Ahead of her Boiler Room Festival set last week, we spoke with the Hip-Hop powerhouse about all things music, culture and fashion
Spanning the worlds of Hip-Hop, Trap, Rap and beyond, Bao G dances within the ferocious beats of her beloved genres. Known as a powerhouse on the scene, nothing hits quite the same as a Bao G set. Fans, and wanting to know more — we spoke with Bao G ahead of her iconic Boiler Room performance last week during the Amsterdam Festival, getting an insight into the factors that drive her sound… alongside a few fashion must-knows, because this gal’ has LOOKS.
Your selections are known, and described as ‘True Hip-Hop’, can you talk me through your connectivity to the genre and how your love for it has transcended into the sets you create today? True Hip-Hop is different for everyone. What ‘True Hip-Hop’ is for you can depend on your age and preference. So I’m more comfortable with the description ‘Hip-Hop’ than ‘True Hip-Hop’. The ‘Hip-Hop’ sound is so versatile and always changing, which is something I love about it. This is what I try to convey with my sets today. I want to show the versatility of sounds and find it important to mix popular tunes with underrated tunes. I want to share my gems with the audience.
There is also an inherent link between Trap, Hip-Hop, culture and the politics surrounding it. I saw your STORM mix engaged with this conversation — why is this discourse so important to you, and do you think music can be used as a tool for education/awareness?
It’s important to me because ‘Hip-Hop’ music is a reflection of what is happening in the world today. There’s a reason why it’s such a popular music genre and culture; because a lot of people relate to it. So it can definitely be used as a tool for education/awareness. Lyrics are still an important thing to me. You might get distracted by the beats and vibes, but Hip-Hop artists are still saying something!
Alongside this, is the importance of platforming women on the scene. You get asked about this a lot, does this ignite pressure? Or rather, a topic you wish to continue championing?
I wouldn’t call it pressure but motivation. Motivation to keep getting better. I will always champion this topic, but I don’t want it to consume my career. I see myself as a DJ who happens to be a woman. I want to be seen as one of the great DJs in general. Don’t book me because you want to create a balance but because I’m good at what I do. So I’ll just continue to kick ass and do my part in this fight! (If so), what are some important changes you wish to see? See answer above
Within Hip-Hop, there are many exciting Dutch talents — how would you describe the Dutch Hip-Hop landscape?
I would describe the Dutch Hip-Hop landscape as young and developing. The internet caused open borders. So it’s way easier to get inspired and consume Hip-Hop from all over the world. I think this helps the Dutch scene a lot.
This genre is also inherently linked to fashion culture. Your Instagram is serving LOOKS. Do you see fashion as an element of your artistry?
YES! It’s really important to me. Fashion for me is just as much of an expression for me as music. Clothes make me feel comfortable and boost my confidence just like songs can.
Who are you excited to see on the Boiler Room line-up?
De Schuurman. We’re both from The Hague and I’ve seen his come up! He’s been killing it so I expect for him to do the same thing again.
Okay, speed(ish) round! Favourite hype tune?
Lil Uzi Vert – I Just Wanna Rock
Favourite place to play?
New York, because of the crowd’s reaction.
A tune you’ve heard too much of in sets?
Antidote – Travis Scott yes still… haha
Do you have a pre and post-performance routine?
Drink a Red Bull because it’s hard for me to stay up late haha
Biggest lesson in your career?
Never give up, believe in your vision and remember why you started doing this in the first place.
Goal for 2023?
To launch my own club night and more performances abroad!
Words by Grace Powell
Images courtesy of the artist