Next Wave #1162: Slew

In association with Bed Head for Issue 127 of CLASH...

Ricocheting through an assortment of sub-genres with his cutting bars and unapologetic delivery, Slew is putting his own spin on the proverbial underground UK rap song. Having headlined a sold-out show, amassed a cult-like fan base and modelled for Burberry, Slew is swiftly becoming a name to look out for. “I’m more than just a person who gets dressed up and takes pictures; I’m an artist first and foremost,” Slew says, reflecting on his transition from fashion shoots to the booth. 

At thirteen, Slew moved with his family to Hertfordshire from West London for a quieter life. It didn’t go all that swimmingly. “I didn’t fit in. I’ve always been on my own wave, and it was quite hard to get accepted,” he says. “When you’re younger, people think it’s a bad thing to be different but as you get older that’s something you want to embrace.” Slew found inspiration in his older cousin who used to spit over grime beats: “He’s the main reason I wanted to start music but I didn’t want to copy anyone. I wanted to tell my own story.” 

It wasn’t until Slew took encouragement from his friends after jumping on the mic at parties that he started to truly explore his talents. He made the most of the pandemic pause in the studio, finding out what worked and what didn’t with different producers. Eventually, Slew found his genre-bending pocket. “It’s a standout sound,” he says. “I don’t want to jump on trends just because everyone else is doing it. Even down to sampling dance tunes, I don’t do it in a tacky way. I sample from places that you wouldn’t expect from someone who typically raps.” 

Last year, Slew released his debut mixtape ‘Face Value’. It’s the purest distillation of the West Londoner yet. “This is a project that best represents me. Listen to that on Spotify from start to finish, and gain a fuller picture of my story.” Lacing together elements of rap, grime, and drill into one explosive soundboard, ‘Face Value’ houses production from heavyweight names, Parked Up!, Nyge, Karma Kid and Slim Typical.

Having laid the foundation, Slew is looking to further tap into his nonconformist tendencies on future releases: “I want to constantly up the quality of my music. It’s all about progression going forward.”

WHAT: Progressive Rap

WHERE: Born in West London, bred in Hertfordshire 

3 SONGS: ‘Friendly’, ‘SOPRANOS’, ‘No More (Family Shit)’

FACT: Slew briefly lived in Japan for a modelling stint.

Words: Elle Evans

Photography: Bella Howard

Styling: Felicia Brown

Stylist Assistant: Idyllyn Frimpong 

Creative Direction: Rob Meyers

Slew wears a sweater by Hugo.

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