Baker Boy’s Long-Awaited Debut Album Has Finally Landed

'Gela' will blow you away.

baker boy gela photo

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Baker Boy is a sensation.

The young artist — real name Danzal Baker — has carved out a niche entirely of his own over the last few years, combining hip hop, pop and R&B into potent exemplars of his shining talent. There is simply no other performer in Australian hip hop who has his talent or his range; his desperate, palpable desire to do things his own way, critics and naysayers be damned.

Now, with his new debut album, Gela, Baker Boy has taken that vision and power to the next level. It is, simply put, one of the stand-out Australian debut records of the year, a fiery and furious work of art that never loses sight of the humane, or drowns in the over-produced sound that has become commonplace in this isle.

Fans of Baker Boy’s singles — particularly ‘Cool As Hell’, that anthemic serve of poptimism — will find much to love here, from the explosive ‘Ride’ to the romantic and sincere ‘Ain’t Nobody Like You.’ But Baker Boy hasn’t let his skills atrophy, or his horizons diminish. The most surprising thing about Gela is how inventive it is, showing a broadening of the performer’s talents beyond even what his fans have come to expect of him.

How else to explain ‘My Mind’, featuring G Flip, which comes to resemble a mosaic of distinct sounds and tones, all of them swirling together in a downright psychedelic fashion? Or what of ‘Funk With Us’, a serve of nostalgia that never falls into mere mimicry of the past, and instead turns the sounds of the ’70s and ’80s into something transformed, and new?

Then there is the balance of features. Baker Boy has recruited a range of superstars to aid him on his debut album, from Uncle Jack Charles to fellow bright star JessB. But he never lets these additional voices overwhelm his own. This is no cacophony — the artist speaks with a clarity of vision and purpose, deftly making space for himself. There is no mistaking that this is a Baker Boy album, the work of art that nobody else in this country could create.

There are no unanswered questions here; no hanging threads. It is a potent injection of life, humour and art, and a sign of Baker Boy’s near-boundless imagination. Let it wash over you.