Wretch 32 releases his third studio album Six Words this month. Our six words? Get your hands on it NOW. Not only does it feature new rappers and brilliant verses, but we also get a glimpse of his singing voice – a facility which he himself described as “just one bespoke jacket in my tailoring shop” when CUB got first peek at the new lines he is pulling out this year.
What’s inspired your sound on your third album?
Growth, definitely growth. A lot of progression has been happening around me. Probably the lack of growth in music today. I just feel like it gets very samey. If someone has a hit using a triangle, everyone’s like we have to use a triangle. Hit chords, ‘cause they never lose. But I don’t think music is meant to be about that. It’s meant to be about expression. Feeling the vibe that you’re creating at that moment.
I enjoyed hearing a different side because, with UK rap especially, a lot of people attempt to enact the American scene, with the girls, money and all of that.
I just think that with a lot of rappers in particular they vent and just mirror what we see. So a lot of times when we make songs that are about girls and partying it’s probably because we’ve been in the club for seven days this week, doing PAs! Obviously when they are people that are lying, that’s when it gets ridiculous!
Lying in their raps!
Yeah, just facading the lifestyle. I suppose, that’s to some degree creative, but I just like when it’s honest, when it’s genuine.
You always have a message behind your music. How do you maintain having a message and a fan base as opposed to lying as you said?
It’s genuinely me. I’m that guy that would say forget about violence, I’d rather be cool. I’m just that guy. I’m casual. And I think generally my overall look on life is genuinely positive. I want to uplift people, I don’t put anybody down. So, yeah, I think it is because it just genuinely is me being honest in the records.
It’s been quite a good year for UK rap — we’ve got Krept & Konan, Little Simz coming up, and a general air of respect for the UK rap community has been gained, but do you think this will be maintained?
Yeah, I think what’s happening is that the next generation of artists are willing to work hard. They’re talented and they’ve learnt from all of our pros and our cons. As long as people keep progressing and keep making mistakes they’ll always be people that will learn from both sides of the coin. You look at Stormzy and you can see that he’s come through learning Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Skepta, Ghetts, myself; Little Simz likewise. It’s great ‘cause when they come through we’re all receptive and nurturing and want to give them good advice. Work with them and create good records. So that’s what’s keeping it healthy.
And the new artists that are coming through actually love the culture. Sometimes it hits a point where there are a lot of acts – not just here but in general – that I think the end result is just fame, or money or girls or something so shallow. I think when that’s the foundation of the next generation it will never last. This is why with the artists that your mentioning you can tell that they actually love music, they love the culture, they wear it. So they will be successful. Little Simz she will turn up. Stormzy he will turn up. There’s a new kid called Bonkers – he will turn up. They care about making a difference.
Back in the day when we were growing up listening to music, it wasn’t about who had the best car, or who was married to who. It was about who had the best verse. Rap was so competitive. People wanted to be the best! That’s why you had the best music back then because people wanted to outshine the other guy with the best song. Now it’s “I’m going to outshine you with the best video with the most girls that are wearing the least”. And when that’s the foundation of it the quality is thrown out the window.
That was deep, put that in a song! The ‘Doing Ok’ video (which I loved) what inspired that?
Culture. Both of the records ‘Blackout’ and ‘Doing Ok’ are a coin flip apart. I see ‘Blackout’ as sundown and ‘Doing Ok’ as sunrise. So when I thought how I’m going to shoot a video – ‘cause at that moment I’m feeling everything’s cool and everything’s alright, I’m actually doing okay. So I wanted to go somewhere where people had the least but they had the best spirit. They had the most spirit. They have the least items but the most spirit, uplifting community. So we went to where we went to shoot it and I think it just resonates and really hit home. It didn’t do massive, it wasn’t a hit like that, but it was the type of record that comes through and-
It had a message?
Yeah and whoever feels it, really feels it. And if you didn’t understand it, it wasn’t for you.