Raised in Arnhem Land and now based on Wadawurrung Country (Ocean Grove), Baker Boy was first introduced to adoring fans in 2017. The entirety of Baker Boy’s art, from his infectious flow to his music’s modern-throwback production to the jaw-dropping dance moves he perfected as part of the Djuki Mala dance troupe, connected instantly.
With Baker Boy’s sudden fame came an internal struggle, between his ties to his community back home, and his love for his art and the inspiring figure Baker Boy was becoming. It’s a struggle undoubtedly familiar to anyone who’s moved from somewhere remote to the big city, but one uniquely heartbreaking for First Nations people who move from remote communities to more populated areas.
You’ve met the bright-eyed, ferociously talented rapper Danzal Baker under a handful of names — the Fresh Prince of Arnhem Land, Baker Boy, the “proud blak Yolngu boy with the killer flow”. Now, he’s ready for you to meet him as Gela: his skin name, and one of the truest markers of his identity. Miles Davis famously said that an artist should only release a self-titled record when they know themselves well, know themselves truly, and when their music can reflect that. So there was only one obvious, perfect choice for the title of Baker Boy’s long-awaited debut, a blistering, joyful record that paints the young rapper more vividly than ever before: Gela. “Gela is who I am,” Baker Boy says, “and it’s my story.” Gela speaks Baker Boy’s truth, freely and brilliantly. It is a definitive portrait of an artist who’s already shown himself to be a vital, powerful representation of Australia’s past and our future.