Clark's best kept secret

Clarks don’t know who they’re dealing with. Right in the pinpoint centre of London, St Giles’s Circus, lies an unassuming shoe store that is the home of a monster. By day, this guy assesses rub factors; ‘do the toes touch?’ he asks wailing schoolkids. By night, he’s on a Mr Hyde steelo. This guy has ripped mics with Mos Def, Method Man and Redman, been compared to Ghostface Killah and Pharaoh Monch in feature spreads in Hip Hop Connection magazine. This dude has been in remixes with Ludacris and Young Jeezy. Hell, the next biggest cat to get this close to this many cats’ feet was the motherfucking Pope.

It was to a select yet unenlightened crowd that my man Pyrelli played to on a rainy Saturday afternoon last weekend. Backed up by MOBO-winning DJ Phoebe One, he played the evangelist, not the pimp roll smug mug, reeling in a twenty-deep crowd Regent Street shoppers who hadn’t heard the ‘Lazy Boy’ flow yet.

Backstory: this cat has been knee-deep in rap since he first heard and copied out every verse in Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. [I did basically did the same thing so maybe ‘Relli and I’ll get along] This cat represents Seven Sisters, Tottenham, yet supports Arsenal [scrap that about getting along] and was in a super group dubbed in HHC as “a British Wu-Tang”, alongside Sway and the prolific Mr Ti2bs. Sway has of course passed through to the mainstream, but Mr Ti2bs, ‘the black Del Boy’ is a rap godfather you should take note of – [UK classic mixtapes North Star Rising and From My Manor To Your Manor vols I and II]. The group released only one album before splitting but P’s pedigree as a UK rapper of note was cemented.

The day seems incongruous to the man’s achievements, yet Pyrelli is not complaining: “Performing in front of my Clarks peers is harder than doing it front of a million” he says.

He begins with his 20,000-hit YouTube single – Can’t Be Asked, which features a siren synth on the beat, and with ‘Lazy Boy’ bragging ‘Don’t pay for crepes, don’t pay for clothes, don’t pay at all’; the ‘don’t pay for crepes reference was probably hidden for viewers of his slickly- produced club bling fest of a video.

The Swallow Street junction of West Regent Street had crawled to M25 roadblock pace, as the next track, Miracles, squelched in: “Take the N279 to the north part of town...[in the club on] tap water say its lemonade in disguise...[talking to my girlfriend] ‘I don’t see no return financially but the flow is absurd’”: nice lyrics, alternatively lazy style and patter-brisk, although Pyrelli tells me he’s worked on ‘slowing down’ his style [just don’t go chillwave mate].

It was during a break, when Phoebe One was treating the crowd to some excellent soul singing, that we got a surprise. P1 asked a small girl in a green mac to come to the stage, and Clash assumed that she wouldn’t come forward, as all other summoned kids had run away. Rafaela, as we discovered she was called, was a whole different level. She ran up on stage and immediately [she was about seven] launched into a Cheryl Cole number in front of about fifty people! She then threw some outrageous shapes with ‘Relli and the crew, and parted company with a cracking high five never to be seen again. Rafaela, if you’re reading, Polydor want you!

Pyrelli then left the building, leaving a applauding [and brap-ing] crowd baying for me. As he left, he casually dropped into conversation that he had come ninth out of 7,500 people in the Orange Unsigned Acts show on Channel 4. As you do.

Words by Miguel Cullen

Find out more about Clarks Originals 'Original And Live' gig series on HERE.

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