Your first single of the year ‘Sahko’ recently dropped alongside Xadi, how has the response been?
We’ve received a lot of love for the track! I think whenever I get on a track with Xadi we just bring so much energy and people seem to feel that and resonate with it.
What were the main inspirations for the track?
To be honest, after I made the beat I just knew it had to be gassy and so the lyrics kind of just wrote themselves. Obviously watching nearly every match every week during lockdown and having nothing else to do meant all I had to talk about was football!
How was the process of creating the single and how was working alongside Xadi?
I recorded my verse at the end of last year and then uploaded a little preview on my IG story. Xadi hit me up straight away and I sent him the track and then we kinda just finished it off at the start of 2021. Working with Xadi is always a vibe cos that’s bro. We’ve made so much music together over the last couple of years and managed to keep that up even over the multiple lockdowns. Hopefully you guys get to hear some more of it someday.
"If I want any elements in my song, it’s on me to learn how to make and incorporate them ..."
Last year, you released your fourth project ‘Tonk!’, what were the initial inspirations for that EP and what did you want to explore on that project?
I think I wanted to explore a slightly different soundscape and so the production really led the project. I wanted every beat to sound hard as fuck. With the writing I just wanted to rap my arse off, whatever I was saying. When I’m writing to my more upbeat or bouncy 808-driven songs, I tend to try to write some shit that will get me gassed when I’m having an off day, so there’s a lot of bravado throughout the project.
How was the process of creating it and how does it show your growth from ‘Blossom’?
I had the skeleton of the EP at the start of 2020. At the start of lockdown I was living alone for a couple months and cos work was pretty relaxed I had a lot of time to lay my verses and fine-tune to the point everything was ready to release. It was quite fun but really weird – I tend to keep my music to myself and the mandem (aside from playing them on my IG stories) but it was odd not listening to the EP with anyone in the room until the project was pretty much done. ‘Tonk!’ is way less introspective (aside from ‘Pain!’) which was intentional, but the beats are generally a lot heavier, I think.
When did you first get into producing and how does it aid you as a writer and an artist?
I’ve been producing since I was at school, maybe from age 15 or so. I used to spit bars on the playground and record at the local Connexions studios back in the day and my family was always super supportive. My dad basically talked me into producing cos he always said it was good to be self-sufficient, plus he said it offered more career opportunities.
I don’t tend to have an idea of what I want to have at the end when I start producing a song, but doing it myself gives me the chance to leave the spaces I want for my voice and flow. If I want any elements in my song, it’s on me to learn how to make and incorporate them which is challenging but makes it fun.
"There’s very little better than a sick artist-producer relationship in my opinion."
If you had to give three tips to producers just starting out, what advice would you give?
YouTube & Twitch. Like everyone says, there are so many tools out there. Whether that’s YouTube tutorials or your favourite producer’s live Twitch streams, there’s so much you can learn from.
Work with others. Though I literally only make beats for myself, if I wasn’t an artist myself (and even if you are, I think you should still do this), it’s good to get sessions in with other people or at least find some artists starting off to work with. There’s very little better than a sick artist-producer relationship in my opinion.
Invest / find a way to get software. Invest in yourself. Even when I was in sixth form / uni, I would try to buy at least one new bit of software / hardware a year. Even if that’s a stretch, always getting new sound packs, plugins etc means you’re constantly learning and developing your skillset, which is super important.
How important is having a DIY approach to your music in terms of maintaining creative control?
When it comes to making music I’m quite a hermit and enjoy just sitting alone trying out new shit and learning how to make the music I want. I guess being independent and producing for myself means I’m so used to maintaining creative control that I just couldn’t imagine it any other way.
If you had to choose two of your tracks to best show your range as an artist, which would you choose and why?
This is a very hard question, but I’m gonna go with:
'Equal' off of my first proper EP 'Growth', as it shows a more political side to my writing that I don’t always show but is super important to me and is something I’d like to do more of.
'Son' cos it’s got a ton of football bars and some entertaining wordplay, and the beat is boppy as fuck.
"I think growing up Grime was always an influence. BBK freestyles are probably the thing that stood out the most at the time."
If you could collaborate with anyone on a back and forth ‘Kappa’ style collaboration, who would you choose and why?
Probably Kojey Radical or Jordy cos they can both bar!
Being a part of London’s blossoming alternative hip-hop scene, who are some of your favourite rising artists from the scene?
Obviously the bro Xadi for one. These guys have been about for a minute, but artists like 808ink, A2, Sam Wise, Oscar #Worldpeace, Jesse James Solomon, Jords and Knucks are some of my favourite artists from the past five years full stop. I also like Bawo a lot and am looking forward to Jordy’s EP.
Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
I think growing up Grime was always an influence. BBK freestyles are probably the thing that stood out the most at the time. Then we had that 2012-ish period of U.S. rap that was so important to me musically (Mac Miller, TDE generally, J. Cole, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Drake etc.).
Currently, I’m inspired by a lot of the UK “alternative” artists I mentioned above for sure, but outside of that I think rappers like J Hus, Action Bronson and The Streets have a certain genius to how they write. Kenny Beats is my favourite producer at the moment too.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would you choose?
What’s coming up for the rest of 2021?
The aim for this year is a fairly constant stream of singles and some more videos! When outside finally opens properly, I’d like to get on stage some more as well.