60 Seconds With Wretch 32November 7, 2016
Among the many talents to emerge from the grime scene since its inception is Tottenham rapper Wretch 32. The former grime MC achieved mainstream success with hit single ‘Traktor’ back in 2011, and has since become one of the most respected artists to grace the UK urban music scene. Having recently released his third album ‘GrowingOverLife’, a beautiful blend of thought-provoking lyrics and catchy hooks, we caught up with Wretch to talk inspiration, growth and pre-performance rituals.
What music did you listen to growing up?
Growing up I listened to a lot of reggae, a lot of bashment and a bit of rap. Artists like Gregory Isaacs, Garnett Silk – the greats.
Is there a particular song that you remember from your childhood?
Ermm, there’s a lot, but probably Garnett Silk. The one that comes to mind is Garnett Silk Fill Us Up With Your Mercy.
How do you feel your music has changed since you first started out in the industry?
I think I’ve gotten better and my sound has progressed. More people can digest my music, and I think that the main differences are in the quality. The quality has always been improving, which I think is important. I’ve had more experiences, so I have more tales to talk about. So much has happened in that time and it’s good to be able to touch on it in a nice way, and not to go too deep in, so a lot of people can identify with some of the stories.
Do you think your fans have seen you in a different light since releasing GrowingOverLife?
I hope so. I hope they understand what artistic direction I’m walking in now. You know, sometimes you do things that are a bit different and it can throw people off or whatever, but I’m a strong believer in what will be, will be.
What was the inspiration behind the album?
Just progression man. Like the experiences I’ve seen, what’s happening in society, and just wanting to get a strong, positive message across. Sometimes you talk about stuff and sometimes it’s old news, or some people aren’t ready to hear it yet. So I think with everything that was going on at the time, and releasing some of the records around the same time, it was happening hand in hand. That definitely made people understand why the music was like that because it’s reflecting what’s actually really happening in the world.
You’ve had quite a lot of great collaborations, is there anyone else you’d like to work with?
Yeah, there are some people, I still want to work with Damien Marley.
Who would you say are your five biggest influences, musically and culturally?
Erm Jay Z, probably Diddy and Ian Wright, Chris Martin – from Coldplay and Bob Marley. In my head I always want to challenge whoever the best is. So, when I’m writing a chorus or writing a song, I’m like, ‘I want this to be better than what Chris Martin produces’, so, I use him as the benchmark for excellence. The same goes for when I’m trying to write a rap verse, I want to make sure it’s a better version than what Jay Z would write – you know what I mean? With Bob Marley, I want my songs to feel as good as his songs felt. I use them all as the benchmarks for excellence.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals or superstitions?
Just to try and have a good day before the show. I like a bit of liquor, and I just like there to be music playing and stuff like that. I don’t like getting ready for a show as if it was a job interview.
What’s your ultimate fashion essential?
Umm, a jacket – a nice jacket.
If you could only pick one outfit to tour with what would it look like?
Ripped jeans, oversized tee – all black of course. Pair of high tops, black Yeezys maybe. Yeah, and a jacket.
Photography by Philipp Raheem