There’s an earnest edge to young Melbourne rapper Baro. It’s refreshing; almost unusual in the current hip-hop sphere. His lilting cadences are a far cry from the auto-tuned mouthwash we’ve come to expect of modern hip hop, and the silky production on his latest track, 'wdubi' (What do you believe in), moves his sound far from the trap heavy 808’s that have come to characterise rap backbeats.
'wdubi' is a cut from his forthcoming EP Just Problems You Need to Know, and marks a change in the young rapper's sound and vocal stylings; it’s interesting, exciting, and indicative of the way Australian hip hop is changing. Certain hip-hop artists use heritage and/or location as a platform for what they’re trying to say; a-la Compton, Brooklyn, Detroit; courtesy of Kendrick, Jay-Z, Eminem. One of the downsides of Australian hip hop has always been that location is the only discourse our artists have riffed on – being Australian is the gimmick. It’s refreshing then, to see a new wave of performers come through; Australian artists like Gill Bates, Tuka, and Baro, who use the genre as the storytelling medium that it perfectly suits, rather than as a voice of heritage just for the sake of it.
Baro’s smooth verses glide over pristine beats; these are verses full of insight, verve and earnestness. One of the most interesting things about the track is its beat. Engineered by Seth Sentry and Aston Shuffle collaborator Nic Martin, it’s an exercise in energy. From its opening chords, high tones skip under the low energy of a swelling piano, horns announce a triumphant chorus, and dancing across the top of the whole thing is a scattered synth that adds a certain sense of order to the production.
This is a small cut from something much larger Baro is at the forefront of. This is a artist you need to watch – if anything, learn from.