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[Interview] Stories from East London: Kojey Radical is the Most Inspirational Person You’ve Never Met

[Interview] Stories from East London: Kojey Radical is the Most Inspirational Person You’ve Never Met

On a clear summer’s eve in Crown Heights, Upcoming Hip Hop met Kojey Radical, a spoken word poet from East London. Feeling lucky to have caught him on his first trip to the US, UHH were excited to meet the man who has stunned the UK with his poetic prowess and multi-faceted creativity. Having released two EPs, ‘Dear Daisy: Opium’ in 2014 and ‘23Winters’ earlier this year, Kojey has fast made an impression not only on the spoken word scene, but on UK music in general. With spoken word rapidly picking up in popularity, Kojey is part of the new wave of poets not bound by industry norms or labels (both figuratively and literally). However, you don’t need to know about spoken word to appreciate Kojey’s music. He’s very upfront about not being a rapper, but he has rapped, he can sing, he can dance, and he can most definitely write. If you appreciate lyrics in any form, then you will appreciate him.

Something that immediately strikes you about Kojey is his rawness. As a listener, you feel as though he’s sharing his deepest thoughts with you and no one else can hear them. The intensity at which Kojey speaks is almost uncomfortable, not to mention some of the topics he talks about. But that only endears you further into his world, because when an artist bears everything, even if it’s almost too real, you have no choice but to embrace it - otherwise what’s the point?

[Interview] Stories from East London: Kojey Radical is the Most Inspirational Person You’ve Never Met

UHH: So what brings you to New York?

Kojey Radical : I just like the idea of humility, and a lot of the talk in London at the moment is that America is the next step for me in terms of being received by a new audience. I didn’t like the idea of just coming over with my manager, going straight to label rooms and just taking meetings. Even in London I roll by myself, and even when people stop me I just have normal conversations with them. I wanted to come to New York and be normal. That was literally my intent, so I’ve just done some normal arse stuff.


I had some dumplings, been up and down Crown Heights, walked through Times Square, went to Central Park today, saw dogs peeing on trees and stuff – just normal, everyday stuff. Got some juice…

…$10 juice?

Yeah what is that about?! It was like a kale, ginger green thing. They hear the accent, take my card and swipe it away.

I went to a boat party, it just kept skidding. Nice little nighttime vibe, went past all the landmarks.

Have you had a slice at 3am? It’s the equivalent of a kebab shop in the UK.

Ooh that’s why kebab shops are so shit. I was like, why are the kebab shops in trucks? What’s that about?

So you grew up in East London, live there still. E5, E8?

N1! I live in Hoxton Market, I’ve always just been on the borderline. I went to school in East London, still rep the East.

I read that you went to fashion school and you used to dance?

Yep I went to London College of Fashion and I was dancing for 9 years.

That’s mad, what kind of dance?

I was doing street dance and contemporary.

And why did you stop?

I was doing a bunch of stuff, some of it had to stop. I was an overactive kid, started when I was 10 and then got to 19 and thought, I don’t think I want to be a dancer. I love dancing, I love music, I love musicality but I didn’t want to be ‘a dancer’. But I still dance in my videos and stuff so I try to keep it somewhere.

How do you get into music around all this other creative stuff?

It was my final term of university and I had an idea for an art project that involved music, and I hadn’t made music before. So I made a book and the book was all illustrated; I took it to producers and asked them if they could make it into sound and they did. I think the first studio session I had was with Jay Prince, and the first song was The Garden Party.

And you’ve only been doing this for about 3 years?

Yeah 3 years max now, it’s been fun! It could’ve been a longer, more strenuous, more heartbreaking journey.

Do you see yourself as a ‘musician’ or do you wear these many hats?

I try to now [see myself as a musician] simply because I wear many hats, I’ve had time on each one of them to solidify my position. Whereas with music, it’s constantly changing and trying to keep up with it. So if I don’t actually say ‘I’m a music artist’, I feel like I’m just going to get lost in the whole self-pretentiousness. I want to be the best, I want my awards and plaques and that, and then I can be a c***. I’ve got to work hard first.

Where does PushCrayons fit into all this?

PushCrayons is my creative media agency and collective. I started that a year before I started doing music, and it was just a way for me and my boy Craig to work with other creatives without anchoring them into a team that meant you had to keep contributing. It was just about the projects you were working on at the time. Through that we ended up getting more core members and it allowed us to run things more frequently, more fluidly. So now we have different imprints per se that work independently of each other. So we’ve got a film company, we got fine artists, there’s the music side of it. Everything just kind of collides. It all operates on the idea that everyone who is a core member knows that they have a team of people to help them function in any facet they want to, so if a fine artist wants to do a sound installation piece, they know that they can go to the engineers.

You mentioned you videos just now, and we’ve had a few more visual albums lately like Frank Ocean and Beyoncé…

I haven’t seen Frank’s yet.

Have you listened to it?

I’ve been trying to. Between Frank Ocean and British weather, I think I’ve got just too many trust issues. And Frank is at the forefront of all my trust issues. It’s like a love/hate relationship; when I wanted you to be there, you wasn’t there for me. I just don’t know if I’m ready yet, but I appreciate he did the visual album.

Do you feel like that’s where music is going, that people are dropping more visuals? We had the days of MTV, then videos dropped off a bit and now with YouTube and so on it’s come back. And for you, your videos are basically short films.

I always go back to just the UK and I feel like it’s important for us to start paying more attention to visuals, because it is one of the biggest forms of communication within music and it completely defines your aesthetic at the end of the day. I think on the forefront, especially UK hip hop, we’re known for having crap videos but good songs. Just on road, bare man, shoot them real quick, edit them up, couple of earthquake effects and keep it moving. I feel like me paying more attention to the visual element helped people want to care. Music is so saturated, you don’t have to care. But if something comes along that’s actually, genuinely one of a kind in any way…I don’t expect everyone to get my music, my music is in a space where you have to decide if you like it or not. But you can’t tell me you don’t like the videos. Watch them with the sound off and they’re still amazing. That was my intent – even if people don’t get me, there’s something to get.

I like that you have the same format running through all your videos. It’s nice to think that artists have put so much thought into it.

We literally shot a video just before I flew out…

Oh when’s that coming out?

Not sure, maybe as soon as I get back. I’m trying not to overthink things any more. I’m not signed to a label so it’s not like I have a label breathing down my neck going, ‘we have this quota to fill’. I’ll do it on my own terms and in my own time.

In the UK a lot of artists have chosen not to be signed. Is that a conscious decision you want to keep making?

I just don’t like anyone! I had the meetings, I listened to them, I saw the offers. For me it’s not even the numbers on the paper, I just went in and I didn’t like them. It’s simple things; you’ve heard stuff, I’ve come to the meeting, I play you 3 demos that aren’t good and aren’t finished and then you send me a contract, and it’s peanuts for an advance, while telling me “you’re a priority artist’” It’s like no, I’m not, I’m a lucky draw. So if you sign me and I pop, you really have me. But you’re not going to convince me that you have my best interests at heart, you don’t. In real life, I’m a human being; in those offices, I’m a product. If I don’t make the product good, I can’t sell it for much.

What about seeing yourself as a storyteller. Especially on 23Winters, you’re telling your father’s story.

It’s like I was and I wasn’t. It turned out that me and my father’s story correlated, and that’s what came to be the central theme for the project. It’s called 23Winters; I put it out just after my 23rd birthday, the project leads up to Ghana’s independence by the end of it, and my dad was 23 when Ghana was made independent. And all the bits of advice was from around that time, and it just so happened that all the things I was going through in my life, in a completely different world just happened to correlate.

I wanted to be a cartoonist when I was a kid. Even when I came to music for the first time, it started with a book. So it’s always been about the idea of at least communicating some kind of story, or connecting to someone’s personal story in some way.

People call you a ‘spoken word artist’, are you happy with that title?

Poetry is the epicenter of everything, I can’t rap. I’ve been in training camps, I’m in the hyperbolic time chamber right now, fist-fighting with Goku and I’m coming out the other side a different man. But at the moment, I would never really say I’m a rapper, but I’ve rapped on records. Bambu was written acapella, it wasn’t written to the beat. Open Hand wasn’t written to a beat, the whole first half of Footsteps wasn’t written to a beat. It’s just poems that I have and then a song will come on and I’ll find it, and I’ll take words out. So a lot of the sentences are a lot longer when I’ve originally written them.

And how do you find the music to accompany your words?

I sit down and I help make it now. Before it used to be a case of ‘play me stuff’ but I didn’t like nothing. It could be as a simple as I don’t like how many hi-hats somebody’s put in a verse section, and I’m like ‘nah, take all of that out’. Because most programs operate the same, visually I could link logic to Photoshop by eye. I taught myself Photoshop so I’m like okay, Photoshop principles apply to Final Cut Pro, so when I started editing videos I was using that. Everything’s a block system, so when I was working with producers I can just look at the screen and know what was where, especially if it’s color-coordinated because I’m a little bit dyslexic like that, and then I just help compose the songs.

That’s really impressive. Before we get into 23Winters in more depth, I wanted to talk about politics in your music. You’re not signed so no one can tell you what to do. It sounds like you’re saying whatever you want to say, which is amazing, even though lots of other unsigned artists don’t do the same. How do you do that?

I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a political person in any way. I’m just a person, everybody exists in the same world and we’re all going through the same fuckeries. For example, the whole Brexit situation and how it was pushed towards Middle England who didn’t have the perception of the diversities that exist within England and just fear-mongered them into believing that the whole thing was about immigration. If I write about that as a concept, yeah it’s a political subject but the same thing’s happening here. So an American listening to the same song that I’m talking about something in a British context can still relate to it. Politics is more just a world-view of how we’re all living and existing within the world, and idealistically, music normally focuses on this idea of happiness, love and all that kind of stuff. Especially hip hop, it was always an outlet for expression. If I’m pissed off about something, I’m going to say it. Sometimes it could be a history thing, sometimes it’s politics, but if I feel it I’m going to say it. I’ve never really considered myself political in any way. I’ve been involved in politics in small areas but I didn’t vote. In my defense, I was playing Glastonbury at The Rum Shack headlining the stage.

Wow, how was that?

It was one of the best days of my life. And I come back and my country’s gone to shit.

I got there 15 minutes before my set. Stomped through the mud, swop my shoes, get on stage, do my show, the show’s gone off. I finish the show and I jumped into the crowd, everyone’s going crazy, I’ve come back in, I look down and the new shoes Adidas sent me are fucked so I’ve just taken them off and threw them into the crowd. Someone found one and they brought it to me so I signed it and gave it to them.

Aw sweet! Sounds perfect.

Just going back to the politics real quick, listening to your music I would still think there’s politics within it. Then you listen to some other hip hop and grime, and it’s still talking about going out, getting fucked, meeting girls.

That’s escapism. I still want to go out, meet girls and get fucked.

So why don’t I hear so much of that in your music?

I do, it’s just very discreet! For example, Love’s Intervention – that whole song is about talking to a girl who’s a fan of mine who just wants to have sex with me. That’s all the song’s about, and you wouldn’t know – that’s the power of poetry.

Love’s Intervention is on 23Winters, which came out earlier this year. Did it go down how you thought it would?

It went down better. I didn’t have any expectations, it was meant to be a free project. It was meant to be a 5 song EP and in the process of making it I thought, this concept’s bigger than me so I need to finish it and make it a full 10 track thing. Especially because prior to that, Dear Daisy was my first EP but I wouldn’t say many people heard it. So to a lot of people who discovered me after Bambu, this was my debut project. So I was like, ah I can’t half-arse it, it needs to be something credible. I was working on it up until the day it came out. Even when the press day came, I was still there taking out adlibs and putting stuff in. I wasn’t going to put it on iTunes – it had been out a week and people were constantly saying ‘yo, put this out properly’ so I was like fine. So I put it on iTunes, I’ve gone to see my dad – I’ve come out of the train station about 4 hours later, and I was about No.12 in the charts. I’ve got to my dad’s house and I got to No.8. By the time I got home, I was No.5, and then when I woke up the next day, I was No. 3. And it just carried on like that for that week, then I broke the Top 40 mid-week. It wasn’t anything I expected, it was the first time I’d sold my music and I still thought of it as an EP project but so many people called it an album. Mad stuff were happening behind the scenes, a lot of people wanted it to be nominated for a Mercury.


23Winters feels like a very neat, well thought-through body of work. It’s a story – I can’t listen to it on shuffle. It feels very different from Dear Daisy; what was the difference in you creatively making those two bodies of work?

Dear Daisy was pure vulnerability and zero experience. 23Winters was the same, with a little bit more experience. It was still as vulnerable but I feel like with Dear Daisy, because I didn’t know anything and even down to writing there’s no parameters, I didn’t know how sensitive I could be and still be accepted, so I just went all the way with it. In between I was working on a follow-up to Dear Daisy and that whole summer I toured with Young Fathers. When I came back I did my headline show with Noisey, that went down, did Open Hand and the Tate Britain premiere. I’ve gone to my Dad to tell him all the mad stuff I’ve just done and he didn’t care. When I’m 81, nothing my son tells me at 23 am I going to care about. It was when I played him one of the demos and it turned out to be the demo for Kwame Nkrumah and he was like, ‘I like this and I’m proud of you if you’re making music like this’. I literally just deleted the other project, just scrapped it. I started 23Winters in November and finished it in February. Imagine I had been working on another project for practically a year, and after one conversation I scrapped it and started again.

What was the other project like?

No one will ever know. There was more singing on it, a lot more musical in terms of production. Still a lot about flowers and girls. It would have had no cultural effect whatsoever.

You say what you want and because you’ve had that validation from your father, do you feel like you can?

The craziest thing is, even in relation to love, I was still saying what I wanted but I had to take myself away from a character – Dear Daisy was all about a character I invented called the Gardener, so I was putting myself in the Gardener’s shoes when I was writing that project. I said fuck all that, what am I doing? What does this feel like, what does that feel like, let me speak for me and make it a little bit more sincere. And I feel like that’s why it’s been more effective. The only song that survived from the other project was Selfish.

Love’s Intervention and Selfish are my favorite tracks but they are so different from the rest of the album. The emotion is so raw, there is nothing in between you and the listener.

Love’s Interlude, Love’s Intervention and Selfish, that was the middle section. When I was doing the project, I was doing it in arcs. Footsteps is just me, 2am walking through the park near my house next to this massive tower block estate, where I just used to go to smoke. Every time I was there, there was a mini kids’ playground and the tower block’s right there – the two always made me feel weird. The playground always made me feel like that’s my imagination and the estate always made me feel like that’s my reality. So even though I was sitting in my imagination, I was still surrounded by just the hood. So when I was writing Footsteps, Bambu and Rent’s Due, that was all that intro angst. A lot of the time where you go to get away from all that angst is just another person, a girl, ‘I don’t want to be in the hood anymore, I’m going to check this girl that lives across town’. And then coming back to everything with Open Hand, Kwame Nkrumah.

The interlude, funnily enough was a 2am session. I spent a lot of the time at my dad’s house when I was making the record. My dad’s got a lot of vinyls, especially a lot of Lovers Rock vinyls, so I was hooked on Lovers Rock for tiiime. Love’s Interlude, Love’s Intervention and Selfish were all my Lovers Rock period, I was banging it out. We were hooked on Stir It Up by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The conversation with my dad was a 2 hour conversation about everything so we just took snippets out of every single one. He’s telling a story about how Africans and West Indians would link up and have parties in the streets, take old amplifiers and blow them out and everyone would just come and meet each other. It’s that party vibe when you’re young, that’s where you’re meeting girls and it’s really innocent and it’s just not. I was talking to this girl in New York, and she was asking how British guys approach girls. I was like, it depends what guy it is. In your head you want to imagine it’s like Love Actually and everyone’s like Hugh Grant (UHH: no one’s like Hugh Grant) but it’s not the case. She was telling me how people interact in the club here and how people dance with each other. In my head I was thinking, this is weird because we have all of these deep things built up on relationships that are formed out of moments like that, people you just meet in the club and all of a sudden, these people become really special people in your life and all these dynamics start to build from there. I was stuck on that for ages as a subject and when I heard my dad speak about it I was like, this is crazy.

[Interview] Stories from East London: Kojey Radical is the Most Inspirational Person You’ve Never MetRecently I wrote a song called 700 Pennies. It’s not out yet but the chorus says “I just made 700 pennies at my last show, and I’m going to spend them all on you.” In the 2 hour conversation, my dad was telling me that in his day, a pound could buy you so much. Our value on what chivalry is and what’s expected of the male, a lot of the time comes from financial security, where people are making more because things are worth more. But going back to that simpler time in that section of the project I’m stripping all of that stuff – it was always about specific moments. Even if you are at a party, that ten minutes of quiet you get to talk to somebody that you’re interested in, and trying to capture that in a song. It was just a weird process of writing it. We chopped in my dad’s sample, so we took that voice note of him going “goong goong goong goong” – the beat of Love’s Interlude is my dad’s voice. We just went back and forth until we fell asleep, then woke up and was like right, that’s the interlude.

Then Love’s Intervention I started working on with Fwdslxsh, who actually just produced for PARTYNEXTDOOR on his album (he did You’ve Been Missed). Initially we wanted Ego Ella May but she’s on a musical hiatus. She’s one of the best singer-songwriters I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I literally was like ‘yo, I want Ray BLK for this song’. As I say this out loud, no word of a lie, she just walks past the studio. Asked her to come in, played it to her, and she sang on it the same day.

Selfish, I had written the whole song but couldn’t sing the high parts. Bobbi is a really good friend of mine and my producer, we just hit him up and asked him to sing on these records. But they all came from really organic, acute moments.

It didn’t feel like you were searching for features.

Yeah all organic, and they’re all my friends. Even doing features for other people, if I haven’t met you I can’t record on their song. It’s like breaking into their house and peeing in their sink, that’s how I feel about it. We have to be together in the room, I need to feel your energy. I just need a 30-40 minute conversation with you and it needs to have felt like 3 minutes. Then the music’s better – you can tell when someone’s dropped a verse and it’s whack.

All of these raw emotions, your life, your dad’s history – how do you feel about random people listening to that? Do you think about that when you’re making it?

I think I’ve emotionally detached myself from people hearing it. I was in the car with someone in New York and my song was playing – I feel like they were playing it but I forgot, I didn’t take it in. The emotional window was February through to April. It was a weird one, listening to it knowing that it was coming out, and getting to that outro track with the piano and my dad speaking about the independence – that’s the tearjerker for me. Other than that, I’m out.

What did your dad say when you played him the album?

The day it charted was the day he heard it. He basically said to me, ‘nobody knows what’s going to happen in life, but this sounds like the beginning of your life.’ He basically said he’s excited and proud that it’s going in this direction, and that I’m taking time to think about my lyrics and my music, and that he’s proud. I feel like that was the only review I read.

Okay, so thinking about spoken word as a genre in the UK, George the Poet was the first one to hit the mainstream.

I came up under them man. When I was coming up, George, Suli Breaks and GREEdS were there. If you were a young black yute trying to get into poetry, they were the mecca you had to respeck it, they were the ones winning. Suli actually took me under his wing, I was in the whole university of Suli Breaks. I remember it like it was yesterday. George being the first poet of his kind to sign a deal, I was mad excited. But then I heard some of his music and I just wasn’t that excited. Me and George have had this conversation – at that point, it was new to everyone and my appreciation of him comes from, if he wasn’t the first, I don’t feel like I would have ever had the courage or the guts to be like, it’s an option for me. As a poet, George is one of the best in the world. But the music side felt like what was being released was controlled by the label, and that’s where the sincerity got removed for me. Knowing from back in the day, from when I was looking at these young men like these are the lyrical geniuses of everything. And then I’m looking at these songs like, nah, you can’t fool me because I’ve been watching you from when you was webcamming on YouTube.

[Interview] Stories from East London: Kojey Radical is the Most Inspirational Person You’ve Never Met

You performed at Words First, how was that?

Words First was live. It was odd in a sense where I performed with a full band, even though I’m doing poetry, it’s half hip hop/half punk set up. Loads of middle-aged white ladies sitting at tables at the Roundhouse just staring at me, and I’m jumping and headbanging. And there were a few kids in and amongst every table that got it. I love the BBC because they put me on but stuff like that, I’m like the formula isn’t there.

Words First as a platform is necessary, it needs to carry on. It needs to get bigger and better, and incorporate as much young poetical talent as possible, because it exists. I didn’t have anything like Words First when I was trying to get into it but as soon as they threw me the baton I was off, I’m very much down.

Do you think you have a responsibility as a poet?

I don’t have one as a poet. I have one as a human being, but it’s one that I can ignore because everyone does. What happens is, they’ll take you and put you on a pedestal. On that pedestal, you’re not allowed to put a foot wrong because you’ll fall off. If you fall off, they’re not responsible for you no more. So as long as you fit their agenda of what a role model is, and you comply and you’re ticking all the boxes, smile when you need to smile, shaking hands when you have to shake them – everything’s great. But the definition of a role model does not prepare an audience for being human, so in the moments that you make mistakes and go wrong, you’re scrutinized more for it. I ain’t got time for that.

Apart from being unsigned, how do you escape that?

Keeping it trill, that’s why I roll everywhere by myself. I don’t roll anywhere with a gang of people, I could, but I don’t. I roll in by myself. Even if there’s an artist in London with a little bit less clout than me but I respect their sound, I’ll buy your ticket, I’ll go stand in the corner by myself, turn up in the front if I need to and then I’ll leave. Anybody that speaks to me on a one-on-one basis, I’ve got infinite amounts of advice, infinite amounts of love, infinite amounts of appreciation. But I’m not a mass role model. If masses of people find inspiration in my story, that’s great because I might find inspiration in theirs. But just on paper, nope.

So who are you inspired by?

My mum, my dad, Batman, Basquiat. That’s it.

Why Batman?

Because he’s prepared for anything.

Do you have a Robin?

No, that’s when he went wrong.

What about Lucius?

Lucius is the plug. I got bare. You need a Lucius in every city.

I want to touch on the grime scene because that’s the forefront of UK music right now. How would you describe it?

It derives from garage – you can’t say ‘gar-aaaage’, it’s ‘garij’.

Matt UHH: I watched a hip hop panel and they said a lot of the grime artists don’t respect the old heads in the foundation culture of hip hop. Is that true or just one guy’s opinion?

It’s probably one guy’s opinion, because grime itself is 100% based on the respect you have for the forefathers. But not hip hop.

They don’t need to respect the foundation of hip hop. They need to respect garage, raga, bashment…

That’s where it derives from. It’s 140 BPM, so it’s quick, the double time comes from raga. The early parts of it was just about being a mic man. Can you come on the mic and control the set. It was almost like party control, so a lot of early grime is repetition. You’ve got your double time, you got your latch, you got your 8-bar, someone else jumps in on another 8-bar. That was early grime. Then it got more and more complex in a sense where, you had artists like Kano come through and do a song like P’s and Q’s. P’s and Q’s was one of the first of its kind because it was lyrical but it was grime; still 140 BPM, still took you on a journey, still catchy enough for you to latch onto. Then grime started to develop from there. Early grime is very rough, very basement sounding, because it was made out of nothing. I’m talking you had a headphone plugged into the mic jack, you’d rap into the headphone. There was no microphones, there was no studio, there was no plushness, nothing like that, and it was a joke. Even people that used to rap thought grime was a joke ting, ‘it’s never gonna blow, it’s never gonna be nothing’. People stuck with it, they respected it as a culture and it became definitively British, it wasn’t just a London thing anymore. There was Scottish grime, there was Scouse grime, there was grime artists from Sheffield shelling the dance, you couldn’t escape it. The same way in hip hop there’s New York hip hop, there’s Atlanta hip hop – that’s our hip hop, that’s our religion.

What do you think about it coming to the US?

It’s good for it to come to the US because all music should travel, all music should reach different audiences. I feel like the US should stop thinking about it like it’s hip hop, it’s not hip hop. As soon as you remove that from yourself, it’s mad quick and mad clunky, you’re not going to like it. We have great UK hip hop separate to grime. Grime is a completely new sound. It has no roots in America. The whole culture of it is based on different cultures coming together. For example, the raga came from the Caribbeans, there’s a massive Caribbean community in England. Just the way schools would come about in East London, they had predominantly black students so where those cultures were starting to mix and becoming one overall tone of just being young, the way the music would travel and the influences that would come into the music. For example, we don’t have no Dominicans. Our equivalent would be Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, so that element of the culture came in. Even Jay Z came through, he’s been preeing the UK for time. He came over and heard mad mash-ups of Punjabi music, that was us. We would take that and chop the sample into grime because it was all about quick 4-bar loops you could make synths out of. Early grime was 2 tone or 3 tone (Kojey demonstrates for us). There was no Logic, we were making them on PCs, which would crash before you could even make a 16.

Some people would argue and say grime is hip hop because the foundations of rap are hip hop. It wouldn’t be wrong to say grime is a sub-genre of hip hop…

…but it wouldn’t be right.

There’s more than one way to argue that grime is a derivative of hip hop.

You could say there’s influence because grime artists were listening to US hip hop whilst making music, because there wasn’t UK hip hop back in the day.

Have you seen any live music in NY?

I saw Princess Nokia perform on a boat. She’s gangsta as fuck, I like her. I’m actually performing at one of the AfroPunk after parties, Back to Life.

Oh sick, we’ll definitely be there! We hit up Back to Life every month.

After the interview had taken place, UHH went to see Kojey perform his first ever US show at the Back to Life Afropunk after party, and we were intensely impressed. Next time he’s here, make sure you catch him. If you’re lucky enough to live in London, grab a ticket to his headline show on 22nd September at the Jazz Café, we promise it’ll be some special.

Connect with Kojey Radical

[Interview] Stories from East London: Kojey Radical is the Most Inspirational Person You’ve Never Met

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