Next Wave #865: Yizzy

In Association With Tommy Hilfiger

Yizzy is an 18-year-old MC on a mission. On his latest EP, ‘Save Our Sound’, he gathered some of the most revered names in the game – Terror Danjah, DOK (“One of the craziest producers you’ll ever hear to manipulate percussion, easily”), Treble Clef, and more – for a seven-track barrage of unrelenting grime energy.

During our conversation he often stops, screwing up his face while he organises his thoughts, but when he speaks, he does so at speed, and with purpose, confidence and clarity. Despite his young age, he has a strong sense of his place in the world. “You have to remember it’s not just you in this sound,” he tells me. “It’s other people that have already done their thing, and there’s more people to come as well. So be mindful of your actions.”

While he is reluctant to describe himself as a purist, he is a strong believer in grime’s foundations. “Without radio, there wouldn’t be a grime sound,” he says. “Kano didn’t know spitting 16s in some dirty kitchen that it was gonna turn into him doing the main stage at some festival. But that’s where it started from. And without them, there’s no us.”

It’s not just the phenomenal success of someone like Kano that drives him, though. Inspiration can come much closer to home, be it someone “fixing up an old studio in the ends” or looking after their mum. In fact, he can be highly critical of the grime scene, describing it as “full of hypocrisy”.

“Everyone’s too buddy-buddy,” he continues. “Even though behind closed doors, don’t get it twisted, everyone in the grime scene chats about everyone.” It’s for this reason he avoids paying attention to the hype, preferring to focus on developing his own craft. “I sit down in a producer’s house and make a riddim from scratch; I sit down with the videographer and edit the video in their house. I’m hands-on every step of the way.”

“If you come over here and disturb me, I will disturb you. I’ll deal with it with the same energy I put into all of my music – which is a lot. If someone sends for me I’m gonna dedicate my life to destroying their career, and I mean it.”

It would be a mistake to doubt him. After all, as he points out, his journey from the classroom to working with some of the most respected musicians in the scene has been swift. “The fact I am where I am in two years, straight out of GCSEs, shows you I don’t fuck around with this music thing.”

WHERE: Lewisham, London
WHAT: Skippy, ‘back to its roots’ grime in the mould of Ghetts, P Money and Novelist
GET 3 SONGS: ‘BAP’, ‘Radio Danger’, ‘Grime Kid’

FACT: During his GCSEs, Yizzy would often be up until 4am writing lyrics, despite having exams at 9am, though he doesn’t advise kids to follow suit.

– – –

– – –

Words: Alex McFadyen
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Josh Tuckley

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine


Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.