If the UK grime scene had a family tree it would go something like this. Wiley aka the Godfather of grime would sit at the top of the tree. Former Wiley protégée Dizzee Rascal would be the next heir in line and as the tree splitters down and sideways popular names such as Ghetto, Kano and Chipmunk would appear. Second cousins Sway and Lethal Bizzle would also make an appearance but if grime were to have a nephew - it would be Tinchy Stryder.
Hailing from the spiritual home of grime - Bow E3 - Tinchy Stryder is to grime what a bun is to a burger, the two just go together. Under the wing of grimes Godfather Wiley, Stryder burst onto the underground scene aged just 16. His small stature, rapid delivery and intense flow coupled with some east London swagger made Tinchy a popular feature on pirate radio stations such as Rinse FM.
With several underground hits and a promising debut album under his belt, it was merely a matter of time before the rapper made it to the top of the charts. His back to back commercial hits Stryder Man and the number three charting Take Me Back have already made him a household name.
Now 22 (and still 51) the rapper who has been number one in the UK singles chart for three consecutive weeks is currently putting the touches on his sophomore album Catch 22. Michelle Adabra caught up with the mc to talk about life on top of the charts, the future of grime and taking on the US.
AllHipHop.com: How are you feeling about your number one record?
Tinchy Stryder: Its one of those things that you dream about. When I first heard the news I just couldnt believe it really, Im very happy right now.
AllHipHop.com: So youre the first artist in the UK to go to number one with a record called Number One- not even Kanye and Pharrell could manage that
Tinchy Stryder: I know I heard that Ive set a record (laughs). I didnt call it Number One thinking, Im going to number one but it happened anyway so Im thankful.
AllHipHop.com: Youre currently working on your new album Catch 22 what can we expect from it?
Tinchy Stryder: Its like a new sound for me on this album. Im really experimenting, obviously there are some grime sounding tracks because thats where Ive come from but Ive tried to not limit myself in terms of sound. I didnt want to go to crazy on the collobos, so far Ive got a track with N Dubz and Frank Music who are both doing big things in the UK right now.
AllHipHop.com: So was it a conscious decision to move away from the traditional grime sound?
Tinchy Stryder: No it wasnt really conscious, sometimes it just depends on the producer youre working with. If Im working with someone who makes those really dark, grime beats then thats what Im gonna record. The difference is, this time around I worked with different producers and just tried to experiment more, Im really excited about the stuff weve done so far.
AllHipHop.com: Youve been dubbed the prince of grime; do you still see yourself as a grime artist?
Tinchy Stryder: Well yeah Ive come from the grime scene, so that will always be a part of me. Obviously the singles Ive released recently arent really grime but they connect more with the mass. Things are changing there are a lot of artists from the grime scene who are making different types of music now. I never called myself that name, it was given to me but at the end of the day I have come from the grime scene and Ill always be proud of that.
AllHipHop.com: Like you said a lot of grime artists are moving in other directions - do you think there still is a thriving grime scene?
Tinchy Stryder: The people at the top of the grime scene do seem to be moving in other directions however Ive been writing and spitting since I was 13. I can look back now and see a new wave of kids coming up and doing their thing in grime and these kids are going to experiment and take the music even further than we did.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of UK acts are having success in the States at the moment do you have any plans to do the same?
Tinchy Stryder: Yeah, hopefully. UK artists are doing pretty well at the moment so in time Id like to see if I could penetrate the US market. Hopefully they like my music and want me over there!
Tinchy Stryder Number 1
Tinchy Stryder Breathe