He’s made a splash since earning airtime on triple j with thought provoking single ‘Rise’, he’s scored slots on St Kilda Festival and The Hills Are Alive, and has recently released his 12-track debut album. BIRDZ (aka Nathan Bird) is at the forefront of the emerging hip-hop movement in Australia.
Since his EP ‘Birdz Eye View’ was released in 2013, BIRDZ has built a loyal, strong following, having already performed at Groovin The Moo while supporting well-known acts such as A.B. Original, Funkoars, Thundamentals and Sampa The Great.
Now signed to the Briggs lead record label, Bad Apples Music, BIRDZ shares a roster with other determined and empowered hip-hop artists who not only share the same vision, but support each other in their artistic journey.
“It just feels pretty special to be a part of something that feels like a movement and not your average record label. It’s one big family and Briggs is the brother,” the Melbourne rapper says.
“Briggs has been doing it for some time now, and I guess with his Reclaim Australia [A.B. Original, 2016] and the attention that Sheplife  brought, it’s just such a movement in the way it’s changed the face of hip-hop in Australia, and the Australian music scene is starting to have a big impact on the industry as a whole,” he explains, “Just in terms of representation of Indigenous people and culture and who we are, and coming from a first-hand account of who we are and representing ourselves.
“It’s an exciting time for hip hop in Australia because there’s so many different movements and there’s so many different sounds, and there’s so many different stories coming out now. I don’t know if you can really throw that blanket over hip-hop in Australia any more, it’s a really exciting time and people are experimenting and not afraid to be themselves,” he says.
After a slew of incredible singles including the anthemic call to action ‘Black Lives Matter’, the thought provoking, heart string pulling ‘Rise’ and his most recent release ‘This Side’ featuring Darwin’s Serina Pech, the young rapper has delivered his debut album Train Of Thought, which is powerful in that it highlights both unique indigenous hardships and human existence.
“Writing and putting it [the album] together has probably been over the last two years,” he says, “since I signed with Bad Apples, I started working on it and there’s been a bunch of moments when I might have thought I was ready or, found one sound, but then scraped it and started again. It’s been a bit of a journey.
“The track ‘Misfit’ is a real favourite, just in terms of the style and sort of trying to be creative, it’s sort of a new thing for me and I think it kind of shows listeners that might have been onto my stuff prior to the album, it might show them growth (hopefully),” Birdz explains. “My personal favourite overall would have to be ‘Testify’ which is the final song on the album and the closer. It’s just a really special song and it actually took over a year or even more to piece together, so it’s been a bit of my own little baby – my little masterpiece,” he laughs, reflecting on his album of true tales about his inner frustrations.
“I just hope people like it to be perfectly honest,” he laughs, “I just love dope hip-hop music. And for people to just engage with it on that level would just be dope for me, but also because of what I’m talking about and the message in my music as well. If I can reach a few audiences that way too that’d be amazing, the job would be done.
“I’m just excited. It feels like the beginning for me so I’m pretty excited for more.”
Release: ‘Train of Thought’ is out now through Bad Apples Music.
When & Where: Saturday November 18th – A Weekend In The Gardens, Melbourne – November 18 & NYE On The Hill, December 30 – January 1
Written by Talia Rinaldo