How Good Is Good? That’s the question posed by 17-year-old Australian rapper Baro in the title of his debut mixtape – and judging by the response to its release, good might just be an understatement. The tape demonstrates an emotional and musical maturity that’s beyond the years of its author, coupled with shades of ‘90s boom-bap and a laidback flow. It’s the perfect release for the warmer months, an easygoing soundtrack that holds the promise of great times with friends in the summer sun. One thing is clear though, if this is good – then we can’t wait to hear what comes next.
When did you start in music?
I started when I was 11. I always did music, I didn’t go out much, I didn’t really hang out with people – I just did music.
Did your family introduce you to music at that age?
My cousins showed me one of my first hip-hop songs. It was ‘Changes’ by Tupac, or something really corny.
What are you listening to these days?
Stuff like Mos Def, and a lot of stuff that isn’t rap. I listen to a lot of Bright Eyes, Hiatus Kaiyote, a lot of Remi.
You were in a group originally, is that right?
90’s RD – we created it last year, we met for the first time on my birthday. I knew some people, and those people knew some people, and we all just connected and created a group. We just wanted to expand to different horizons.
When did you start working on your mixtape HOWGOODISGOOD?
At the end of last year. I made ‘Seasons’ and I thought it was sick, and I just sat on it for a little bit. After I made ‘Cinema’ I thought, “I’m just going to make a whole mixtape of this type of stuff.”
Were you anticipating the reaction from the release of the tape?
After I released ‘Seasons’ a lot more people started listening to my music, and that made me want to go down that path. The reaction caught me by surprise, but it escalated with each song that I released, so I started to expect it more and more. The overall reaction with people sharing it, and liking it, and just getting involved with the music was amazing.
Is there an official release coming?
There’s an EP, that’s pretty much done now. I’m thinking of releasing it later – maybe a mixtape this summer and the EP in March next year. I’m going to give you a name right now for the EP, it’s called My Eyes Are Open But I’m Dead Asleep and that pretty much gives you the feel. It’s not summer jams, I don’t make music for seasons.
You just graduated right? What was it like at school after the release?
I graduated two days ago. It was weird at school; I didn’t have heaps of friends there. After the release some people’s attitudes changed, which I’m not down with. Some people just stayed the same, which I really do like. A lot of people tried to get on board, but I’m still humble.
There’s a whole new wave of Australian hip-hop artists coming out right now that don’t sound anything like traditional Australian hip-hop, why do you think that that is?
There’s a better wave coming out of the States and everywhere else, so the audience is adapting to that, I think. The artists have always been making the music though. The wider wave has just changed the inner-wave of Australia.
It seems like even just a few years ago artists like Schoolboy Q and the whole Pro Era crew wouldn’t have necessarily had an as much of an audience for the sound that they make.
Even Odd Future, every kid in a bucket hat wants to get in on that sound. [Laughs]
This is your first tour, you haven’t played live a lot. How are you finding it?
It’s really fun. Tour is like not doing stuff at home and having fun, except you’re actually getting things done. My sleep pattern is really broken. It was basically two weeks away from my parents, so you can imagine what that was like. I was eating McDonalds every day, not sleeping, just doing stupid stuff with my friends. That’s what tour was, it was really fun but it messed up my health.
What’s next for you?
A lot more shows, and a lot more music. I make a lot of throwaway stuff but I’m actually going to start releasing it, because that throwaway stuff is actually all right. I’m just going to be releasing a LOT more music.
Any final words?
Shout outs to my friend Charlie Threads who has a mixtape called Incognito dropping soon, everyone has to cop it – I’m on a few songs on there.