“When you’re in a dark place you write your heart out. It’s really true when artists say that. I wrote this song in a dark place and literally in the dark. Recorded the demo of it pretty much drunk, and there were some sweaty eyeballs, so lyrically yeah, it’s strong.”
A few weeks back, we brought attention to East London rapper Abiade and his video for “The City”, a masterful and moving tale of what life is like growing up in impoverished London district Bow. Highlighting issues varying from police harassment to alcohol abuse, ‘The City’ is an aptly deep expression of being down and out in a forgotten corner of London’s urban jungle, with a hauntingly beautiful video to boot. NSM caught with Abiade to talk “The City”‘s influences, the future, and why Abiade would love to perform in Asia.
Tell us a bit about Abiade – What ends are you from? Where did you grow up/ where are you based now?
I’m born and raised in South East London – Camberwell is originally home to me but I’ve lived in Bow for the last 7 or 8 years so that’s the second home for me. South East Londoners are a different breed altogether, in the best way.
Are there any crews/ collectives you’ve worked with in the past and/or work with now?
I mainly work with other artists, but in terms of crews, Camouflage Children are buddies of mine and The Kemistry before they kinda disbanded. More so they are part of my music family; I performed with them loads and socially we’re cool.
Give us a basic outline of your journey through music so far – when/how did you come into being an artist, and what has happened up to this point?
I’ve always been an artist. I was heavily influenced by the London music scene and can’t see myself letting go of that in terms of sound or flow. I realised I was good when I tried out my Warm Up Mixtape on the live scene and since then it’s been more serious. It’s taken me to sharing stages with people like Bruno Mars (which is mad looking back), performing at Reading & Leeds Festival and decent support whenever I’ve blessed the mic/stage. Shout out to BBC as well.
Are there any specific artists from back in the day that particularly inspired you?
Yeah definitely. Be all and end all of rap to start with was Bone Thugs and Outkast. I had a household where it was always Sunny Ade from my dad or Tupac & real rappers from my sis. I carved out my interest based on their melodies and flows and their style! Loved it. But then I understood what we had here: So Solid Crew, Oxide & Neutrino, the UK Garage scene and loads of others, and it was just cool to not have to look to the big brothers stateside. We had our own vibe.
What are your plans for the next year and further? Are there any upcoming projects you want me to shoutout?
It’s gonna be a number of singles and then I’ll jump back into the performing thing heavy. I’d rather do that than all the social media stuff cos that’s a job in itself and performing is a better wave.
“The City” has a very defined sound, and is masterful at telling its story – can you tell us about how the track came about and what it represents for you as an artist?
Cheers, yeah, it’s a special track. When you’re in a dark place you write your heart out. It’s really true when artists say that. I wrote this song in a dark place and literally in the dark. Recorded the demo of it pretty much drunk, and there were some sweaty eyeballs, so lyrically yeah, it’s strong. I just wanted to write a song that says “thank you for what you made me, I hate you but will always love you” type vibe. Most people can relate to that. “The City” can represent anything to anyone.
Have you/ are you currently doing shows? If not, are there plans for shows in the future?
Studio flow at the moment. Always plans to do shows but the next few singles are gonna be the focus then I’ll test drive it via the shows.
If you could work with any UK MC or producer right now that you haven’t already, who would it be?
Yeah there’s quite a few. On the MC side, people like Dream Mclean, Adian Coker, Wretch, Kano. Bonkaz is live too but these guys don’t need my props, I just hope they keep making dope stuff. Producer side, Labrinth is the heights, Damon Albarn is one of my top 5 artists, Mike Skinner… producers where you just know you’re gonna get that sound.
UK urban seems to be going through a very healthy patch at the minute – are there any artists nationwide that you’re particularly feeling right now?
Yeah, there’s a few others, but this is the part I say ABIADE haha! Nah, in all seriousness the UK is doing its thing again, and hopefully it’s here to stay this time. Some strong collabs with a good mixture of the known and unknown. We can become part of the UK music culture like rap is in the US but we’ve got some work to do.
Grime and the UK sound is finally properly taking off overseas recently – if you could perform in any other city in the world, where would it be?
I’d wanna hit up Asia man, music fans are passionate and I could slide from the stage to some ridiculous trainer stores.