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Baker Boy: The Fresh Prince of Arnhem Land


I was, like… ah, I dunno… I feel shame. I might muck up my English. They say, no, you don’t
have to rap in English. Rap in Yolngu Matha, go for it.
I was like “Okay.” # I’m a proud black Yolngu boy
With a killer flow ..and that was Yolngu Matha, the native tongue
of the Yolngu people… But you can call him… His totem is the Olive Python… ..and he’s 20 years old. PERFORMING ‘MARRYUNA’ He’s not the first
to rap in language but he’s proudly bringing it
into the mainstream, even supporting 50 Cent
on tour recently. Maningrida and Yurrwi
are his birthplace – two remote communities
in the northeast of Arnhem Land. But his home now is Melbourne which is where I found him rehearsing
for the biggest gig of his carer. – Hi.
– How you doing? Doing good. Come in.
Come to the studio. Do you remember
the first time you walked in here? Well, it’ll be four years ago. Walked in here, I was… super nervous. I didn’t know anyone here. I was a bit shy
so I was, like, really quiet. Wow! I’m still in Melbourne. City’s noisy cars, traffic, weather’s crazy cold. I don’t see much animals.
I don’t see much stars. I don’t see much sunlight
and it’s just really big. I only know a few people here.
What can I do here? What did it make you think about,
like… society or life? I wanted to leave.
I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back home. But then I called my aunty,
I called my cousins. And all they said “Stay there. “You’re not allowed to come back.
You stay there. “And you represent us
and you do what you do. “and make us proud.” ‘TREATY ’18’ BY YOTHU YINDI
AND GAVIN CAMBELL FEAT. BAKER BOY There’s not much Australians
that know about remote communities around Australia. And there’s people keep thinking
that we don’t exist here anymore. All the houses that we have is
pretty much, like, really old. Some houses don’t have
air-conditioning. When I was a kid growing up
there was not much opportunity. There was pretty much
just youth work that helped us go through hardship. How did hip hop first
make it into your community? Back in the ’80s, when my dad and my dad’s brothers and sisters started it in a remote community… ..they called themselves Baker Boys. So that’s where I got the name
Baker Boy from. Cos I’m the next generation
of Baker Boys. ‘ICE ICE BABY’ BY VANILLA ICE PLAYS They have this, like, red shoes, nice, like, big parachute pants. And then they’re just, like, dancing. Pretty much, that’s where I learnt
all my dancing as well. This is gonna be our last rehearsal
before we do Splendour. So we have to nail this one. Go 150 per cent. Let’s do this. ‘TAG TEAM CHORKER FREESTYLE’
BY DJ FLEX FEAT. JOEY B PLAYS Seeing his dad cut shapes
in parachute pants gave Baker Boy the confidence
to dance. But he was a little less comfortable
when it came to rapping. I was like… ah, I dunno… I feel shame. I don’t know,
I might muck up my English. They say, no, you don’t
have to rap in English. Rap in Yolngu Matha, go for it.
I was like “Okay.” I, like, literally just
wrote a couple of lines and I was like “Ali, I got
something for you. Listen.” I started rapping and he was like,
“Wow, that’s pretty sick.” # I’m a proud black Yolngu boy
With the killer flow # Listen to the yidaki
Listen to my blow # Brother boys, Yolngu boys
All the way from Arnhem Land… CONTINUES IN YOLNGU MATHA Let’s go from the top again. That’s why we call it rehearsals
and practice. PERFORMING ‘CLOUD 9’ I mean, growing up
and facing racism and all that stuff has… kinda hurts your soul, it kinda hurts yourself. You start getting angry because
someone says something that… and kinda chucks
that negativity on you. # Wanna be as good as me?
Boy, you better practise. # Step back, feel the power
of my blackness… # And for me, as I feel
the power of my blackness, my blackness is my positivity,
being strong, being comfortable under my own skin and just being who I am. And just being humble when… showing the love, showing the peace. Everything that I could
to overcome the negativity. – Who’ve you seen?
– Baker Boy! Baker Boy! Baker Boy. I’m here to see Baker Boy, dude. English is like
his fourth or fifth language. Absolute inspiration. Such good dance moves. Yay! Stage! That’s our stage, straight up! When you were younger did you ever think you’d ever be
on the stages of Byron Bay? I never thought I’d be on stage. Cos when I was a kid, I was dancing
on top of the table… at free time, saying
“Miss, look at me. This is my stage. “This is my stage.
I’m dancing, look at me.” – Baker Boy in the house!
– Hey, guys. How you going? – How you going?
– Baker Boy! Mr La-di-da! I got in trouble,
thought I was going to get expelled. Sent me to the principal’s office. Then my aunty came in, Nolita. She came in and growled. “Why do you guys keep getting
kicked out from school “for just dancing
on top of the table?” Baker Boy! Pretty much, from there I believed
in myself to have my own stage. CROWD CALLS OUT Have you seen how many people
are out there? I have, yes. I’ve got my own stage.
Look at me. This is pretty sick. Good luck, man. I don’t want to be the first
and the last one, you know, the Yolngu Matha rapper. So that’s another way for me
to keep my language strong as well. Like, making music
with Yolngu Matha. To feel that love,
the positivity… to share it to the people… they’ll continue to share it. And then keep going.
Everyone will feel that. That means ‘cut’.

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