The Prince of Grime has one eye on the throne.
At only 20 years old, the Lewisham artist Yizzy has already been on the grime scene for three years. His recent ‘Prince Of Grime’ freestyles have been gaining traction, bringing the fire back into the genre as he goes for everyone’s neck, old or young.
Yizzy wants to take grime further than it’s ever gone before, in the UK and overseas. We spoke to him over the phone to see what his future aspirations are as an artist and for the grime scene.
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Have you been keeping yourself busy?
Yeah, I’ve still been working remotely, writing drafts down for songs and getting verses back. Catching up on things and planning for the rest of the year.
You’ve been in the game a few years now; do you think it’s made you grow up quick?
Not necessarily, I had already grown up quite quickly, so I applied to same mindset to my music. Meeting good people, making experiences, it all adds up.
On the subject of meeting good people, Dizzee Rascal produced your latest single and he featured on a track last year. How does it feel to be working with a legend?
It’s great to be working with someone you looked up to growing up. Asking him questions I’ve always wanted to ask. It’s quite surreal and hard to put into words, it’s just something you never thought would happen. And when it does happen you can’t compare it to anything else. The penny still hasn’t dropped, I haven’t taken it in that I’m working with a ridiculously talented artist, it’s still not sunk in fully.
I’ve heard you rapping in Spanish on cyphers and Turkish on other tracks, how do you find it bringing in other languages?
The thing for me is, not just that I want to pioneer grime and take it to the next level from where it’s at now. I’ve always wanted to break the international barrier. Even though it’s a big sound in some areas of the world, I don’t think there’s been a UK artist to pull it all together. I’ve got a natural passion for languages, both my sister and dad both speak about four languages and my sister herself is French-Canadian.
I have a lot of Colombian and Ecuadorian friends in my circle, so the languages naturally come into it. I’ve always spoken Spanish here and there, took French in school so I always try to remember as much as I can and converse with my sister.
Why not put it into music, everyone wants to be unique now or have a unique selling point. You can have the punk, angry or anxious kid, I just wanted to be the one that’s full of surprises. I want to show people I can rap faster than Eminem, show people I can rap in three different languages and then go back to English, I want to do something that people would never expect.
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Once you talk in another language you communicate with more people.
100% - I think it’s the surprise factor. People look at me and assume I’m from an African/Caribbean descent and yeah, I’m from both. But hearing me speak in other languages on a certain tempo of beat which is predominately quite fast, it definitely catches people off-guard because I don’t look like I’m from there. The way that music is consumed in this era means we’ve only got 5-10 seconds of someone’s attention. You either grab it in that time or you don’t and they’re going to keep scrolling past. If you can get their attention in that 5-10 seconds, they’re going to stick and watch the whole video. Which nine times out of 10 people seem to be liking.
In the UK, do you feel that you’re the person carrying to torch now for grime?
I do, and that links in with where the name ‘Prince of grime’ came around. For me, the definition of a prince is the next person to lead charge of whatever is it someone’s trying to carry forward. Typically, the role of a king is to manage and oversee and maintain. The prince is next to takeover.
Regardless of who people think the king of grime is, you’ve got to always know who’s going to be next up. Whether its rap, grime, drill or whatever. You need to know that the future of the sound is going to be pushed by a group of people or at least one person.
Me with the ‘Prince of Grime’ is a statement saying that I’m the frontrunner of the next wave of grime, because you have Stormzy who’s on the younger side of the scene who’s really pushing grime. Obviously, you’ve got the Skepta’s, Dizzee’s and Wiley’s but I don’t know anyone that’s younger than him who’s pushing grime.
So, I’ve said okay... I’m going to do it; it’s going to be me. I’m going to put out grime records and work with people internationally, I’m going to open doors where grime music didn’t have a look in before.
In the past few months there’s been controversy about what other artists have said about the grime scene, do you want to change their thoughts?
I’m not here to persuade anyone to do anything, I’m here to give you enough information so you can come to your own balanced thoughts. Same way you shouldn’t just believe someone that says grime is this or grime is that.
Do your research and don’t go off what one of your favourite artists has said. I’m not saying believe or don’t believe me, just come to your own opinion. Listening to rappers and what they’re saying doesn’t mean it reflects the overall picture. Their opinion is just a smaller part of a larger puzzle.
With Clash, we’ve teamed up on a competition for people to feature on your new track ‘Don’t Feel A Way’. Have you liked what you’ve heard so far?
Yeah, I do, I’m quite surprised by how many people have contributed in such little time. The quality has been great and we’re letting it run for a little longer and then we’re going to go through and react to a couple.
We’re going to post them up online because there’s a lot of music people that follow me and I know that they will give me their honest opinion. We’re going to have four people on a remix plus myself which will be a very good track.
'Prince Of Grime 3' is coming out soon - Is anyone safe?
No one’s safe. I said when 1 and 2 would hit 500,000 views combined on YouTube I would make a third. I’ve got some really special ideas and some interesting information to bring to light, let’s put it like that. I saw how much people liked 1 and 2, and I’m someone who definitely wants to deliver a quality product that people enjoy.
Especially if the situation calls for it… which it currently does.
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Words: Joe Hale
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