For years, grime and UK rap may as well have stopped at the southern edge of the M25. Even as more and more MCs started appearing outside of London – Bugzy Malone in Manchester, Jay1 in Coventry, Young T & Bugsey in Nottingham – the South coast still lagged behind. Halfway through a global pandemic though, that started to change.
“I just came in and blew the bloody doors off like Michael Caine!” laughs ArrDee, the 18-year old Brighton resident who has fast become the most-hyped rapper in the UK, as well as the city’s first real rap contender in years. “I’m the first, but the scene’s popping, so I’ll be the first of many.”
Despite his age, ArrDee has already peppered the Top 10 with his punchy bars. That’s not to say it’s been an overnight success, though. “I’ve been rapping for years,” he says. “I was manifesting it – I believed I was the shit even when I was just shit! I started improving when I was like 15, because I’d seen a bit more and gone through some stuff. I was rapping when I was 12, but what can you rap about? Just going to the shops to buy some sweets, it’s not exactly good material.”
The one continuous thread that runs through everything ArrDee does is his hometown. With tracks such as ‘6am In Brighton’, he’s done his best to make it impossible to ignore where he’s from. “Who I am is just Brighton,” he says.
“This city made me. Plus it’s deeper than just me. I’m the first one, so I’ve got to be the one who does it for the town. A few man have done it before, but just strayed or left and not bigged it up like it deserves. There’s so much talent down here, so why would I not want to shout about where I’m from?”
Despite this pride for his hometown, he can’t help but look further afield as restrictions lift. “I turned 18 in lockdown – I’ve never been properly clubbing!” he says with a groan. “Big Boris might just jump on the telly and tell everyone to shut up and sit in their yard, but fingers crossed and touch wood, I can finally get myself out there.”
“Get ready for absolute carnage,” he finishes. “If you don’t like seeing my face all over the internet right now, you’re gonna be pissed off by the end of the year, let’s put it that way!”
Where: Brighton, England
What: UK rap
Get 3 songs: ‘Oliver Twist, ‘6am in Brighton’, ‘Cheeky Bars (Freestyle)’
Fact: Travis Scott would be his dream artist collaboration
Words: Jake Hawkes
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Styling: Felicia Brown
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