Baker Boy – indigenous dancer, activist, graffiti artist, actor ; emcee from the remote Indigenous communities of Milingimbi and Maningrida in north-east Arnhem Land, now based in Melbourne. Real name, Danzal Baker, performed at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2017.
He is the first Indigenous artist to have mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language, his singles Cloud 9 and Marryuna receiving solid Triple J airplay. In the past few months he has swept the National Indigenous Music awards, inked a record deal with Select Music (home to the Preatures and Amy Shark), been rostered on the summer music festival circuit, was handpicked by Dizzee Rascal to be his Australian support act, and recorded a remix of Treaty with Yothu Yindi. He uses his position as a mentor and teacher for the outreach group Indigenous Hip-Hop Projects to usher wayward youngsters in remote communities towards reconnecting with their culture using music, language and video.
Known for performing in both English and Yolŋu Matha, Baker Boy created the beginnings of a phenomenon with his debut single Cloud9. The first Aboriginal hip-hop artist to rap in language and break into the mainstream, Danzal Baker finds himself inspiring the next generation of Indigenous rappers. “No one was rapping in language so I thought I’d try [to] make history to be the first,” he told SBS, “and it happened, which is crazy.” His following single, Marryuna, which in Yolgnu Matha means ‘to dance’, is a feverish, high energy celebration of Danzal’s first love. One of the original members of the Djuki Mala dance troupe, dancing has inspired the Darwin native throughout his career. “It’s in our blood,” he told The Guardian, “and it keeps repeating in the next generation.” This multi-generational tradition has actively stretched the definition of Australian hip-hop to mean something that is joyfully entrenched in the roots of the land and the people.