Long established as one of the most exciting and familiar faces among Melbourne’s up-and-coming scene, ThatKidMaz shares his debut EP, Lil Eritrean Boy.

The story of a first-gen African immigrant growing up in Melbourne and attending a predominately white school is not an uncommon one. During his high school years he met with one-half of FLY BOY JACK, Jordan Dennis, another 3k rapper who was on a similar journey of his own.

Uniting over their appreciation for emcees like Mick Jenkins and J.Cole, the two connected on ‘Glow Up’ in 2019, ‘Doc Marty’ along with Denzel M and Duan, and frequently on New Wave Infinity‘s colossally collaborative project, All Corners.

“Especially when you start, you just want n***** that rap to know that you can rap.”

ThatKidMaz on AUD’$.

And if you don’t know, now you do – with the release of his 6-track, debut EP titled Lil Etritean Boy featuring Mia Ayana, C000kie and Elysia. As his third attempt at a full-length project, it was meeting with revered producer JUJO, the other half of FLY BOY JACK, that helped to push his curiosity and craft into the finished product it is now.

Sheltered‘ acted as the entree and lead single to LEB, landing last June and delivering the first taste of new music since 2020s ‘iKNOW!’. The short 15-minute project centres around Maz’s anxiety and problems with mental health, learning to persevere past them while also understanding its re-occurring nature.

“The whole thing i figured out was that it doesn’t stop so its like you constantly gotta fight it, you constantly gotta check in on yourself and win that battle every time.”

ThatKidMaz on AUD’$.

Lil Etritean Boy is something Maz holds dear to his heart, touching on his childlike innocence and curiosity that he lets shine through the music. This project is authentically and uniquely him, and by listening it’s easy to understand why the hype is so quickly heating up.

Each song is different, personal, and carved to sonic perfection by JUJO, who blends a predominately boom-bap hip-hop sound with alt-R&B and lo-fi elements. It’s an impressive debut that sees Maz at his strongest as a storyteller, however, even he knows it’s just the beginning.

Fans of ThatKidMaz and the larger Australian hip-hop audience are in safe hands with the quality he’s shown so far, and tomorrow promises to be far more exciting as we continue to watch him grow further as an artist and develop his sound to new frequencies.

“That kid, is just a kid. ‘Lil Eritrean Boy’ is just me, I’m literally a Lil Eritrean Boy. You want that child-self to stay, so that’s what I’m trying to keep … It’s really just hints of what I can do.”

ThatKidMaz on AUD’$.

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