Birdz is like the Trojan Horse on Briggs’ Bad Apples label, the way he’s bursting into Australian rap right now. However, it really isn’t a surprise; his grind is unprecedented. Releasing his debut album Train Of Thought in 2017, Birdz has spent the last two years supporting acts like J.I.D, and playing festivals like Groovin’ The Moo.
Now, we have ‘Black Child’, the latest single from his Place Of Dreams EP (dropping tomorrow). The Mojo Juju-assisted cut is one of Birdz’ most ambitious yet, and the powerful video that accompanies it celebrates his heritage. Premiering the single, we talked to Birdz about the meaning behind the video, working with Bad Apples, and the state of Australian hip-hop today.
Could you talk us through the inspiration behind the ‘Black Child’ video?
I really wanted the visual to be something that celebrates our excellence as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Something that my son can watch and be proud of – knowing that he represents one of the oldest living cultures in the world and to be able to see the greatness in that. Being a father now, I’m always thinking about legacy and how I can be the best possible version of myself for him. I feel as though the Black Child video is a representation of that feeling.
What does the song mean to you, and what do you want listeners to gain from it?
It’s one of my favourite songs that I’ve written to date, simply because it feels like a good balance between highlighting harsh realities and sharing a message of hope and empowerment. That’s something I’m striving for more and more as I grow as an artist and as a father. I wrote it a few days after my Grandmother’s funeral, which was a pretty challenging time. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by family and loved ones that reminded me of how strong and proud we are – I guess that sense of pride is something that I hope translates when listening to the song.
We’re at the helm of the release of the Place Of Dreams EP, can you talk us through the process of putting this project together?
After releasing my debut album in 2017, I felt like I needed to rush and release new music straight away. I kept going to the studio thinking that I needed to write an album and release it asap. After a while I realised that was just putting unnecessary pressure on myself, and I decided to just have fun with creating again and not really put a name on anything. I basically lived in the studio for about a year and fell in love with the process again, until eventually I thought I had enough material to put a serious project together. The seven songs on Place Of Dreams were selected from a stash of about 20 or so. Some of the unreleased material will most likely end up on other projects that aren’t too far away.
What is it like working with Bad Apples Music? What makes them different as a label?
It’s mad. I think it’s the fact that they understand where I’m coming from and can relate to my experience – that’s what really makes it feel unique and like a family. I communicate what my vision is for each project and they support it in every which way they can and help make it a reality.
With acts such as yourself, Mojo Juju, Baker Boy, and more, Australian hip-hop is finally starting to reflect the culture and communities that exist in this country. Are you happy with where it’s at today? What needs to change?
I think Hip Hop in this country is in a great place, with different stories being shared in dope unique ways. I think the scene’s definitely come a long way and can often represent what’s good about Australia, i.e. it’s diversity and different cultural influences. Having said that, there’s always room for improvement, especially in regards to gender equality and making sure that the excellence of Indigenous artists is recognised on all stages – not just your stereotypical tick the box “Indigenous/world stages.”
Lastly, what’s next for you after this release?
I’m playing Yirramboi festival in Melbourne on Friday night at the Meat market–that’s going to be hectic. Then Groovin The Moo in Townsville on May 5. Also, Briggs’ Bad Apples House Party at the Sydney Opera House on May 30 for Vivid Live, that’s a huge line up as well. It’s going to be a big month ahead and I can’t wait to play the new EP live.