Bad Apples Music Artist
"Growing up, it only ever felt like there were two options for me: Football or jail," Nooky says. "I’d be told constantly that I’m a waste of space, that I’d amount to nothing, that there’s one place I’m heading, that I’d be better off behind bars with my people."
Nooky's story is one of pain and perseverance. Hailing from Nowra, Nooky's younger days saw him surrounded by addiction, racism and a revolving door of relatives at the neighbouring Goulburn prison. As a teen, he found hip-hop through his older cousin Selway, and music became his healing process. "Music is where I let the warrior come out and protect myself," he says. "I had to fight the pain and turn it into supreme confidence. I could do and say whatever I wanted." Soon, Nooky made the move up north to Sydney to pursue his music career further, but still proudly represented Nowra with his assertive style. "Nowra is such a part of me, my upbringing and my Indigenous identity," he says. "We move different, we talk different down there. You get a sense of pride, loyalty, honesty and belonging, plus the famous Nowra 'no fucks' attitude."
In Sydney, Nooky soon made a name for himself with his no-holds-barred, hyperactive brand of rap. With intricate flows and stinging social commentary, Nooky's music was served in molotov cocktail form, and soon graced national airwaves when he joined The Herd for triple j's Like A Version. He soon reached international ears too, travelling to the United States where he collaborated with Taboo of Black Eyed Peas, and even interned at Harvard to work on a Broadway production. Back home, Nooky won Australia Council's prestigious Dreaming Award at the National Indigenous Arts Awards in 2016, and that same year, he signed to the Bad Apples imprint. Alongside his new labelmates like Briggs and Kobie Dee, Nooky performed at mainstay events including Falls Festival, BIGSOUND and a historic Indigneous showcase at the Sydney Opera House, dubbed "the blackest house party in the whitest building in Australia" by the ABC.
In 2019, Nooky released his debut Junction Court EP to widespread acclaim, working closely with producers i.am.solo (OneFour, SVNO) and Kid Pharaoh. On the project, he balanced aggressive trap anthems like 'PS2' with the more pensive side shown on 'Nowa Nowa', which incorporated traditional Indigenous storytelling into a contemporary musical backdrop. Nooky dropped standalone singles like '432-0' in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, shining light on the longstanding crisis surrounding black deaths in custody. Others like 'Cuzn' and 'Ere Lah' paid homage to regional South Coast slang and his concrete roots in Nowra.
True to his community-driven approach, Nooky also performed at bushfire relief shows throughout early 2020, and threw his own charity event called 'Coastchella' in Nowra, featuring headliners OneFour and B Wise. Nooky is also a member of Muggera Cultural Enterprise, a family group that shares Indigneous culture through traditional dance, song and art. Outside of rapping, Nooky has worked with brands from G-Shock to Geedup, while also making beats and producing for the likes of Tasman Keith, Caiti Barker and Birdz.
Come 2021, Nooky is gearing up to release his Lyrebird Park EP, and in true Nooky style, the EP is named after a football field in Nowra, a community which still motivates his every move: "Mission success for me is my children knowing that people with put limitations on you in the life, but at end of the day it means fuck all. You wanna do something? Then you lace up and go and get it, dream without limits, and work hard."