"I THINK people should be proud of where they're from," Queanbeyan poet, writer, hip hop artist and all round lyrical talent Omar Musa tells me.
"It always pisses me off when people move from away from Canberra or Queanbeyan and within a few years they're saying they're from Sydney or Melbourne.
"I like to take pride in where I'm from. I think it's cooler if I do have success nationally or internationally if I'm not from one of those big cities, if I'm from a small town instead. I like that."
As honest and bluntly spoken as ever, Musa is speaking of his pride at his Queanbeyan upbringing and how the city's rich multiculturalism has influenced his attitude - not just to his writing, but to life in general.
After announcing himself on the national stage in 2008 by winning the Australian Poetry Slam, Musa has fast become one of Queanbeyan's most recognisable artistic voices.
The 29-year-old has spent the past five years travelling nationally and around the world, performing his unique blend of poetry and hip hop.
Currently however, Musa is back in Queanbeyan working on a play for the Street Theatre and his first novel which is set for release next year.
He is also set to perform this weekend as part of the city's 175th celebrations at Queanbeyan City Council's Youth Concert in Ray Morton Park.
And talking to Musa, it's clear he has never lost his affection for his hometown, a place he describes both as a multicultural melting pot and as Canberra's "older, shorter, rowdier brother".
"I write a lot about identity and about what Australia is and that's been influenced by growing up in a very multicultural block of flats in a very multicultural neighbourhood," he said.
"I've always seen Queanbeyan as a microcosm of Australia. It's part city, part country and people from all over the world living together, and living together quite well.
"I think there's a bit of a rebellious spirit to Queanbeyan as well, maybe there's a bit of a chip on our shoulder being the older, shorter, rowdier brother to Canberra."
Never one to shy away from tackling controversial issues surrounding society, identity and race in his works, Musa is also unafraid to shine a spotlight on his hometown's less savoury aspects.
The wordsmith says his upcoming play for the Street Theatre will present a darker take on Queanbeyan's history.
And he described the September 28 date marking Queanbeyan's proclamation day as "a bit arbitrary" given the area's rich indigenous history.
"There's a lot of stuff about this area that we don't learn in school about aboriginal history and white settlement of this place," he said.
"One thing I hope that's acknowledged in the celebrations is that after white people first came here [in the 1820s], by the 1890s the last full-blooded aboriginal person was dead.
"I wander around Queanbeyan and you can almost feel the ghosts.
"And I think it's important that we shine a light not only on the light of our history, but the dark as well and that we learn from our mistakes as much as our achievements."
Omar Musa will be performing as part of the line-up at Saturday's Youth Concert in Ray Morton Park from 5-7pm. He'll be joined on the main stage by Deadly award winning hip hop duo Stik n Move and 2012 Australia's Got Talent semi-finalists RubyIce.