an average day? 

3awadi: When I’m not working in mental health services with kids from juvy- I’m writing. It could be poetry, music, playwriting, screenplays- anything. 

I got a lot of insane thoughts and I need an outlet to get them out, so good thing I have a dozen of them. 

Sometimes those thoughts turn out to be bars and I just gotta tweak ‘em to get them to the right place and then find the right sound to bring it to life.

Happy: What about your ultimate day?

3awadi: Sleep. Sleep is my ultimate day- maybe a little ‘plant-based’ brownie and some music.

Happy: What did you listen to growing up that fuelled your passion for music?

3awadi: The Queen of rap of course, Miss Nicki M. Nicki has been my biggest influence by far, I was a Barb at 10 years old and i’ve never wavered.

I think Nicki was the first rapper who made me feel safe in the scene as queer kid where homophobia has been so rampant in the space, but otherwise my other key influences were Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar.

Frank made me fall in love with music in a way that I couldn’t describe as a kid, being one of the first queer artists in the scene- I felt seen by a stranger. 

Kendrick definitely made me realise the depths that you can take the artistry and the craft, he’s incredible- Kendrick and Nicki might be the greatest rappers of all time.

Happy: How has your hometown/suburb influenced your musical style and creativity? Are there specific elements or experiences from your neighbourhood that have shaped your music?

3awadi: I feel like there are so many stories where we come from and the culture we grew up in. Watching drill grow into THE popular rap subgenre has been so incredible to witness.

I remember it not getting the attention it deserved earlier on and and I just wanna bring my character to that scene and elevate the game. 

The experience of being fruity out west and existing within the hip-hop culture- not outside of or in opposition to it- is key in shaping my music.

So often as queer people there is the narrative that we have to leave the west, that being queer looks a certain way and it erases the queer/trans people who have always existed in our scene.

There hasn’t been the space for the queer stories from out west that depict how we live and survive within our communities and I’m so motivated to showcase that side of what the area has to offer.

Some of the rappers out here? Might have the aesthetic of a rapper, the look and the vibe – but no essence.

Little to no writing ability. No playfulness. So serious and so lacking. I grew up in a culture that celebrates creative competition and I wanna showcase what it can look like when you work on your craft and have stories to tell.

Happy: Can you tell us about any local music scenes or musical heritage in your suburb? How did growing up in this environment impact your musical journey? Can you tell us a little about what you have been working on, in particular “Western boys”?


3awadi: Growing up out west we were immersed with so many east coast rappers like Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, J. Cole and Nicki. 

They were the storytellers it feels like influenced me and Bankstown so much, shoutout to the west coast rappers that the area shows love to: Tupac, Snoop, Kendrick and Ice Cube- just to name a few.

For me- these storytellers set the bar for rap. I always focused on my lyricism and technique and it built me into the rapper/writer I am today. 

Western Boys has been the debut I always wanted to showcase, a drill love song to the DL Western Sydney boy from the area who has never heard himself be celebrated so openly and unashamedly. 

A sound they can recognise and reminds them of the area without erasing their ethnic heritage, muslim identity or queer self. 

The girlies and the gays are gonna vibe to this one on the streets and bump it in their cars GTs, Audis, AMGs and Subarus. 

Happy: In “Western Boys,” you touch upon themes of identity and belonging. How do these themes resonate with your personal experiences, and what message do you aim to convey?

3awadi: As a Queer Arab Muslim from Bankstown, home has rarely felt like a safe space for all parts of who I am. 

Social isolation and exclusion is such a massive issue in the community and I wanted to give young queer/trans people from the area a music video where they can see BIPOC who share their culture, lived experience and queer identity- and STILL being joyous and shaking ass in a Bankstown car park. 

The song chooses to celebrate our western boys in a camp, cheeky, positive and affirming light, exploring themes of masculinity, Queer-identity and western sydney culture.

Happy: “Western Boys” presents a striking visual narrative. Can you elaborate on the concept behind the music video and how it aligns with the song’s themes?

3awadi: Western Boys is a genuine drill/hip-hop track- so the goal of the music visuals is to use that same grounded hip-hop aesthetic but give it a queer edge and flair.

 The throughline is: We’re here, we’re queer, we’re just like you and we’ve always been here.

The Police lineup shot where you take in the image of Arab men in a police station really evokes our experience as Arab people and as queer people who are targeted so much by police in Australia. 

It really highlights how over policing and police brutality affects not just Arabs and Muslim groups but also queer people, they are a weapon of abuse and power of the state that continues to be used against all of us.

We talked so much about how we can reclaim this place that has traumatised so much of us by essentially evoking Bankstown police station and giving some Queer Arabs the space to dance, vogue, shake ass and reclaim that space so that we don’t have to live in fear any more.

Happy: Can you share some insights into the visual aesthetics and artistic choices made in the video’s production?

3awadi: We got to have a lot more fun by having shots like the TNs proposal scene, where I am being proposed to by a bunch of Queer Arabs with TNs and deciding which one is the sickest pair of TNs- the right fit for me so that I can have my Cinderella moment with my Arab Prince Charming.

That’s how we incorporated parts of the culture that we appreciate and care about so much while still allowing ourselves to be camp, celebrate ourselves and showcase how we’re included in this culture too.

Happy: Are there any specific locations or landmarks in your suburb that hold a special meaning for you, that found their way into your music video?

3awadi: The carpark shot where we showcase the South-Western Sydney skyline is so intentional and so important as to why we chose to shoot there. 

You get to see the iconic Civic Tower in the background, the new Western Sydney campus building in Bankstown- the incredible Bankstown Skyline that we know so well.

It’s just affirming and validating for our community to see our world in our media, to see themselves and to feel like they can contribute to this culture as well.

Also filming in Liverpool Westfields and Bankstown station was key to placing us in the visual space of Western Sydney, showing how we exist in all the spaces so normally and casually and how you wouldn’t notice us if we weren’t so explicitly queer.

I got to film in the spaces that I grew up in and where I was too afraid to be Queer and this time I was intentionally and explicitly performing a queer love song all over the area. 

That experience hasn’t been lost on me, the idea that I literally used to walk the streets in fear and now I was filming a music video and professing my love my area boy. 

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

3awadi: I thought about this a long time ago but I realise that making people laugh (and also making them cry in a space where they feel safe to build in connection and healing) makes me happy. 

Building community and trying my best to be a future elder and ancestor to my people is a joy and an honour that I celebrate. 

I can’t wait to bring even more joy and celebration to the spaces and the people that I love.