Interview: Tinchy Stryder

Hailing from East London, Tinchy Styder has been at the forefront of the UK grime movement for the better part of two decades–no small feat for someone only 27 years old! In September, Tinchy will be releasing his new album 360. We got a chance to talk to Tinchy about the new album, the current state of Grime, and who he was pulling for in the World Cup.

Grime had a moment in the US around 2005-2006 with the Run the Road compilations.  For those who lost track, what’s the state of grime right now?

I think grime did get a bit lost, but currently it’s at a place where it’s slowly finding its feet again. There are a lot of new generation emcees and artists who are coming through now and they seem to possess that same rawness and fire I think myself and other grime emcee’s had when we were coming up in the game, so I think everyone just needs to remain focused and embrace it and hopefully it will grow and get bigger.

You were part of one of the biggest grime crews, Roll Deep.  How did working with so many other talented emcees develop your style?

[Laughs] A lot of people make this mistake because I was around Roll Deep a lot but I was actually never part of the crew, in fact I had and still have my own crew which is called Ruff Sqwad. But Roll Deep definitely was a big part of my development, because one of the prominent members (Wiley) took a personal interest in me and use to invite me along to go on radio and perform with them. One thing I will always remember as a big influence was that Flow Dan who was a member of Roll Deep really helped me develop my presence on stage. I remember him telling me that I should always remember that “People came to watch you; you didn’t go to watch them.” In other words you are the show so make it a good one.

Your new album is called 360.  How does it compare to Third Strike?

Well I guess with 360 there is a definite progression and growth in terms of myself as an emcee. This probably my most free album to date as I think I am more expressive and open. I am definitely letting people in, in a way I never have before. Musically it’s very different to all my previous albums because the process is different. This time around I have been involved in the complete process of making each song, which is definitely different from the pervious process of working on the song in parts.

On your new single “ESG” you talk about being an Eastside geezer.  For Americans who might not understand what that means, care to explain?

Well I am from the East of London and anyone who has been in London knows that the east of London has a vibe and a culture that is just unique. It’s cool and trendy but also classically British. The term geezer is a cockney term (If you have watched movies like Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels it’s how they speak) which just means dude, guy, man, so the song just essentially means I’m a typical East London guy.

You’ve worked with artists like Taio Cruz, Calvin Harris, Lil Jon, and Wiley.  Who is the number one artist you want to collaborate with that you haven’t yet?

I definitely have to say Pharrell Willliams. I have wanted to work with him ever since I heard the word ‘Grindin’ by Clipse. It’s one of my favourite songs!

You’ve worked with Jay-Z as co-owner of Takeover Roc Nation.  How did that come about?

Well Jay Z and his team are no strangers to the UK and they had spotted myself and my music I think on a couple of occasions that they visited. They got in touch and they said that I reminded a lot of what they were doing when they were coming up from a music and business perspective. So we scheduled a few meetings as it was important for me to build a relationship with them and eventually everything just came together and we signed the deal.

After the release of 360, what are your plans?

Oh wow who knows. I am someone that doesn’t like to run before I can walk and don’t want to box myself in, so all I’ll say is hopefully bigger and better things. The sky’s the limit after all .

Finally, you were born in Ghana but live in England.  How did you decide who to root for in the World Cup?

Well I was lucky that they weren’t in the same groups so I didn’t have to choose. I rooted for both. For the Ghana games I had my shirt on cheering and vice versa for the England games. So I didn’t have to pick one or the other.

Tinchy Stryder’s ESG will be released on Cloud 9 Records on 21ST July. The album 360º will follow in the Autumn alongside a new range of Cloud 9 x Goji audio equipment.

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