Whats up with the beard? is the question probably most put to Bashy this year. Thats because if youve caught a glimpse of the rapper in the last six months, it wouldnt have escaped your attention that hes been rocking a very thick beard. No he didnt turn into a black activist in response to some of the internet rumors that were circulating he just vowed not to cut his beard until his album was complete. Fast forward six months and a clean-shaven Bashy could be seen joking about said beard at his album launch party, finally the day had arrived.
Its been a long time coming for the talented north-London MC. From the days of his breakthrough Chupa Chups and Your Mum mixtapes to becoming a social commentator for a so called lost generation- Bashys stock is rising quicker than anybody could have predicted.
Last year he enjoyed a phenomenal year, his anthem Black Boys became an instant street classic in the UK and beyond. His theme song to the hit Brit flick Adulthood entered the national singles chart and was also nominated for a Best Video MOBO award.
Now the 24-year-old rapper with the commanding voice is up against his biggest challenge: releasing his debut album.
Featuring production from Toddla T and long time collaborator Naughty Boy Catch Me If You Can is Bashys official introduction to the world. AllHipHop caught up with him to talk about the new album, his clothing range and speaking his mind.
AllHipHop.com: Your album has just been released how are you feeling about it?
Bashy: Im excited; its good times for alot of UK acts right now. The scene has shifted a bit so the light is really being shone on UK acts. This is a great time to put out a album and just push it as hard as you can. The response to my album so far has been phenomenal, theres alot of people talking about it. Sometimes you can make something which you think is banging and then you put it out and people arent feeling it but its like people are reading my mind on this album the feedback from all around is so positive.
AllHipHop.com: The album has been a long time coming, why the delay?
Bashy: I just wanted to make sure I got it right, I didnt want to rush it hence the beard (laughs). I felt that I was still developing as an artist Im still developing now. Im still growing and I think thats what it was I needed to grow to a certain point before I could do it.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think your sound has changed over the years?
Bashy: I think my voice is my biggest sound, so in that sense it hasnt really. I use the music as a score to the words that Im saying but I have always spoke my mind, I always say whats on my heart. I think the older I get and the more experience I acquire, gives me more confidence to do me.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think the music industry is in a good place right now?
Bashy: I think its very healthy at the moment and its only going to get better. Were the new generation of artists coming through and I think were gonna do things that will change the face of British music.
AllHipHop.com: So do you think it will be easier for artists such as yourself do break through into the top ten?
Bashy: I dont think its necessarily about your chart place anymore because chart success is not what the numbers are. Take N-Dubz, theyve sold way over 400,000 copies of their album and they havent had a top five really. So I think its about selling albums, touring, clothing making yourself a brand.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of brands, tell me about your clothing label Bish Bash Bosh.
Bashy: Bish Bash Bosh is more than just a clothing label, its a lifestyle. Weve got the first Bish Bash Bosh black limited edition range out now and the next line will follow later this year. Its been getting a really good response; people keep telling me how much they like the design.
AllHipHop.com: Youre very open on your blog which has become extremely popular with industry heads - has this ever got you into trouble?
Bashy: Not trouble, Im a grown man (laughs) but it has raised a few eyebrows and Ive had a few conversations but its all good.
AllHipHop.com: Would you ever comment on another artists work and how would you feel if a fellow rapper commented on your music?
Bashy: I like feedback, it allows you to grow. When I finish a show I always ask people what they think, I mean what they really think. Personally I feel like I need to know, I want to know because I like honesty.
AllHipHop.com: The track "Black Boys" really opened doors for you how has it changed your life?
Bashy: I think Black Boys was the beginning of the journey which has allowed me to end up where I am now. It did allow the doors to be opened a bit more, theyre still not fully open but were working on that. The track opened me up to a wider audience, it was a positive track and I think thats why people liked it so much.
AllHipHop.com: Whats on your ipod at the moment?
Bashy: Im listening to so much different stuff at the moment. Ive been listening to Rick Rosss new album Deeper Than Rap, Ive also been listening to a lot of Drake. Ive got a little funky house on here I like a little bit of everything, whatever speaks to me.
AllHipHop.com: Your profile is rising very quickly are you worried about becoming famous?
Bashy: I dont know, I dont really think Im famous I dont know what other people think. To me, Im still doing me - if you get me; not that much has changed. Yes, I do get recognised more and stopped on the street for autographs and pictures but it comes with it I guess. You either know how to deal with it or you dont. I think the trick is not to pay too much attention to the being famous part of the music game.
AllHipHop.com: Last year you missed out on being nominated for the BET Best UK Hip Hop Act Award did that bother you?
Bashy: As long as the fans support me and like my music thats the most important thing to me. Obviously its nice to get awards but the fans are the ones who put you where you are. I just want whatever I deserve and nothing more.