Sunday, 3 February 2008

Tinchy Stryder: SuperSuper (2007)


Interview by Chantelle Fiddy

He may look pre-pubescent, but twenty year old Tinchy Stryder is reaching veteran status in the grime MC game. Having perfected his rapid-fire lyrical game alongside his crew Ruff Squad, who have a penchant for sampling pop classics from Billy Joel to Madonna, the baby faced star in the hood is now ready to stride the solo path. With plenty of sing-a-long, gun finger moments to be had, a support slot on Kano’s tour confirmed and an array of neon-coloured new fans on the horizon, Tinchy’s ready to take even bigger steps across this green and pleasant land…

How would you describe Tinchy Stryder to a foreigner?
I don’t even know you know. I’m a grime MC and if you still don’t know what grime is then what we do is like a faster version of rap, it’s British. But I don’t know, how would you describe me?

Any waste guy? You’ve been around a few years but people don’t feel they know you as well as your cohorts Dizzee and Wiley…
From the start they were the main guys but I’m not as mysterious as people think, I just don’t mingle with the industry that much. Dizzee keeps himself to himself, Wiley airs himself in his music. It’s not that I try to keep my business out of my music, it’s just my style and I’ve learnt a lot from other peoples mistakes.

When you surfaced in 2002, people thought you were about 12 years old. Do you still get asked for id when you go to clubs?
Not really anymore but when I’m trying to buy alcohol some shops try it. When I first came out no one asked me my age so I let it carry on. I don’t think it matters how old you are, if you can MC you can MC.

So is your solo music different to what you’d do with your crew Ruff Squad?
It is but more because there’s bare heads, you know friends together, with Ruff Squad but it’s a similar style with the production.

What’s the friendliest thing you’ve done together?
Holidays. We went to Gran Canaria for a couple of weeks, just the man dem. We had arguments about stupid stuff like who was going to pay for a cab. We never argue about girls though, no way.

Do you have a lot of gay fans?
Not that I know of, but I’d play at G.A.Y. If Kylie can do it, so can I. It doesn’t matter who buys your album at the end of the day.

It’s interesting, you make a nice happy love song like ‘Something About Your Smile’ and everyone thinks it’s cool but other artists from the grime scene have had flack for doing less grimey tracks…
That’s why I like Kano. I don’t think he cares about anything. I love his tune with Craig David. He reps. And if that’s the music he likes to do then he should do it. People take too long talking about what grime is, I understand you don’t want everyone to stop making it, but I don’t know what people’s definition of grime really is. When I record I tune, I work with the tempo (138-140bpm) cause I don’t like slower tempos, but I’m not thinking about the overall feel or how people will describe it.

You’ve gone from doing raves like Sidewinder to festivals around the world like V and Isle of White, how do you find the crowds and has it changed you?
At Sidewinder they know all your lyrics, but at these other events they enjoy the vibe more. You can’t go on the stage with one line and expect a reaction. I wouldn’t say it’s changed me but it’s opened my mind up, I’ll listen to views I maybe wouldn’t have before.

Ruff Squad have always been really popular with bloggers and the style crowds and often had more love from those outside of the grime scene, agree?
Possibly, I’d say people outside grime they appreciate more. Grime heads are happy with the hype and before they didn’t want to listen to deep. That’s changing now though. Image probably plays a part too.

So Is it true you shop in Peacocks?
No but If I shopped in Peacocks I’d proudly say I did though. Where do you shop?

George at Asda, I rep that. Does your mum buy your clothes?
I’m a grown man! I like a designer shop called Choices. Most things I like are designer and I think if you can afford it, buy it, I have to have new trainers every month. The ones to have right now are the Nike Air Max 97s.

Do you have fashion icons?
I like Kanye’s style and I like different designers like Cassette Playa and whatever it is I’m wearing today, but I try and put it together my own way.

Is there anyone you’d like to work with?
I’ve worked with Radioclit, I’d like to work with them again. I met Frank Musik recently and would like to check his music out. I’ve been listening to Kate Nash and those producers Futurecut, I’d definitely like to do something with them, a drum and bass tune might be interesting.

Have you taken any big strides in your life?
My whole music career has been, from when I started MCing to working with Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, getting on a tune with Mike Skinner… there’s been a lot of big steps. It’s been a long journey.

And if you had to retire tomorrow, what nine to five job would you do?
Some kind of office work like an accountant or something to do with money… I like figures.

Tinchy Stryder Star In The Hood is out now on Takeover Entertainment

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