Big Skeez Work Don't Stop
Big Skeez. Credit: Richmond Kobla Dido
Music

‘I Don’t Care About Fame and Money, I’m Here To Inspire’: The Imminent Rise of Big Skeez

Resilient and uncompromising, Big Skeez is forging his own way in the Afro-Australian music scene.

Big Skeez is an artist who won’t give up. And from the first conversation, it’s an obvious part of his character.

He’s sharp with his answers, with no urgency to be elaborative or overly eloquent. Every answer he gives is direct.  He owns every word he says, and does so naturally.

It’s  an attribute he says is passed on from his dad.

“He always pushed me to be the best.” Skeez told VICE.

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The Western Sydney-based artist also possesses a natural sense of determination, especially when it comes to music. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and that’s never been more clear than in his debut mixtape Work Don’t Stop.

Over the course of 12 tracks, Big Skeez performs triumphantly over amapiano, afrobeats, hip-hop and R&B production, influenced by the music his siblings would listen to growing up. 

“My older brothers listened to a lot of reggae, a lot of African music and a lot of hip-hop: 50 Cent, Big L,” he said.

“I adopted a lot from listening to all of their music, which helped me find my sound and be more versatile, not just stick to one sound.”

Embedded in hypnotic choruses and intricate flows are insights into Big Skeez’s grind. The hustler mindset that he leads with on the project is emphasised further by his experience with struggle. 

Big Skeez doesn’t fear vulnerability. He makes a consistent effort to open up about his feelings of cultural disconnect being far from the homeland when the pandemic hit, and used the project to self-reflect, self-counsel and make a public call for peace and solitude. Even in the face of misfortune, Skeez’s feet are always planted firmly in the ground, ready to hit the ground running.

“Everything that I get my hands on, I've always put in 100%. I've never gone in 50%,” he said.

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“You just gotta keep grinding regardless of what situation you're in, or the obstacles you face. Never quit…Even if you feel like nothing is working out now, just keep going. Eventually, you'll get where you need to.”

Big Skeez’s heritage is innately submerged in his music. He pulls on the diverse sounds of different African genres with the intention to educate and encourage fellow artists to also utilise the sounds of their home. If there’s one thing Big Skeez wants people to take away from his project, it’s that there is no shame in owning who you are, or where you come from.

Big Skeez by @kobla.dido.jpg

Big Skeez shot by Richmond Kobla Dido (@kobla.dido)

“I want people to embrace my culture, and the sounds that come from it,” he said.

“I want people to open up more with their culture. If you're an artist, and you're able to embrace your culture in your music, it can take you really far. That's what I'm going for, trying to inspire the next generation to do the same and be comfortable in their skin.”

Growing up in a place like Western Sydney, where for years, your postcode and what you wore was indicative of who you were as a person, Big Skeez has also made an effort to break down the box that Western Sydney is confined to by outsiders. 

While he acknowledges the roughness of living in the West, Big Skeez aims to show that there’s much more to the area than what’s portrayed on TV.

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“Don't mind what the media says and what other people say about Western Sydney. You can get bad from everywhere. It's not just Western Sydney. All I can say is come and see, enjoy it with us and come catch a vibe.” he said.

The temptations of wealth and opulence can easily lure any artist on the brink of making a name for themselves, but Big Skeez aims to stay level headed. 

His goal is, and always has been, to motivate others and stimulate a sense of authenticity and autonomy. In a world where worth and value is measured by virality, likes and click counts, Big Skeez remains unbothered by stardom. And he plans on staying that way.

“I don't want to sound like the next person…I don’t care about fame and money. I’m here to inspire people. And that’s it. If I can do that, I'm happy.”


Adele is the Junior Writer & Producer for VICE AU/NZ. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter here.

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