The sound of clapsticks welcomes listeners to experience Gela, during which the effervescent Baker raps – in both Yolngu Matha and English language – over Velcro hooks that rival OutKast.
Featuring Stolen Generation survivor Uncle Jack Charles – discussing the importance of sharing his “journey of surviving” with “the merry-go-round of prisoners in and out of prison” – Survive (“I dunno how we continue to thrive”) gets real from the get-go, with its commanding, syncopated beat, fluttering keys and yidaki undercurrent.
It’s impossible to feel bummed-out during Move (“‘Cause I just wanna move/ Yeah, you can come, too…”) and visualising Baker’s joyous presence, owning the dancefloor with his b-boy moves, further enhances the listening experience. Elsewhere: My Mind (feat. G Flip) is a gf appreciation song resplendent with cheesy synth stabs; Ride (feat. Yirrmal) is a bilingual banger (“Ima light it up like a candle”); Funk Wit Us makes us wanna bust out The Robot; Stupid Dumb serves Who Let The Dogs Out-style, percussive “HOO!”s; and Meditjin’s bootybass beat evokes Missy Elliott – bring on that jackhammer-inspired dance (if you’re not at least chair-dancing, maybe check your pulse?).
Everything about The Fresh Prince of Arnhem Land is Cool As Hell, let’s face it. You can’t be what you can’t see – as the saying goes – and Baker is a luminescent beacon, truth-telling while busting the freshest of moves. Throughout Gela, Baker dispenses soul “meditjin” for all.
Gela by Baker Boy is out October 15 via Island/Universal.
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