This summer saw the arrival of a fresh voice from across the pond. Hailing from the same area of England as J. K. Rowling, Banksy, and Tricky comes the Bristol emcee ThisisDA.
What started as playground cyphers with friends has grown into a rising rap career for the British national. The rapper/producer officially adopted the distinct ThisisDA after realizing the two-letter moniker D.A. used in his teenage days would not be the most Google-friendly stage name.
The 20-year-old performer let loose his album Super Arkane in 2014, but it was this year’s Based Off Black EP that grabbed attention from the Hip Hop blogosphere. The 8-track project is a jazz-influenced, boom bap resurrected opus that effortlessly slides between introspective observations and timely social commentary.
Based Off Black features production by Spacedtime, Julian G, Herring Franky, and Mankub. The EP also received an assist from Los Angeles standout Blu. The creator of the underground classic Below The Heavens connected with ThisisDA after a conversation on Twitter over a year ago. The result of that social media interaction is the two spitters tackling the song “Won’t Change.”
AllHipHop.com was able to get ThisisDA to participate in the “Three Questions” feature series. Find out what the Brit has to say about his nation’s Hip Hop culture, rapping about police brutality, and “pluckable” R&B stars.
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What are three things about British Hip Hop culture that Americans may not know?
Firstly, there isn't really a cohesive culture here, just a lot of kids that rap. Secondly, we don't look to Americans for inspiration as far as many are led to believe. There's just as much going on here. Lastly, there's a lot of variations of British rap. The media tend to place British rappers in one category, but there are too many variations for a simple generalization.
Why did you decide to address the issues of police brutality and racial profiling in America on "Sell Me"?
I never decide a concept before writing a song. I just play the beat and write down the first few things that come out. Guess it was on my mind heavy at the time.
On "Electric 18" you say you have dreams of plucking an R&B chick? Which R&B singers are the most pluckable in your eyes and why?
I would probably say Tink. She's good at what she does, and she seems intellectual. Can't beat that. Tinashe is kind of nice too, but she's forever doing the most.
[ALSO READ: Three Questions With Kenn Starr]
Stream/download ThisisDA’s Based Off Black EP below.