Tkay Maidza
A day with the soaring Adelaide emcee.
Photos by December 19, 2014

Plenty of great things have happened in Australian hip-hop this year (Thundamentals, One Day, Allday – need we go on?), but a surprise package from Adelaide arrived with Tkay Maidza’s ‘U-Huh‘. With its effortless attitude and infectious tip-toeing between dance and rap, she quickly won an audience with the single and hasn’t stopped since.

Forget all this ‘female emcee’ talk – Tkay is one of our most exciting local rappers, period – something which she firmly established on her Switch Tape EP. Tkay arrived in Sydney to support Illy on his One For The Cities tour, and we spent a day with the chiller in Chinatown and the surrounding areas. Here’s how it went down – make sure you catch her at Falls Festival:


We meet up with Tkay at The Enmore Theatre in the early afternoon for soundcheck. Platform boots and alien socks – our day in Sydney is off to a very swaggy start.


Soundcheck begins with some vocal renditions of highly obnoxious trap anthems like ‘No Flex Zone‘ and ‘CoCo‘ with tonight’s fellow performers, Jackie Onassis. These Inner-West lads definitely know the go. If you aren’t wearing sunglasses indoors in 2014, you’re an idiot. #FOREVERSHIRTLESS


A lucky charm graces the DJ decks for tonight. Bart Simpson watches over the venue in awe. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about that episode where Bart tries to steal back the lemon tree from Shelbyville. Good times, great classic hits.


Looking over an empty venue always has somewhat of an eerie vibe. In a couple of hours, this space will be filled with thousands of screaming fans, some of the biggest names in Australian hip-hop and plenty of beers. How good is hip-hop? How fucking amazing is beer?


Quick Instagram refresh? I don’t see why not.


Despite it being early afternoon, fans are already lining up outside The Enmore Theatre and asking for flicks with Tkay. It’s indicative of the massive profile she’s managed to build throughout 2014, with appearances at Splendour In The Grass, Listen Out and the ilk. This hug is so damn heartwarming. There are imaginary heart emojis pouring out of this picture right now.


Local rapper and unqualified music journalist 24 Karat Kev appears out of nowhere to talk business with Tkay. And by business, we mean the best places in Sydney to buy fortune cats.


If you didn’t already know, Tkay is a huge fan of fortune cats – going so far as to print them on her own merchandise. We decide to head to Chinatown to purchase a little fortune cat souvenir for Tkay, also taking the time to pose amongst the mass amounts of shiny Asian ornaments and bootleg karaoke DVDs.


Continuing on the Asian theme, we head to Capitol Theatre and into this bizarre arcade with lots of video games and sticker photo booths. The flashing lights and whirlwind of sounds are a little overwhelming, but Tkay takes control with the laser gun.


Tkay with her game of choice. Meanwhile, I am in the background somewhere trying to win a giant Hello Kitty plush toy and failing miserably. I spent a good $10 on that, bastards.


Tkay manages to win a prize, proving that these games aren’t rigged – I’m just very impatient, uncoordinated and stupid. “I’ve never won anything in like ever,” quips Tkay. This is a monumental day in history.


Even though the rain starts to set in, Tkay is all sunshine and lollipops with her new prize. She’s lighting up Chinatown with the positive vibes right now.


We then decide to head to Chinese Noodle House for pre-show dumplings. Don’t be fooled by the generic name –  these guys have the budget Asian feed game on lock. Every dumpling here is a carefully-constructed and flavoursome parcel delivered from the Oriental gods themselves. May we also suggest ordering the ‘Special Braised Eggplant’, shit is revolutionary.


Notable facts: Chinese Noodle House has a deer tapestry on the wall, fake grapes dangling from the roof and a goldfish bowl built above the entrance. You can’t make this stuff up. These dudes should pay me for all the free advertising I’m giving them right now. #BRANDEDCONTENT #ADVERTORIAL


“I used to work at K Mart before I had swag,” explains Tkay.


After a quick outfit change, it’s back to The Enmore Theatre and into the dressing room for final preparations.


Jackie Onassis are absolutely smashing it onstage, even delivering a cover of ‘Drunk In Love‘ with the big homie Joyride. Tkay waits patiently in the wings, getting into performance mode.


It’s showtime, and this pose is straight godly. How about that vicious KTZ shirt? Swag overload.


Despite Tkay’s fairly meek demeanour, she’s an absolutely fierce performer – headbanging furiously and bouncing around the stage with unbridled energy. What’s even more impressive is that she never misses a line on the mic. This is my first time witnessing Tkay live, and it’s easy to see why she’s hotly tipped to break the overseas market in the future.


The crowd is absolutely lapping it up as she sings, raps and dances her way through the likes of ‘U-Huh’, ‘Switch Lanes’ and a dubstep-tinged track which makes us feel like it’s 2010 all over again. Things are getting sweaty.


Dramatic live shot? Check.


Tkay thanks the crowd, and the stage is set for Illy to take over. I look at the handful of other spectators standing at the side of stage, and we all know that we have just witnessed one hell of a performance.


Our day is over as Tkay heads back to her dressing room. While 2014 has been Tkay’s breakthrough year, we have no doubt that she’s going to soar to even greater heights in 2015 – and we’re glad that we’ll be here to witness it in our own backyard.

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