Legacy

Birdz

Legacy

Legacy is a real turning point for me,” Nathan Bird tells Apple Music. “Up until this point my music’s always been very much focused on what’s come before me and how important I think that is. With Legacy it’s like, ever since my boy’s come into the picture, I’m looking towards the future a lot more. It’s thinking about what I’m leaving for my son. It’s a pivotal moment.” For the follow-up to his 2017 debut as Birdz, Train of Thought, the proud Butchulla man worked with Adelaide producer trials (Funkoars, Hilltop Hoods), pushing his sound beyond his rap origins to incorporate elements such as reggaetón (“They Don’t Know”) and trap drums (“Aussie Aussie”). Here, Birdz offers a track-by-track rundown.
“Legacy, Pt. 1” (feat. Fred Leone) “I was in a dark space, and it’s really acknowledging how I was feeling in that moment. I say in the song, ‘Is this my legacy?’ Like, is this the end of it, is this what I’m going to leave? And toward the end of the song I reference the turning point where it’s like coming out of a dark space and wanting to stick around and level up and do as much as I can for my son.”
“Fly” (feat. Ngaiire) “It’s about realizing my self-worth and trying to put that message out there. As Indigenous people there’s always going to be obstacles in the way, wanting to hold you down or hold you back, but really realizing where we come from and the power in that and the strength you can get from that. I’ve always been a fan of Ngaiire’s. I think she’s amazing.”
“Aussie Aussie” “I wanted the contrast of the playful music—it’s almost like a lullaby—and the trap drums and the 808s with really hard-hitting lyrics. And flipping the Australian anthem, referencing it and really turning the mirror around and making everyone check where they’re at. It’s challenging the notion of Australian identity, the history and what we all come from, what the country was built on.”
“Highs and Lows” “It’s one of my favorites. One of the more traditional hip-hop-sounding boom-bap vibes. When the borders opened up briefly in March, I went to Adelaide and stayed with trials for a week. I went there with all these demos I had written that we were going to finish off, and then he was like, we never get together in the studio anymore, especially with COVID, so we took the opportunity to create new music, and this came out of that session.”
“They Don’t Know” (feat. Thom Crawford) “I love reggae and I love reggaetón. I just wanted to showcase what I’m into. This song was definitely trials’ influence. Just challenging me to try different things. It’s a very now song in terms of what I’m going through—my experience in the music industry and the different voices that are involved as you’re trying to navigate your way through the industry, and staying true to myself and my vision about what I want my art and my music to be.”
“Caught Up” “It’s talking about a similar thing to ‘They Don’t Know’—what I’ve been going through the last couple of years and trying to stay true to myself. And talking about being Indigenous, and knowing there’s people who align themselves or want to align themselves with your cause and say they’re down, but how down are they? It’s bigger than sharing an Instagram post of a black tile. When the time comes, are you gonna put your money where your mouth is?”
“Play the Game” “It’s that traditional hip-hop, a bit of braggadocio—let me show you how good I can rap. Just having fun with it. But still trying to have a message in there too, which I think is a core theme throughout the album—just putting a positive message out there, being confident in who I am, and not backing down to any of the outside pressures.”
“Know Your Truth” “In the chorus I’m asking the question, ‘Is this the truth that we know?’ It’s challenging non-Indigenous people [about] all the things we go through, like black deaths in custody and incarceration rates. But in the chorus I’m also asking my own community and myself and my family, is this all we know? Is there more to this? And I guess there’s a sense of wanting to show the beauty of who we are through that hook. When I wrote that chorus, it was one of the ones I got the most emotional about. If I have that experience when I’m creating a song, then I know it’s special.”
“LEGACY, Pt. 2” (feat. Missy Higgins) “‘LEGACY, Pt. 2’ is like an open letter to my son, and me having that realization that in a lot of ways he saved me. He was the positive light in my life that brought me out of it. But it’s also an open letter to him to let him know where we come from and what his grandfather went through and an element of what I went through. And really trying to push that message and let him know he can succeed in what he wants to succeed in, and that he can walk proud no matter what room he walks into. Collaborating with Missy was amazing. She wrote the chorus first, really set the tone.”
“Bagi-la-m Bargan” (feat. Fred Leone) “Such a special song. We got approached to be a part of a documentary that was talking about the anniversary of Captain Cook arriving here, and the filmmakers really wanted to make a film about Indigenous perspectives on that anniversary and on that history. We got given a brief to write a song from a specific perspective, and mine was as a Butchulla warrior standing on Indian Head on K’gari [Fraser Island] witnessing Captain Cook sail past. And there’s actual stories about that, about Mob witnessing that moment and trying to warn Captain Cook: ‘You’re going the wrong way.’ How would you feel and what would you do if you’re in that position where you know everything is going to be taken away from you? Your people and your family are under threat.”

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